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Speak Up: Overcoming The Fear of Public Speaking

Is fear stopping you from living life to its fullest?

Close your eyes and picture this:

You’re a kid again. You’re in the third grade, and you’ve been dreading this day for weeks. 

You don’t understand why people keep telling you to picture the audience in their underwear.

Your hand-written cue cards are stuffed in your pocket as you try to remember the words on the way to school. You’re resisting the urge to pull them out and read from them line by line. 

The thought of your classmates – all 30 or so eyeballs – staring at you when it’s your turn to speak has you considering developing a sudden, unexpected case of the flu. 

It was at that moment you unlocked a new fear – you were terrified of public speaking!

Did your stomach flip on you? Did your skin crawl? Some hated the spotlight then, and they still hate it now. 

I bet it’s stopped them from doing a lot of things. Whether it’s public speaking, heights, or creepy crawlies – fear prevents us from living life to the fullest.

This is true for women especially. 

I recently read a study out of Harvard. It suggested women avoid public speaking for fear of looking bad, sounding bad, appearing inexperienced, or not sounding confident.

It also suggested one of the number one things causing women to turn down speaking opportunities is the fear of appearing to grab too much attention.

I find this so interesting because, being a woman myself and having experienced this in my own career …

This is just a story we tell ourselves.

Now, in my mid to late 40s, I can attest this goes on in our heads in our 20s, 30s, and 40s. Our clients feel it in their 50s and 60s.

It’s hard to overcome the anxiety and fear of public speaking.⁠ Who wants to make a mistake and feel like they’ve failed?⁠

With more experience in front of people, we become more and more confident in taking on bigger opportunities.

As for my clients, they tend to reach out to me in their 40s. It’s at this point they realize:

  • It’s time to say yes
  • It’s time to go for that promotion 
  • It’s time to go for that governance board
  • It’s time to go for that presidential position
  • It’s time to go for that conference talk

Don’t wait to take on those opportunities.⁠ Bet on yourself, and take that chance NOW. ⁠

You’re a rockstar.⁠

There’s no reason why you can’t bring that same confidence to webinars, stages, Zoom meetings, leading your team, the boardroom, investor pitches, media interviews, and job interviews.⁠

And we’re here to help.⁠

Stage Fright to Spotlight: Conquer Public Speaking & Communicate Powerfully

Did you know working on one skill will raise your value by 50%?

Many of our clients – leaders, Fortune 500 companies, doctors, CEOs, salespeople – hire our company to train them so they’re more confident when speaking to the media, in webinars, with their teams, with investors, the board, on stage, in job interviews, and with clients. ANY time they need to make a bigger impact.

Even Warren Buffett and Richard Branson talk about why it’s so important to communicate powerfully. 

When Buffett went to college, he avoided all classes requiring public speaking. He was terrified of it. When he graduated, he realized his fear was killing his ability to move up in his career.

He took a public speaking course after college and has since said, “My public speaking course was arguably the best investment I made in my life. You can improve your value by 50% just by learning communication skills.”

Richard Branson says, “Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.” 

“Today, if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you also have to be a storyteller … It is not enough to create a great product; you also have to work out how to let people know about it.”

Knowing how to communicate with impact helps you motivate change, influence decisions, and form connections so you can get what you want out of life.

Great public speakers master the art of communication to influence and lead.

You must be able to effectively communicate with your boss, your colleagues, employees, customers, future customers, patients, donors, and investors. 

Leaders who inspire are trusted by their employees. Leaders with communication and public speaking skills have a much easier time influencing their coworkers. 

Plus, public speaking helps you increase your confidence level. If you can get up in front of a crowd, you can ask for a raise, inspire your employees, have more successful first dates, and even be more successful and happy at home! 

At our company, we’re committed to equipping individuals with the tools and techniques needed to excel in any speaking scenario, whether addressing one person or millions. By embracing and implementing these skills, you’ll not only enhance your value but also unleash your full potential to lead, inspire, and thrive in every facet of life.

Silent Signals: Mastering Non-Verbal Communication

At least 80% of your communication comes from non-verbals.

At least 80% of what you say is not even what you say.

You can prepare, and prepare, and prepare what you physically are going to say with the actual words that are coming out of your mouth, but we constantly are communicating through how we walk into a room, what we wear, whether our shoes are beaten up or if we look exhausted or disheveled.

I had a C-suite executive at a big software company hire me to help his team. He asked me to take a good look at what his team was wearing because he knew his sales team and demo people needed to make a really good first impression with their customers.

He knew he needed his team to evoke more trust in the brand and the message their body language and even clothing were subconsciously sending their future customers.

