Ideas Rule, Your Words Matter

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Once in a while I feel compelled to climb up onto a soapbox and speak my piece. So, here goes: The reason to honor my Fourth Commandment of Great Acting, Great Speaking and Great Leadership, Turn Thyself On So You can Turn Others On, is because your message is important! Your audience deeply needs to hear it, whatever it may be. And it order for them to hear it, you have to be able to convey it with enthusiasm and conviction. In this information age, whe re ideas rule, your ability to communicate ideas succinctly, memorably and effectively will determine …

10 Ways to Capture (and Keep) Your Audience

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I once observed an esteemed surgeon deliver the keynote address to an audience of medical practitioners at a yearly conference. He spent forty-five minutes bludgeoning audience members to death with the driest, most data-and-graph-laden Power Point presentation I have ever seen, in a voice that droned like a bumblebee. By the time he was done, the audience looked like this: The kicker came when I later overheard the doctor complain about how inattentive the audience had been. It was all I could do to refrain from sharing with him the one truth I’ve learned from performing in front of countless …

Monday Morning Musing: Dare to Accept Yourself

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“The Most Terrifying Thing is to accept oneself completely.” –Carl Jung. As I chronicled in my book, Touch the Sky: Find Your Voice, Speak Your Truth, Make Your Mark, I struggled for years to reclaim and embrace who I really was. Like many people, and women in particular, I was a people pleaser, willing to ignore my needs, my longings and my unique gifts in order to satisfy the needs, beliefs and will of others. And frankly, it almost killed me. What turned me around was my willingness to face a series of sobering truths about myself. 1. Nobody was …

Stuck in Fear? Get Back to the Basics

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When her husband left her out of the blue, with two infants to raise and very little financial support, [my friend and BlueSkyCoaching client] Betsy instantly turned from stay-at-home mom to car salesperson. It was 1984, and Betsy was one of the first women selling cars on her lot (or on any lot, for that matter). Within six months, she had broken the corporate record for gross profit in monthly sales. “For a while, I was on top of the world,” Betsy recounts. “I was selling lots of cars, paying my bills, and was even recognized at the Christmas party. …

Keynote Creation, Part 2: Creating a Presentation Blueprint

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This is part two of my Keynote Creation series focusing on how I put together, rehearse and deliver a Touch the Sky keynote presentation for an upcoming conference.Part one focused on putting together what I call a Presentation Production Schedule. Part two focuses on hammering out the blueprint or outline of the presentation. Please note that my Fishbone Formula applies not only to Keynotes, but to presentations in general. It's my hope that giving you a glimpse into how I approach the creation of my own presentations can help you approach yours with greater focus and confidence. My presentation skills …

What Dogs Can Teach Us About Public Speaking– Guest Blog

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By Harper West I’m pleased to guest blog for Eleni Kelakos who has been instrumental in helping me improve my public speaking ability. Some wisdom from the dog world from my book “Pack Leader Psychology,” might have some relevance to anyone who suffers from fear of public speaking. Ask most dog owners why they like dogs and they often say it’s because a dog gives them unconditional love. One of the reasons we find dogs so appealing is that they don’t judge us and they also don’t judge themselves. Our love of the accepting nature of dogs isn’t surprising because …

When You’re Stuck, Stopped and Stalled:The Perils of Limbo

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Many people choose to live their lives like they dance the Hokey Pokey—with one foot in and one foot out. On one hand they’re yearning to make a change, a difference, an impact, or a stand. On the other hand, they refrain from taking the focused action that could bring their dreams, desires, and needs to fulfillment. Loathe to commit to one thing or another, they choose not to choose, and so they choose a kind of limbo by default. This is especially true of women, who, according to a study by Anna Fels in the Harvard Review, tend to …

Keynote Creation, Part 1: Master Your Production Schedule

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Over the next month, I’m going to be putting together a 50-minute Touch the Sky keynote presentation for a professional conference scheduled for October 3rd. I thought it might be interesting and helpful for you to get a glimpse into my presentation preparation process, including the production schedule I put together to help me create and thoroughly rehearse this presentation. Through a series of articles, I’ll give you an intimate view of my own process, including whatever struggles I face as I both honor my production schedule and juggle my very full calendar of coaching and training. Below is the …

Boost Your Business Through Public Speaking

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As a public speaking coach, consultant and trainer, I am passionate about helping business owners overcome performance anxiety and deliver impactful speeches to groups both large and small. I believe in the power of well-chosen, well-delivered words to move others into thinking, feeling and action. And there’s nothing I like better than working with visionary leaders who want to use their words to change their world. Take Rom LaPointe, the president of i3Logic (www.i3Logic.net), a company that provides learning programs that enhance skills, reinforce change initiatives and allow learners to build their confidence so they can perform successfully. Rom was …

