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Outside the Speaker's Bubble

a newsletter about speakers and speaking

The Speaker's Bubble is that wrinkle in the time/space continuum you experience whenever you speak, and experience even the slightest bit of pressure to perform. It's that place where your heart rate speeds up, just a little. Where you hear your blood pounding ever-so-slightly in your ears. Where you turn various shades of crimson, or feel short of breath. All these are purely normal physiological responses to the stress of "the-one-versus-the-many." There are ways to control this stress; excellent speakers know this. So do experienced leaders. My Communications Conditioning practice teaches speakers of all skill levels how to deal with stress and present like pros! I can give a practical road map of strategies to make anyone a better communicator for life.

Click here for a schedule of my upcoming workshops.


February, 2017 

Communing as community

In this month's blog I reflect on how my practice as a communications coach is informed by my work as a playwright.

And check out this link for upcoming dates for Executive Communications Skills: The One-Day Blitz.

Tips you can use!
Show, don't tell
 It's true that one picture is worth a thousand words. Remember that when you put your slide deck together. Peppering a slide with words and then reading them to your audience is just plain boring! And if you don't read what is on the slide but talk over it, your audience will be doubly confused.

It's OK if they see you breathe. . .
And not just because you need to breathe to speak. Becoming overly self-conscious while speaking is a trap to avoid. Stay out of your mental cul-de-sac by saying "yes" to the breath; do it deeply, freely, and proudly!

Away with vocal fry
Or creaky voice or "gravelly ugh" (my pet name). Whatever you call it, it might be acceptable in private conversation, but when you stand up to speak in public, that sound can undercut your credibility. Using such a voice gives the impression that you're not at all well or you just don't care. Hard to overcome either and still be seen as professional.



January 2017

Only connect

Happy New Year! This month's blog discusses the secret to making those crucial communications connections. Hint: It's not just your words that matter.

And check out this link for upcoming dates for my ever-popular workshop Executive Communications Skills: The One-Day Blitz.

Tips you can use!
Lose the need to win
The new year is a good time to assess where you fall on the continuum of confidence, over-confidence, and bullying. People love a "winner," but if that win comes at the expense of relationship-building, your success will be short-lived. So if your ego is intruding into your communication, you might want to give it a rest.

Resolve to prepare
Want to find extra time this year? It sounds counter-intuitive, but the more time you put in up front--like organizing a meeting status update into a succinct, cohesive, clear statement--the less time you'll spend after cleaning up the messes that result from misspeaking "on the fly."

Go to the light
When speaking to a group informally at events like receptions, be sure to stand in the light. People need to see you to fully understand you. And I mean that quite literally: if they can't see your mouth it's much harder for them to hear what you're saying.

December 2016

A holiday wish list

As the year draws to a close I'd like to say "thank you" to all my loyal readers, clients and colleagues. So I'm sending you a list of wishes that will help you become better speakers in 2017 (if not before)!

And resolve to start the New Year right with my ever-popular workshop Executive Communications Skills: The One-Day Blitz. Check out this link for specifics on the January and February sessions.

I am happy to announce that I have been selected by the Women's Media Center to join their SheSource team, as an expert in Communications, Women's Leadership, Public Speaking, Media and Entertainment.

Tips you can use!
Make the most of every party
Networking opportunities abound at holiday parties, so be sure you're prepared! Practice your well-crafted one-sentence intro till you can just drop it into a conversation, and you'll be ready for every social event this season.


Celebrate appropriately
It's fun to cut loose, but think twice if you're giving a toast or making a speech. There's a fine line between relaxed and tipsy. If you DO find yourself called upon to speak in such circumstances, fight against the induced inclination toward expansiveness and keep it short.


'Tis the season for too much of everything, and sometimes that leads to stress! You can combat that by breathing--deeply and often. Luckily, delicious aromas and scents surround us during the holidays. So take a deep breath of that wonderful balsam or gingerbread and unwind, unbend, and start smiling again.

November 2016

Boxed In

When we're expert at something we need to remember that not everyone speaks our language. This month's blog has some tips for the best way to communicate what you know so well.

Time to sharpen those speaking skills? Need to become a more active listener? Want to work your leaderhip presence?  Check out this link for upcoming dates for my ever-popular workshop Executive Communications Skills: The One-Day Blitz.

Tips you can use!

Be memorable
When introducing yourself at a networking event don't lead with your title and business name. If your workplace doesn't ring a bell you end up wasting precious time explaining what the business does, and not who you are. Better use that time to give a glimpse of what makes you special. People do business with people, not workplaces.

Check the mic
Where there's a mic there's a sound guy or gal. Listen, watch and learn when they tell you what to do, how to turn it on, whether there's red light to check, etc. When you open your speech by thumping the mic or asking "is this on?" you look like a rube. Which is a strategy. Just make sure it's the one you want!  

Get a flu shot
If you won't do it for yourself ('cuz maybe you don't want to stay healthy during the stressful crazybusy season?), do it to protect your "herd." Seriously. Don't be the one who sickens your office mates who can't get the flu shot because you read somewhere it might give you a case of the flu. It can't and it won't.

October 2016

Comfortable in Her Skin

Candidates' debates call on multiple areas of a speaker's expertise. While most of us won't ever be put through such a grueling exercise, there is much we can learn from watching. Read my blog review of the first debate here.

Interested in a workshop? Check out this link for upcoming dates for my ever-popular One-Day Blitz.

Tips you can use!

Try on your leadership shoes
Don't save your "powerful" new shoes for that special presentation. Wear them around the house to break them in.  Because it's hard to look and sound like a leader when your feet are killing you.

You need to eat. . .
The truth is your brain needs glucose to work. If you are hungry or dieting, your thinking may be fuzzy, and so will your speaking.   

Find your own "bridge phrase"
When you need time to think whip out your bridge phrase! It can rescue you from that dreaded silence. Practice, practice, practice till it feels natural rolling off your tongue. It will help you break the habit of relying on "um" or "so" to fill the void!