When I met with them, I found many of the team didn’t tailor their pants, something really basic.
Their pants were just too long. They didn’t land nicely where they were supposed to. They just kind of gathered in folds and creases over their shoes.

What was the message they were sending future customers? They were sloppy, the company was sloppy, the brand was sloppy, and they didn’t think about the little things.

They are not detail-oriented.

When we don’t take care of ourselves, it makes people think we can’t take care of someone else.

When you go into the store and get a new pair of jeans or a great pair of slacks, take that extra step to make sure they’re tailored. It doesn’t really cost you that much, but boy, could it do some major things for your career.

If you can’t take care of yourself, then subconsciously, people will think you can’t take care of their brand or the 20 thousand or million-dollar contract you’re trying to land with them.


Don’t just think, “Well, I’m just the guy doing the demo on the webinar – nobody cares what I’m wearing,” because …

They. Do. Care.

Why it’s important to limit distractions during online and in-person meetings

Have you ever found yourself distracted by someone’s virtual background, be it a cluttered kitchen or an unmade bed, to the point where their words become a distant murmur? It’s a common experience in the era of virtual meetings, and it highlights the importance of creating a focused environment for effective communication.

I’ve found one of the biggest distractions to be digital backgrounds. You’re an expert in your field, but when you put up that digital background, your hand goes missing… you lose your ear and chunks of your hair. I passionately protect our clients by begging them not to use filters, company logos, or pictures from their vacations as their background. I don’t want them to look foolish when a body part goes missing. In TV, an entire crew ensures the meteorologist is “keyed” correctly on the green screen. That’s how it’s pulled off so beautifully in the news. You don’t have that crew lighting you and ensuring your entire head is there. Just skip it and have an uncluttered background. Go simple.

Losing a body part because of a digital background is a big appearance blunder. One study I came across revealed a staggering 83% of people believe appearance blunders detract from a woman’s presence, while 76% feel the same about a man’s.

Audio distractions are also issues. A tequila company contacted me,
wondering why their national radio interview wasn’t helping them sell their product. As soon as I listened to it, I knew. Their big-name NHL star spokesman talked while walking through a bustling downtown with sirens blaring and cars honking. His phone notifications were also going off! His message was lost, and the audience was left completely distracted.

Years ago, I saw another big miss. This one stuck with me so much that I still use it as an example. A mayor was on Good Morning America touting her city’s accomplishments. However, her distracting rings clashing against a coffee mug overshadowed the positive message she was conveying. The lesson here is clear — eliminate distractions to ensure your audience remains focused on your message, allowing them to remember and appreciate the meaningful content you deliver.

Mastering the art of distraction-free communication involves being mindful of your virtual environment, maintaining a professional appearance, and eliminating potential disruptions. As you navigate the virtual realm, these principles are key for leaving a lasting impression on your audience.

Mastering first impressions: the power of your LinkedIn profile picture

In today’s digital age, first impressions aren’t just made face-to-face. They happen online, too. With platforms like LinkedIn becoming integral to professional networking, putting your best foot forward virtually is crucial. One of the first things people notice on your LinkedIn profile is your picture, making it a vital component of your online and executive presence. This is why we often shoot new headshots for leaders when we start working with them. Here’s why it matters and how you can make it work in your favor.

The Power of First Impressions

When meeting someone for the first time, you shouldn’t present yourself in a way that makes you appear small or weak. The same principle applies to your LinkedIn profile picture. Research shows that individuals judge others within seconds of seeing their photo, forming immediate perceptions. This snap judgment can influence whether someone connects with you, engages in a professional discussion, or considers you for a job opportunity.

The Impact of Composition

The composition of your profile picture plays a vital role in how you’re perceived. Leaving extra room at the top of your photo can diminish your presence, potentially sending the wrong message about your confidence and authority. Instead, opt for a headshot where your face is front and center, taking up a significant portion of the frame. This simple adjustment can instantly convey a more commanding and self-assured image.

Capturing Confidence

A head-on composition emphasizes your face and radiates confidence. When viewers see you occupying the frame, it suggests you’re self-assured and ready to take on challenges. This subliminal message can significantly enhance your online credibility and attractiveness to potential connections and employers.

Your LinkedIn profile picture is more than just an image; it reflects your professional identity. By adopting a head-on composition, you project confidence and strength, setting a positive tone for your online interactions. Take the time to ensure your profile picture represents you in the best possible light, and watch as it opens doors to new opportunities and connections in the professional world. 

Remember, in the digital realm, a picture truly is worth a thousand words.

How to prepare for a job interview or promotion

You deserve a promotion or a new job.⁠
And you could be doing just one thing preventing you from landing it.⁠

With job interviews, preparation is everything.
⁠Just as in any other facet of professional life, success hinges on thorough groundwork.

