Don’t slow down. Take your time.

We all suffer many of the same ailments when it comes to how we appear on stage.  New clients come to me breathlessly listing their insecurities: “I get lost and go blank.” “I’m so monotone.” “I’ve been told I could be more dynamic.” “I get lost in the weeds.” “I speak too fast.”     Let’s focus on that last point today. Speed has lots of dimensions. Sometimes, yes, you speak too fast and end up babbling because you let your talking get away from you. Then you’re lost and go blank and your energy drops and your voice ends …

Practice till you do it well, not till you understand how to do it well:

In presenting, learning takes place in the body.  This is something I know and you know it, too.  But in preparing for a presentation, it’s easy to stop at “Ah, I got it, I understand what I need to do…” I’m on a little bit of a tear about rehearsing right now, so here goes nothing…That’s not enough. I’ve said this before a million times in coaching sessions and I’ll say it again here: Just because you understand what you have to do to be a good water-skier, doesn’t mean you can get dragged behind a boat at 20 mph …

Stop Talking About the Work and Do the Work

A few weeks ago I engaged in one of my secret pleasures: obstacle course racing. This time, I was running with a fantastic women-only team made of first-time participants.  They were awesome, and really in their heads.  Every obstacle we encountered stopped the team in their tracks and shifted them from doing to analyzing, strategizing—squinting at the obstacle, searching for the best way to tackle it. We lost time, and didn’t learn quickly.  By the third or fourth obstacle, I’d had enough.   I see this on stage quite often, and I knew what to do. I grabbed one of …

Know yourself, then build range  

So many of my clients are dying to use their humor in their presentations. “People tell me I’m a funny guy!” is what I often hear.  And, yes, humor is an important and even life-saving speaking device at times. However, it can also be a crutch. For some of us, nailing a punch line is fun and easy and keeps us safe. Giggles from the audience feel great. They mark engagement and provide a kind of feedback that is almost addictive. But every strength has a weakness, and every weakness has a strength. In my coaching, I’ve seen the strength …

Make it personal

  Leaders I work with in coaching always ask me, “How do I tell stories about me, without making it about….me?” Leaders who speak on stage have an appetite to tell personal stories about their experiences. Understood. We all have great things we saw, experiences that happened to us or lessons that are dying to be shared. Problem is, many leaders I coach shy away from telling those stories. Or when they do, they share their stories awkwardly because they want to do it quietly. Somehow, they’ve been made to feel that it could be inappropriately all about them, or …