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 …

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 …

Have patience for educating

It’s easy to point the finger when peoople (and groups) don’t “get” you, don’t engage with you the way you or your projects need or simply step around you.  “They don’t know this” and “They don’t get that”.  Instead, add a line item to your responsiblity list: educate people about what you do and how you do it. Teach, mentor, educate, communicate, find right.  Seek to understand.  When you do these things, people want to work with you, not around you and they’ll know better how to access and engage your greatness so you can do more of the work …