Trust ~ Can’t Be a Public Speaker Without It


Via my Twitter friend @Billy2373 – thank you – a brilliant TEDGlobal presentation on the necessity of trust.

In public speaking it means we must trust ourselves that we know of what we speak and we are the best person to communicate our message. We must also trust that our audience wants us to succeed and is open to sharing our ideas and inspiration.

To Your Voice,



Why are you presenting and honing your skills as a public speaker? To persuade.

Not the disingenuous type of salesmanship where you bought in and later feel duped.

I’m just into Arlene Dickinson’s new book “Persuasion” and her words although written for those who are learning the in’s and out’s of business acumen, apply nicely to the presentation arena.

Dickinson says, ” If I can’t understand what you are talking about, I can’t trust you. Real expertise involves the ability to take a complex subject and distill it to the point where it is accessible to everyone”.

Presentation words to live by.

To your voice,


I did not receive or will I receive compensation for this post.


Broken Ankle Saga Part II

This morning I posted my longest walk since breaking my ankle. I was supported by my trusty crutches and although my gait resembles hobbling, I call it like I see it – walking.

I am also supported by my cheering section – the lovely souls who I have come to know since my accident and rehab. The wonderful people in my building who hold doors open for me and make sure the outside wheel chair access is clear. But my star cheering section are the lovely folks (who I have come up close and familiar with) on my seawall walks who shout out to me “Keep positive”, “You’re looking stronger than last week”, “Hey, you’re foot is landing straighter”, and “You’re rocking it”.

Those simple words of encouragement keep me going and push me to walk a little further each day.

The same goes for public speaking. Surround yourself with colleagues and significant others who will listen to your presentations. Those who will tell you which are the best bits and the parts that need improvement.

Yes, it is difficult to practice in front of others but give it a go – you will get over it.

And it’s worth it because there is no feeling like having a cheering section rooting you on and who pushes you to places you never imagined you could go!

Image attribution: Emily Tan



This Tuesday will be my eight week mark of healing my broken ankle. Both the tibia and fibula of my right leg were fractured.

If for a moment you thought a broken ankle is a cake walk, let me tell you, it’s not. Wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

The fateful morning has left me a bit traumatized and I’m just now coming to terms with the drama.

I was alone at a remote location when it happened and thankfully (after crawling up 40 stairs) was able to contact Mr. T who called the Coast Guard to rescue me.

I was strapped in a basket and hauled back down the 40 stairs, packed aboard a hovercraft, manhandled up a ladder (at low tide), and then delivered via ambulance to a local hospital. Phew.

Looking back I must have been in rough shape – I had an unheard of three day stay in hospital. I was sent home with an Rx for morphine and best wishes. Yes, the first three weeks home back at home are foggy.

My ankle is now a bucket of bolts, pins, and metal sheaths.

Today was the first day that I hobbled sans crutches. There was nothing gracious about my gait but I felt like I had sprouted wings.

You can imagine how much time for introspection has been part of healing, can’t you? Many hours with my foot above my heart and tears shed in frustration.

What have I learned?

Be in the moment – something I often share with clients and readers. Don’t look ahead or behind and simply be. Feel the floor with your feet and own it and that space in time. That’s what separates good public speakers from the utterly fabulous. When I was descending the stairs I wasn’t in the moment. I was on autopilot and that is why I tumbled.

People want to help. Sometimes we simply don’t heed sage advice from those who have already travelled the same road. We want to do it our way – fair enough. But sometimes experience does know better. From the public speaking aspect when your peers or coach suggest another way – try it – you may be glad you did. From the broken ankle perspective I wanted to remain independent and drove myself to frustration akin to a two year old having a temper tantrum. As the women at the farmers market told me: “It is the ultimate gift when one can be of help (service)”.

No pain, no gain. We’ve all bombed on stage but we choose whether to pick ourselves up, learn, and try again. I was told to wear the damn boot for two more weeks and I have not been the most compliant patient on that front, which has caused midnight foot throb (and trips to the Advil bottle) but I am ahead of where I was told I would be at week eight.

Wounds, ego, and the psyche heal. I have two ankle zippers to prove it – show me your scars and I’ll show you mine. On second thought, that’s okay, no old crony comparing war wound stuff. ;D

To your voice,








Carrying on from my last post critiquing Jeffrey Gitomer’s “Getting Your Way ~ How to Speak, Write, Present, Persuade, Influence, and Sell Your Point of View To Others” let’s discuss whether humour in presentations is acceptable.

Gitomer suggests that humour is appropriate while working with all levels of an organization and believes that it is the tie that bonds us. He suggests that behaving professionally does allow for a few guffaws.

Are you writhing at your computer screen right now remembering awful, poorly executed jokes that you have been subjected to? Or remembering feeling uncomfortable because the speaker did not consider the audience and missed the mark around appropriate humour?

Using humour as part of your presentation strategy is a fine balancing act not to be taken lightly. There is nothing more rewarding than listening and learning through well executed jokes and stories. Deep learning happens when the experience is enjoyable. But when the jokes and humour bomb, it’s not pretty.

How do you ensure that you don’t go down the Rodney Dangerfield road of “Getting no respect?”

Easy in concept but hard work to get exactly right: “Know your audience!” Profile them until you understand the who, what, where, and why of their being. Get to know them intimately. Tools like Meyers Briggs are a starting point. Only from that place of knowledge will you be able to execute “on the mark” humour.

My experience tells me that not all audiences appreciate humour – I can think of a few board situations where it was not welcomed. I often agree with Gitomer but this time I will respectfully disagree.