On Bees and Leadership

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I was three years old, playing outside on a hot summer’s day, when I looked down and saw a fuzzy little black and white heap on the sidewalk… about the size of a quarter. I knew right away what it was. “Bee! Bee!” I said. Then I poked it with my fat little index finger. And that is when I got stung. And that is also when I became bee-phobic. And wasp phobic. And yellow-jacket phobic. For years afterwards, I ran screaming in the other direction anytime anything black and yellow with wings and a stinger flew at me or …

Guest Blog:Girls Scouts and The Female Leader, by Ruth Wilson Zamierowski

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Ruth Wilson Zamierowski is the Volunteer Service Specialist of the Girls Scouts of Southeastern Michingan. She's passionate about the work that the Girl Scouts' have been doing for decades in support of the growth and development of giirls. And so, when she read the dismal results of a recent Girl Scout survey about women in leadership, she was determined to share them with as many people as people.. Below is a blog she wrote in which she shares some of the results of the survey as well as her fervent plea to support the Girl Scouts of Southeast Michigan in …

Tools and Apps for Public Speaking Prowess

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I recently shot a couple of new videos for my website. In order to make the videotaping go more smoothly, my videographer, Mike Hensel of InMotion Studios employed a handy-dandy do-it-yourself teleprompter that involved an iPad (with a teleprompter app), an iphone (with an app used to start and stop the teleprompter), an 8 x 10 piece of split beam glass, a piece of black cloth, and a photo frame shadow box. He got the idea off of the internet, from several youtube videos that give explicit directions on how to manufacture these DYI teleprompters. To rent a teleprompter costs …

March 2013 SkyGrabber of the Month: Virginia Giordano

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The SkyGrabber Gallery highlights an ever-expanding collection of remarkable women who I believe embody the essential qualities of the SkyGrabber: Courage; vision; passion; a strong sense of personal mission; a desire to affect change in her world; and the burning urge to manifest her highest, most impactful self. A new SkyGrabber will be added as a blog post and to my private SkyGrabber Facebook Group every month. If you are compelled to know more about the women featured here, visit their websites and let them know you appreciate the light they are radiating on this planet. Virginia Giordano– Producer, Visual …

How to Deliver Dull as Dishwater Presentation Content

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I’m always reminding my presentation skills clients that the way to fire up the hearts and minds of their audience is to embrace the Fifth Commandment of Great Acting and Great Speaking: Turn Thyself on so you can Turn Others On. Because when your passion is engaged, your audience will be too. “But what if my material is as dry as the Sahara desert?” a client will complain. “After all, I’m only delivering the monthly numbers/quarterly report/status update on a project. How do I engage my passion over that?” It’s a good question. Because while you might find the passion …

Create Your Personal Manifesto

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No-one is harder on you than you are. If you’re like many of my public speaking coaching or life coaching clients, you beat yourselves up with negative self-talk that can keep you stuck and stalled in your life, your work, and in your speeches and presentations.This negative self-talk, sometimes known as “Monkey Chatter,” is fear in the guise of useless old messages, delivered by what I imagine to be little gremlins sitting on your shoulders, hissing nasty negative statements into your ears. We all have a customized set of these nasty little gremlins yakking negativcely away at us at the …

COME TO THE MAT

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When I attend my yoga class at A2 Yoga, Heather Foster, my wonderful teacher, always makes a point of thanking us for “coming to the mat.” As she explains it, the sheer act of choosing to spend an hour or so on the yoga mat represents a willingness to commit to our wellbeing. And the mat represents a sacred space dedicated to being in the moment, focusing on ourselves. I always smile inwardly when I hear those words, because it makes me think of the struggle I usually have convincing myself to actually go to Yoga class in the first …

Are You a Gossip Girl?

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Middle School… Junior High school… A prelude to therapy… whatever you want to call the place you spent most of your day during your pre-teen and early-teen years, it made its mark on you– for better or worse. According to research, much of our behavior and sense of self as women is cemented by the thought processes and behaviors we adopted during those tender years– behavior and though patterns that we're shaped most often by our peers. Many of us learned that we invited social disaster by standing out from or expressing a different option than our peer group. Desperate …

Don’t be a Fast Talker

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Comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s character on the iconic TV series, Seinfeld, coined expressions for people who had styles of talking that annoyed him: Close Talkers, High talkers, Low Talkers and Fast Talkers. In one episode, he mentions his friend, Elaine’s, Fast Talker boyfriend, a voice-over actor who holds the record for saying the most words in a TV commercial—300 words in 30 seconds. Frankly, that’s how fast many of my public speaking coaching clients seem to be talking when they deliver their presentations. Like racehorses at the Kentucky Derby, they leap out of the starting gates and run their mouths as …