What’s your origin story?

Start-Up Founders and their audiences have a craving for origin stories- to define and claim a Founder identity that is true, current and unapologetic.  That tiny two or three sentence story that says “This is who I am and it’s why I’m committed.”  This is hard.   There is a temptation and strong pull to craft an origin story like crafting a resume- to list the credentials one has that justifies the position a Founder is in.  That says “Look, I’ve earned the right to be this audacious- to disrupt, to be bold. I belong here.”  Thing is, the resume …

First words help us see you

Step into my office.  Maybe it’s a conference room, maybe it’s a green room or maybe we’re standing on stage behind a podium, prepping for your next presentation. So much of rehearsing is about making the space to find your voice.  With production needs all around—lights, time, other panelists—it’s easy to lose ourselves in the details, to get operational. But your audiences don’t want just those nuts and bolts of you.  They want who you are and getting back to that means carving out space, even just a little, so you can find that first word, that right glance or …

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 …