Let’s explore the crucial steps to ensure you look and sound like an expert when interviewing.

  1. Craft Compelling Responses

You can’t craft answers without knowing the questions. Take time to formulate thoughtful responses to commonly asked interview questions. Some people have the toughest time with this one: “Tell me about yourself.” Be ready for it! Consider your experiences, skills, and accomplishments, and how they align with the role’s requirements. By articulating your achievements clearly and concisely, you’ll demonstrate confidence and the fact you cared enough to prepare.

  1. Build Your Narrative

Your professional journey is a story waiting to be told. What experiences and skills define you? Delve into your career and pinpoint key moments that highlight your strengths. Craft a narrative that paints a vivid picture of your capabilities and strengths, illustrating why you’re the ideal candidate for the position.

  1. Find Your Hook

Every memorable story has a hook, a unique element that captivates the audience. Similarly, when preparing for a job interview, you can pinpoint what makes you stand out. It could be a remarkable accomplishment, a unique skill set, or a transformative experience. Your “hook” is what piques the interviewer’s interest and compels them to delve deeper into your story.

  1. Engage Your Audience

Consider what will keep the interviewer’s attention. What aspect of your narrative will leave a lasting impression? Perhaps it’s your innovative problem-solving skills you developed while traveling, your ability to lead teams through challenges, or your knack for adapting to rapidly evolving industries. Tailor your narrative to ensure it resonates with the specific role and company.

  1. Leave a Lasting Impression

In a sea of applicants, what will make them remember you? It’s the distinctiveness of your narrative, the clarity of your responses, and the passion you exude for the role. Leave a mark by showcasing your qualifications, dedication, and most importantly — your enthusiasm.

Preparation is vital for success in job interviews. By meticulously crafting your responses, building a compelling narrative, and identifying your unique hook, you create a narrative that resonates. This narrative, when delivered with confidence and authenticity, will leave a lasting impression on interviewers, ensuring you stand out amongst the competition.

And a bonus tip that’s so so important: remember, in the world of job interviews, it’s not just about what you say, but how you say it.

Practice delivering your answers out loud.
What will you say and HOW will you say it?

You’ve got this. Good luck!

Stop touching your face in Zoom meetings

Body language is essential to get right whenever you’re presenting.

Even though we’re only seeing the top third of your body on Zoom (or Microsoft Teams or Google Meet), how you appear up there matters.

This is especially true when you need to be perceived as a leader.

This is not about lookin’ good.

It’s about gaining the trust of your audience.

Whether you’re giving a sales presentation, talking with a client, leading a meeting, or giving a media interview — here are three things I highly recommend you stop doing.

Touching your face

When we touch our face it tells the audience we’re nervous or uncomfortable.

We want to come across confident so our audience trusts us and the company we represent.

Touching your hair

When we fiddle with our hair or move it away from our face, it again makes our audience less confident in us.

Make sure your hair is always away from your face and it doesn’t move into your eyes so you don’t have a tendency to touch it.

Looking at other monitors

You wouldn’t stare out of the window or at your phone during an in-person meeting, would you?

This is why we shouldn’t look away from the person we’re meeting with and at another monitor.

You’ve seen it, you’ve felt it, you know how rude this is.

Making these small tweaks makes a huge impression on audiences.

Whether it’s an audience of one or many.

One specific VP told me recently his team is much more engaged now when he speaks.

And it happened right after he enacted the “stop touching your face” (for him, he touched his beard a lot) and “stop looking at other monitors” rules I created for him.

He says his team is more engaged.

That’s all it took.

Worth a try, right?

P.S. Want more tips? Be sure to sign up for my LinkedIn newsletter where you’ll get exclusive tips on strengthening your mindset to become a better communicator. Click here to subscribe to Thought Leaders Amplified on LinkedIn.

P.P.S. I created a training for health care professionals who need to discover their message and story, deliver it clearly, succinctly, and confidently, and present in a way that intrigues, entertains and keeps the audience’s attention. Share it with your friends in health care. Check it out even if you’re not in health care. The tips and tricks are universal. Click here to learn more.

P.P.P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are three more ways I can help you build your brand, own your voice, and stand out:

  1. Want more tactical advice you can implement today? Check out my blog here for great articles, stories, and lessons I’ve shared over the years.
  2. Looking for one-on-one coaching or a consultation with me? Schedule a complimentary call here to speak to our team about how we can help you.
  3. Follow me on Instagram here for more media and public speaking tips, videos… and a little fun.

They’ll love your snow stories

Have you ever met a really BORING person?

Been on a first date and wondered how someone could really be that bland?

Are you sitting in a Zoom meeting right now listening to a person go on and on… about nothing?

