Blog Index
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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.


December 2015

 A little holiday toast

I know you don't have any time to spare right now, so my latest blog is short & sweet. It gives four easy tips for giving the perfect toast. Share it widely!

Also, click here for details on my upcoming communications workshops. A great way to make good on that New Year's resolution to take your speaking to the next level.

Tips you can use!
Take your time
During the holiday season, we really do need to remind ourselves to breathe, focus, slow down. If we can learn to savor the moment, and block out all the background noise, we can communicate—and do just about everything else!—more efficiently and effectively!

Preparation doesn't go on holiday
You may have next to no time to prepare your remarks for that upcoming meeting or quick interview, but you still have to do it! Think of how nice it will be to kick off 2016 not cleaning up messes you made this month because you misspoke and were caught unprepared.

Rethink the sparkle
Wearing sparkles and bling to a party is fine, but resist the impulse to dress too festively during working hours. Save those "message detractors" for after hours. And even at an offsite work party, be judicious about how "fun and flirty" your attire is.

November 2015

Frame and Focus

This month's newsletter includes a post about why it is essential to keep things short and to the point as you develop your content. If you want them to follow you,you need to guide your listeners clearly through your speech.

Get a jump on fulfilling your perennial New Year's resoultion to improve your speaking skills! My next Executive Communications Skills One-Day Blitz will be held on Decmeber 7th.  Check it out here.

Tips you can use!

Look up at the camera

Make sure anyone taking a posed photo is shooting you or your group from slightly above. The least flattering angle for anyone is a shot showing an expanse of neck! So grab a chair for your photographer to stand on or sit down yourself. And when that camera is poised above you, lift your eyes, not your chin.

Formatting helps
If you are using a teleprompter, be sure your script is written in paragraph form. When you are reading word for word and your format is in bullet points that is what we will hear. You should always be telling a story when you speak, not reading a grocery list. The prompter is there to help. Let it.

No time to shine
It's good to incorporate a nice, thick moisturizer into your daily health and beauty regime, especially in the winter. If  you're going to be under lights on camera or onstage, though, the oil in your cream may make you sweat more than usual. So you might want to rethink your skincare products on those days. This article offers some pointers.

October 2015


Learning from the best

If you've ever had to poke yourself to stay awake during a talk, you can appreciate my admiration for a really great lecturer I heard recently. I analyzed what made him so good and shared some of his technique with you in this month's blog. Read it here.

There's stil tiome to sign up for my October 26th Executive Communications Skills One-Day Blitz! Check it out here.

Tips you can use!

Don't stand in the dark
Be sure to position yourself in a well-lit place when speaking from the podium or around the table. If you're sitting in the shadows, your audience has trouble seeing your face—which puts you at a disadvantage, since they need to see your mouth to really hear and understand you.


Exercise some humility
You may think you have all the answers, but do you really?  Being confident is great, but being over-confident is off-putting. In a world where building relationships is key to any business success, it's best to stay open to the possibility that you just might have more to learn.

Practice with a stopwatch
Whether you're doing a keynote, conference presentation, or status report, find out how much time you have been allotted. Plan your speech accordingly, but don't rely on the formula of so many words-per-minute. Delivery speed varies greatly for each person and each situation. The only way to avoid committing the sin of running over is to practice your speech for time. Do that, and everyone will be happy. 

September 2105

Getting the tone right

It has been a looong time between my blog posts. I have been busy with my latest play, Bigger Than All of Us, which had its premiere reading at the Kennedy Center on September 7th. My latest blog shares insights I had while working on the script at the same time (more or less) I was delivering speaker training to clients this summer.

And I've posted details about my next Executive Communications Skills One-Day Blitz! workshop this fall. Check them out here.

Tips you can use!

Can the uptalk

It is time for this annoying habit to go. And it is no longer gender-specific; men are uptalking, too. Get rid of it! It's hard to take someone seriously who can't make a declarative statement without seeming to question it. 

Take good meeting notes
You can use them to buttress your argument or help clarify your point. Just yesterday a client thanked me for urging her to keep detailed notes of her meetings, said it "worked like a charm." Try it; reading back what you have recorded keeps others focused and on track in future discussions!

Take up your space!
Standing tall when you speak makes you seem bigger and bolder. Yes, even if you are a small of stature or an introvert! Use that knowledge and embrace your power -- don't shrink from it. 

July/August 2015

Little words tell a big story

After a hiatus from bloggging, due to my month-long sojourn at American University, I'm back with some reflections on little words that can be big communications disrupters.

And I've posted details about my first Executive Communications Skills One-Day Blitz! workshop of the fall. Check them out here.

 Tips you can use!

Yes, they are looking at you!

Maintain your centered, grounded "leadership persona" when you get offstage or leave the podium. Even when you're in the  audience, active listening and attentiveness can reinforce your authority and credibility.


Days get longer; speeches don't

Things around the office might be slower in the summer, but resist the temptation to add to the slower pace by running long when you speak. If anything, keep speeches and meeting presentations shorter than you usually do (which should always run 10% shorter than you think they "need" to be). People want to get out and enjoy their day, not be stuck late at the office because you forgot to edit your remarks.  


From sauna to freezer
Experiencing a multitude of temperatures throughout the day poses a fashion dilemma for even the most savvy woman in business. As an alternative to the old standby office cardigan, try wearing a shawl to provide a extra layer of warmth fashionably. Added bonus: A rolled up shawl takes up less room in your brief bag or tote than a folded cardigan!