public speaking

Behind Every Great Speaker: Why Coaches Aren’t Just For Sports Teams

Behind many of the greatest performances of all time – I’m talking about stars like Michael Jordan and The Beatles – there are coaches.

One of the biggest compliments I’ve ever received was when the CEO of a $20B private company told me – no one EVER tells me these things.

I was so proud to be able to help guide this brilliant leader and nudge him gently with my coaching.

The majority of CEOs we work with are surrounded by people who don’t want to hurt the relationship they have with their boss. I GET IT.

This is why an outside voice … a coach … a trainer … is so important.

This is our role.

Like Michael Jordan had Phil Jackson and The Beatles had George Martin, if you want to achieve greatness in your speaking career, you need an expert to support you.

This winning formula isn’t exclusive to sports or music. 

If you have a big presentation coming up, you need a coach in your corner.

We’re talking about more than nailing your delivery – we’re talking about owning your presence and making a real impact on your audience.

You need to get the return on your investment.

The Value of Having a Coach in Your Corner

When our clients have big keynotes coming up, we have them present in our studio so they’re confident and ready to go when it’s showtime.

This allows them to get used to the teleprompter and simulate being on stage with the bright lights on them. 

The studio can also be a space where self-doubt looms, where the echo of the inner critic threatens to overshadow even the most confident voices.

Being on set, surrounded by lights, cameras, and a crew of between 3 and 30, can be incredibly overwhelming. 

And this is GOOD!

It’s a scenario outside the comfort zone for many, and it helps them get ready for the pressure of a real life scenario.

It’s common for insecurities to surface, from hating the sound of your voice to feeling self-conscious about your appearance. 

Even after over two decades of experience in studios, coaching TV anchors/reporters, and ten years coaching executives on how to deliver messages on stage, online and for the camera – I need that coach … that voice … improving my delivery and body language.

(I’ll even share a video below of my process in the studio, the three takes I took to get to the final result, and how one of our coaches helped me do it.)

Four Things a Coach Can Do For You in The Recording Studio

1. Emotional Support and Advocacy

One of the primary benefits of having a coach in your corner when presenting is having someone to advocate for you. 

They can sense your emotions, support you, and keep you motivated, whether this means saying, “Let’s take a break,” “Let’s go through that one again,” or “Let’s play that take back to review.”

Some clients don’t feel comfortable asking for another take or rehearsal – or don’t even know what questions to ask because they haven’t been on a stage or in front of a camera. Having someone in your corner whose job is to advocate for you if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself is a game-changer.

2. Vocal Performance Coaching

Our coaches pay particular attention to vocal performance to see where it can be enhanced.

Having a coach in your corner is like having a second set of ears to listen to your delivery…

  • Direct you on how to say each line and which words to emphasize. 
  • Recognize when your voice sounds dry and needs water or a quick vocal warm-up to get you back into a good pitch.
  • Help you identify when you’re dropping your volume at the end of sentences, rushing through lines, or forgetting to connect to your breath.
  • Do script editing at the moment if you repeatedly stumble. How you write something on paper doesn’t translate to how you say it out loud. Sometimes, teams will write scripts that have language that is way too stylized for verbal communication. We edit scripts to make sure they sound great when being delivered and like the leader is actually speaking to the audience. 

3. Body Language Coaching

The third benefit of having a coach with you in the studio is having someone to direct your body language. 

One of the things we commonly see is people using their hands too much or not enough. Or perhaps they’re not adding any facial expressions and are staying super neutral. 

When you have a coach in the studio, they can make sure your body is fully incorporated and present in the moment. 

We also coach people on their appearance: hair, makeup, and wardrobe. We help you look like the leader you envision and want to be.

With a coach, you receive real-time feedback and adjustments, ensuring that your look and body language match your message.

4. Production Coordination

It’s powerful to have someone other than you coordinate the production to make the most of your time in the studio.

While this isn’t true for working with all coaches, we have extensive broadcast television and theatre background – so we remove all the extra brain work so you can focus solely on your performance.

When you work with our team, you can focus on what you are an expert in. 

Even for me, I need one of my coaches in the room so I can focus just on my performance and ignore the producer brain inside me that wants to plan everything.