Or worse… are you afraid you might be that person?

The best piece of advice I give thought leaders I work with before they do a media interview or speech is:

Have a relatable story.

You MUST have a story people can relate to if you’re going to attract people to you, speak in public, or if you’d like to sell your brand by using the media.

No producer or writer is going to publish a story about your grand opening or sale.

But if you have a story, like you’re donating 40% of opening day profits to a charity that’s in the news… or there’s something special about the owner… you have a much better chance.

Numbers are great – but stories are even better.

You may have a great success story at your company. Numbers are way up. Bosses are happy.

The way to break through to an audience and show what those numbers really mean is to tell a story. Explain what those numbers mean.

Talk about how many people you were able to hire because numbers are up. Highlight a person you hired and their family.

You need a compelling story of human interest.

Remember: the media has a job to do.

They need to make sure their audience watches, reads, sticks with them even after a commercial, learns something and keeps coming back for more.

All you need to do is learn a few tricks to do it the right way.

Here are a few quick thoughts I shared on YouTube.

And think about how a story connects you to people in your day-to-day Zoom meetings.

I was on a call with an exec of a Fortune 100 company last week.

He showed up in a baseball cap and a hoodie.

Not his normal wardrobe.

He told me he had just finished shoveling his wife out of the driveway.

And then he drove her to work.

She’s a nurse.

At that moment, I knew I wanted to work with that exec – and I even happily altered my price when we negotiated my contract.

Give your audience an authentic story that makes them feel something and you’ll have a better chance of seeing your story in the media.

They may even become open to negotiating their prices because they just like you.

P.S. Creating a story that stands out is the critical component needed to grow your business or practice and ensure you get an ROI on your time and energy. I shot a YouTube video on this. Check it out here.

P.P.S. I created a training for healthcare professionals who need to discover their message and story, deliver it clearly, succinctly, and confidently, and present in a way that intrigues, entertains and keeps the audience’s attention. Share it with your friends in healthcare. Check it out even if you’re not in healthcare. The tips and tricks are universal. Click here to learn more.

P.P.P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are three more ways I can help you build your brand, own your voice, and stand out:

  1. Want more tactical advice you can implement today? Check out my blog here for great articles, stories, and lessons I’ve shared over the years.
  2. Looking for one-on-one coaching or a consultation with me? Schedule a complimentary call here to speak to our team about how we can help you.
  3. Follow me on Instagram here for more media and public speaking tips, videos… and a little fun.

The ripple effect of communication issues

How are the people inside your company communicating with your customers?

Or future customers?

I was on a call with a $12 billion company today.

I’m sharing this in case you have the same issue.

They hosted their annual meeting recently.

Many of their execs had to give presentations and they quickly realized… several of them were having issues presenting and getting their message across.

These are well-regarded individuals inside a Fortune 100 company.

They’re smart and know the industry in and out.

But they have an issue.

And it’s costly.

They are not confident or convincing when it comes to presenting.

So they called me.

They need to be prepared before they present again in a year – but more importantly, the concern is:

How are they communicating on a daily basis?

In front of customers? Potential investors? Their team?

There’s a ripple effect when it comes to communication.

Whether it’s your receptionist who takes inbound calls and walk-ins, your sales team, all the way up to your leadership — your message should:

  • establish trust,
  • be confident,
  • show empathy,
  • and it should make people want to do business with you!

If your message is being miscommunicated, at any level within your organization, that’s a potential client or customer — gone.

Potential referrals — gone.

Potential media or speaking opportunities — gone.

It’s all interconnected.

As you’re reading this, think to yourself for a moment.

Could you possibly have a communications issue inside your company?

Don’t dismiss someone as having stage or Zoom fright.

They may have a bigger communications issue.

It’s fixable and a little work now will save (and make) you a lot of money quickly.

P.S. Worried your organization is struggling like this Fortune 100 company? I created a training for health care professionals who need to confidently show up on camera, attract more patients, move up in their careers, and let their expertise shine. Share it with your friends in health care. The tips and tricks are universal. Check it out even if you’re not in health care. Click here to learn more. Want training that’s more specialized for your industry? Let’s connect and make it happen.

P.P.S. I just published a new video on YouTube sharing with you some easy adjustments to make before recording a video or going live. This might be something you haven’t considered. Check it out here.

P.P.P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are three more ways I can help you build your brand, own your voice, and stand out:

  1. Want more tactical advice you can implement today? Check out my blog here for great articles, stories, and lessons I’ve shared over the years.
  2. Looking for one-on-one coaching or a consultation with me? Schedule a complimentary call here to speak to our team about how we can help you.
  3. Follow me on Instagram here for more media and public speaking tips, videos… and a little fun.