When You Mess Up: Performance Wisdom From Lionel Ritchie and American Idol 

Eleni KelakosAudience Engagement, Peak Performance, Performance Techniques, Self Help

Do you ever find yourself glued to the TV screen, eagerly watching the latest season of American Idol? If so, you’re not alone. There’s something captivating about witnessing aspiring singers step onto that stage, pouring their hearts out in pursuit of their dreams. As I sit there, engrossed in the performances, I can’t help but reflect on my own journey as a young actress navigating auditions and the relentless scrutiny of industry professionals. In many ways, the experiences of these Idol contestants mirror my own struggles and triumphs in the world of entertainment. The pressure to consistently deliver top-notch performances, …

To Magnify Your Presence, Step Into The Wild Why Not

Eleni KelakosPeak Performance, public speaking training, Self Help

In a world where captivating an audience seems like a daunting task, there are individuals like my late brother, George Kelakos, who effortlessly radiate a magnetic presence. Even in the face of adversity, George embodied an unwavering commitment to living fully, leaving an indelible mark on those around him. George’s battle with long-Covid, which tragically claimed his life on March 10th, 2024, transformed him into a living testament to the power of resilience and presence. Despite the relentless assault on his health, he embraced each moment with unparalleled vigor, epitomizing what it means to step boldly into the “Wild Why …

25 Axioms For Presence & Presentation Mastery

Eleni KelakosExecutive Presence, Peak Performance, presentation skills training, Problem Solving, Self Help

Welcome to our blog, where wisdom meets the stage! Thirteen years ago, I embarked on a journey of sharing distilled wisdom through what I coined as “Eleni-isms” – concise nuggets of truth that resonate with audiences far and wide. Today, I invite you to delve into these 25 Eleni-isms, crafted to enrich your speaking experience and empower your message. These Eleni-isms are not just words but guiding principles to elevate your speaking prowess and leave a lasting impact. Now, I’m curious – what “you-isms” have you cultivated in your journey? Share your wisdom, and let’s continue to inspire each other …

How To Handle Those Pesky Q & A’s

Eleni KelakosExecutive Presence, Peak Performance, presentation skills training, Self Help, speech coaching

Navigating the Q&A section after a presentation can be a nerve-wracking experience for many professionals. The uncertainty of not knowing how to respond to questions can lead to anxiety and insecurity. But fear not, as I share with you some insights from my upcoming book, “Charismatic Presence: Five Principles for Magnetic Presentations,” to help you tackle this challenge with confidence. Handling Questions When You’re Unsure When you’re faced with a question you’re not entirely sure how to answer, it’s essential to buy yourself some time. Here are a couple of strategies: Once you’ve gathered your thoughts, commit to answering the …

The Power of Voice: Speak Up If & When You Can

Eleni KelakosPeak Performance, presentation skills training, Self Help

I recently celebrated my birthday, and amidst the well-wishes and warm messages, a simple text from my brother George stood out. Usually, he serenades me with his guitar, but this time, he couldn’t. George, a long-haul COVID survivor, is fighting battles that extend far beyond the virus itself. Intubated for months, his lungs now resemble Swiss cheese, leaving him with a fraction of his former lung capacity. Yet, despite his struggles, his message of love resonated deeply with me. George’s inability to sing reminded me of the preciousness of our voices. Beyond physical limitations, there are countless individuals silenced by …

Take the Risk to Advocate for Yourself

Eleni KelakosPeak Performance, Problem Solving, Self Help, Women in Leadership

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 …

Sometimes You Just Have to Say Something

Eleni KelakosPeak Performance, Self Help, Women in Leadership

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 …

Assertive or Aggressive? What’s the Difference

Eleni KelakosExecutive leadership coaching, Problem Solving, Self Help, speech coaching, Women in Leadership

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 …

Silence Is Not Necessarily Golden

Eleni KelakosExecutive leadership coaching, Peak Performance, Problem Solving, Self Help, Women in Leadership

(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 …

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

Eleni KelakosPeak Performance, Problem Solving, Self Help

(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 …

Before You Take Steps, Take Aim

Eleni KelakosProblem Solving, Self Help, Women in Leadership

(Note: The following is an excerpt from my new book Claim the Stage! A Woman’s Guide to Speaking Up, Standing Out and Taking Leadership, which will be released in mid-summer): Brenda, a warm and witty catering manager for a local restaurant chain, wasn’t sure why she was sitting in my office. “I’m feeling unfulfilled by my work,” Brenda began. “But I really don’t know what I want.” “For now, let’s focus on what you don’t want,” I said. “What do you want to stop doing or feeling?” “That’s easy,” she said. “I want to feel less restless. I don’t want to be tethered to my desk, computer, …

Drop Your Armor

Eleni KelakosPeak Performance, Problem Solving, Self Help

In days of yore, knights girded up for battle in metal from head to toe. How they functioned at all is a wonder, ensnared as they were by their heavy armor. In this day and age, we don’t use breastplates or shields to armor ourselves: We put up emotional barriers instead, in a misguided attempt to protect our tender hearts from the slings and arrows of daily living. And then we wonder why we feel so disconnected, so alienated from others, or from our own feelings. As an actor, I learned that the emotional armor I was piling up in …