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Peak Performance

Embrace the Mess: Lessons in Public Speaking From My Cat

When it comes to giving presentations, my coaching clients all want the same thing: A stress-free, problem free, perfectly executed result. To which I say, “good luck with that.” Because, as you may have noticed, plans and expectation often have a way of going awry. Life is messy, and sometimes giving presentations is too. Which, as I have learned over many years of delivering and observing countless presentations and performances, is perfectly normal and perfectly fine. I recently got a great reminder about the value of embracing the mess and going with what you’re given from an unexpected source: My

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executive presence word pronunciation
Executive leadership coaching

To Increase Executive Presence, Sharpen Your Word Pronunciation

I once had the CEO of a company reach out to me to ask if I would coach a member of his leadership team in sharpening his verbal skills so he could increase his executive presence. “The problem,” he explained,” is that this fellow mispronounces a lot of words. For example, he says “acrost” instead of “across,” and “supposably” instead of “supposedly.” He’s in a position that’s heavily client-facing, and I don’t want these verbal slips to undermine his credibility. I know that word pronunciation is a little thing. But I believe it’s often the little things that can hold

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Executive leadership coaching

Dance With What You’re Given: A Lesson In Grace From Miley Cyrus

It was New Year’s Eve, 2021, and superstar performer, Miley Cyrus, took the stage in her live TV special, singing and dancing while rockin’ a fabulous teeny tiny silver skirt and matching teeny tiny halter top. All was well. Until it suddenly wasn’t: The teeny tiny top suddenly loosened, and Miley’s hands leaped up to hold it up, as she shimmied and sang. For a few moments, she tried to keep up with her complicated choreography. And then, no doubt realizing it would be impossible to keep dancing with her arms and hands immobilized, she backed off the stage, still

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Peak Performance

Take the Risk to Advocate for Yourself

I was in my twenties, pursuing my dream of being a professional actress in New York City. Auditions—and rejections—were challenging and discouraging. To fuel my bruised creative spirit, I took supportive acting classes; and I soaked in every piece of theater I could afford to see on my limited budget. That’s how I found myself in the basement of a small church in downtown Manhattan, stunned and spellbound by an explosive production of a play called Cinderella/Cendrillon. The production, based on Massenet’s opera, Cendrillon, combined elements of opera, dance and theater in ways that both twisted and deepened the standard Cinderella story. It

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Peak Performance

Sometimes You Just Have to Say Something

A snippet from my new book out now,Claim the Stage! (Note: The following is an excerpt from the preface of my new book, Claim The Stage! I chose to write this book for women like you– and some of you have even helped me write it, by providing answers to two surveys that have given me data to work with and thoughtful perspectives to quote. I thought I’d share this excerpt today as a way of explaining why I haven’t exactly been writing and posting Monday Morning Musings very regularly. Truth is, since the Pandemic began, in between coaching sessions and speaking

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Executive leadership coaching

Assertive or Aggressive? What’s the Difference

Years ago, while I was living and working in New York City as a professional actor, I had a passing acquaintance with another performer I’ll call Paula. With a soaring, powerful voice reminiscent of Barbra Streisand, Paula was one of the most talented singers I’d ever heard. As big as her voice was, her drive to succeed as a Broadway musical theater performer was even bigger. She was, however, continuously frustrated by her inability to land the kind of big, splashy roles she not only felt she deserved but could rightfully handle. The more no’s she got, the more frustrated

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Peak Performance

Public Speaking Success: Making The Most Of A Wrong Note

What You Do Next Matters I was leafing through a catalogue of novelty items, when a quote by jazz great Miles Davis printed on a tee shirt caught my eye.  “When you hit a wrong note,” it said, “it’s the next note that makes it good or bad!”  I ripped out the quote and pinned it to my bulletin board, thinking Mr. Davis nailed it! When it comes to performing in public, It’s what you do next with a moment that goes awry that matters. The fact is, whether you give a speech or a concert, public performances are in-the-moment

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Executive leadership coaching

Silence Is Not Necessarily Golden

(Note: The following is excerpted from Claim the Stage! The Workbook, an interactive workbook associated with my book Claim the Stage: A Woman’s Guide to Speaking Up, Standing Out and Taking Leadership. Both will be available to the public by mid-summer) If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my work is that silence is not necessarily golden. Whether you want to step onto larger stages, or share your voice more in meetings or conversations, one thing is certain: Your voice cannot be shared if you choose to silence it. Silence is not necessarily golden (except when your newborn finally falls asleep, or you’ve

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Peak Performance

“Ouch! That Hurts! But Thanks For Telling Me! Learning to Embrace Constructive Criticism

(Note: The following is excerpted from Claim the Stage! The Workbook, an interactive workbook associated with my book Claim the Stage: A Woman’s Guide to Speaking Up, Standing Out and Taking Leadership. Both will be available to the public by mid-summer) Taking ownership of our blessings tends to be a lot easier than examining and owning our blocks—particularly when we receive feedback that makes us go “Ouch!” One of my life and career changing “Ouch! That hurts! But thanks for telling me” moments occurred years ago, soon after I started to give keynote speeches to large audiences on a national level. After giving

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