Move wisely and well armed.

You want some respect don’t you?

To your voice,








Do you know Jeffrey Gitomer of “The Little Red Book of Selling” fame?

If you don’t, you should. Gitomer shares vast knowledge on the art of sales. Not the smarmy, slick type of sales but the relationship building type where people who sell product/service sell to clients who need their service. If you want to learn professional salesmanship best practices – Gitomer is the go to guy.

*Sidebar – I am often amused by people who say they hate sales/salespeople – I simply don’t understand the logic. We live in a consumer age and most days we buy something. Logically there is a saleswoman involved in the process. Don’t you want a well informed person to explain a product/service’s pros and cons when you are considering buying? I do.

Gitomer has written a large array of coloured primers that tackle sales from different aspects. Today I am reading the green book called “Getting Your Way ~ How to Speak, Write, Present, Persuade, Influence, and Sell Your Point of View To Others”.


Gitomer’s comment on page 40 made me chuckle (actually choke) over  my morning soy milk latte, “If I had a dollar for every corporate leader, from CEO’s to branch managers, who have lousy presentation skills, I would be a multi-billionaire.”

Which led me to thinking, “Why are so many corporate leaders in need of presentation skill development and why do those who are unskilled continue to remain lousy (as Gitomer states)?”

Is it fear, status quo thinking, lack of time, or perhaps unaware of the need for improvement?

I believe it is all of the above.

  • Fear: It is easy to get trapped by fear and the paralysis that results in improving our weaknesses.
  • Status quo thinking: If everyone else is happy at this level, then It’s okay for me too.
  • Lack of time: My client’s lament and I hear you. But it is about choices, priorities, and the big picture.
  • Unaware: Hmm, retracting here, not so sure.

What do you think?

More tomorrow….

To Your Voice,









Presentations should only be used when you have something important to communicate. Information or ideas that solve a problem or answer a question needs to be a presentation developers mandate.

So, ask yourself, is it really necessary to gather a group together for a presentation?

If 40 people attend a one hour presentation it equals one person working a 40 hour week.

Is your presentation’s message important enough to invest a week of time?


At the end of a session with a client I ask, “What did you learn today that had the most impact?”

One common response is “Staying on Message”.

It is easy to become enchanted with your knowledge and to share all you know. Or go off on tangents because the content is remotely related. Or even worse interject a story that is entirely off topic.

Don’t do it! Your audience will become confused and you will lose them.

The first order of business when developing a presentation is to understand what is the message that you want your audience to take away. Yes, just one message.

While crafting your presentation test that all of your content can withstand your message litmus test.

Your audience will thank you.



just breathe

Yes, simply breathe.

You likely take the life force of breathing for granted. I know that I do.

When you bring your thoughts back to your breathing it forces you to be present.

Ums, ers, and uhs stem from our losing our train of thought and/or lack of confidence in our content.

Get back on track and resuscitate your confidence by using your full breath.



Next time you are practicing for an upcoming presentation try this when you feel a verbal distraction looming.

Stop. Yes, it is okay to stop. It is a normal part of relaxed conversation.

Take a deep breath right down to the core of your belly.

Exhale the breath slowly.

Now notice how you feel. In control, right? Ready to begin again without the verbal baggage.

Did it seem like it took forever? It didn’t – probably fifteen seconds max!

When you go live with your presentation and you feel the um, er, or uh bubbling think back to your practice – breathe a deep one and carry on. You’ve slayed it.

To your voice,




Breathe, Feel, and See

When in the throws of feeling anxious, good breathing, visualization, and grounding yourself in the moment do work. With a caveat, just as you need to practice your upcoming presentation, you need to practice these anxiety quelling techniques too.

Are you thinking that is a lot of practicing? It is, and worth it. To stand with confidence as a speaker is one of life’s greatest gifts.


Shallow breathing constricts our voice and contributes to anxiety. It is a confidence robber.

As the yogis tell us breathe deep from the belly. Take a breath low down in your belly and let it fill your lungs and then propel your voice. Your vocal power comes from deep breathing. Check that you are using full breath by placing a hand on your stomach and make your hand move (while practicing, not on stage – that would look weird).

If you notice that you’re breathing is shallow, stop and take a deep breath. It’s okay, your audience will think of this natural break as a conversational pause.

Confidence is created when we have optimum oxygen flow through our body and is reflected by a rocket fueled voice.


In the moment, stay grounded, and feel the fear. Sounds airy fairy, right? Wrong. When you know where you stand (literally) and you know why you stand there, this is the place of confidence.

While you are practicing and presenting feel your feet. Feel the surface that they are touching. Notice and observe where you are and who is in your presence.

If your thoughts race away, bring yourself back to where you presently stand. Own your confidence – don ‘t let it gallop away.


Visualizing works – elite athletes are coached to use visualization techniques with scientifically proven success.

Watch yourself walk onto the stage with a bounce to your step, smiling at your audience. Then observe yourself speaking with a powerful voice and notice the audience enchanted by your words. Listen to the audience applause and the nods appreciating a job well done. Watch yourself taking the accolades in and them visualize yourself leaving the stage energized and smiling at your audience – perhaps even a little tip of the hat too. Now you have returned to your seat and you tell yourself, “I rocked it!”

If you feel your confidence drifting when you are on the stage bring yourself back to your visualization. Don’t let the confidence thief rob you.

To be confident you have to believe you can deliver the goods. Full and energized breathing, feeling the space you are holding, and seeing yourself accomplish your feats will take you down the road with a confident delivery.

Be bold. Get heard. Inspire action.