When you work with us, you also get a reliable crew – a producer, director, videographer, editor, teleprompter professional, makeup artist, hairstylist, photographer, craft services – and whatever else you need.

We have trusted contractors that we work with that you can be confident will deliver the best (unlike that time when somebody brought their own makeup artist, and it was their 15-year-old niece). You don’t have to waste time scheduling any of these key players. We coordinate the entire production and everyone who is needed.

Here’s an example of what getting coached in the studio looks like.

In the first clip of this video, I was still thinking of the words. I was in my head, and my expression was slightly glazed over. I wasn’t emotionally connecting to the words.

What you don’t hear is Raechel, one of our expert coaches, standing off to the side, encouraging me to do another take.

The second time around, I was still trying to make sure the wording was exactly what I wanted to hear and that my presence matched the intention of the video. It was better, but still wasn’t THE take.

Again, Raechel helped me.

Finally, when you watch the third take, you can feel and see I had the confidence of knowing the message, connecting to the WHY, so I didn’t come off as robotic reading from the teleprompter and the energy I had been working up to.

Are you ready for a coach?

The undeniable truth remains: behind the curtain of some of the most legendary performances in history stood coaches who played instrumental roles in shaping greatness. 

Whether you’re gearing up for a pivotal presentation or navigating the path to becoming a seasoned speaker, having a coach to guide you is indispensable. 

You want someone in your court looking out for every aspect of your performance, including your emotional well-being and your physical and vocal messaging.

Having a coach puts you at ease, as you know someone has your back, and you don’t have to do this alone.

If you’re preparing to deliver a major presentation or looking to break into the public speaking profession, we can help you get to where you need to be.

Teleprompter Trap: Avoid Reading and Actually Connect with Audiences

When actress Jennifer Coolidge took to the stage to present at last year’s Golden Globe Awards, her speech was hilarious and, as expected, went viral.

She humorously spoke about her fear of reading off the “ticker tape” at the right time and how it always seems to “get ahead of her.”

She was referring to a teleprompter.

The prompter operators our team works with worldwide beautifully follow the speaker, making sure the teleprompter is aligned exactly where your eyes need it while you’re speaking.

Even though it’s easy to make sure your experience is perfect – her discomfort with it is not unique.

One mistake is common when it comes to teleprompters, and as a media and public speaking coach, I’ve seen countless professionals struggle with this.

The critical mistake that undermines a speaker’s credibility with the audience is:

Reading from the teleprompter without connecting with the audience.

It’s a common scenario: You have a keynote or quarterly earnings report to deliver, and the pressure is on. You need to make a lasting impression.

If you want to captivate your audience and convey authority and authenticity, try these five things.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Invest time to rehearse your script before stepping in front of the teleprompter. You want to practice so the teleprompter operator can adjust the font size for your eyes, and you can get to know that exact stage. Every setup is different. Knowing how that stage feels and how the monitors will reflect your script is important. You want to be familiar with the content and the setup so you can deliver your talk naturally.

Practice delivering the words aloud, focusing on inflection, pacing, and how you will emphasize the key points you want the audience to remember.

Own Every Word

When delivering your presentation, make a conscious effort to own every word. You want to think about each word. Don’t just read them.

Imagine having a one-on-one conversation with someone rather than reciting a script. This mindset shift will help you establish a genuine connection with your audience and convey sincerity and authenticity.

Adapt and Adjust

Don’t be afraid to adapt and adjust your delivery as needed. If a sentence feels awkward or doesn’t flow well, rework it. Get your script ahead of time and carve out time to work with it.

While significant changes may not be feasible (legal departments), subtle adjustments can enhance the clarity and impact of your message. Make the speech your own.

Utilize Formatting Options

Use formatting options such as underlining or capital letters to emphasize key points or phrases. These visual cues guide your delivery and ensure the most important points resonate with your audience.

Avoid Cold Reading

Reading directly from the teleprompter without infusing your personality and passion into the delivery is a surefire way to lose the attention and trust of your audience.

Connect with your listeners on a personal level by speaking in your voice.

We do everything from just shortening sentences to major surgery on speeches to make sure they sound conversational.

Leaders need to connect with the audience and not just READ to them.

By making this simple yet powerful shift in your approach to teleprompter usage, you can elevate your presentations to new heights and leave a lasting impression on your audiences.

Remember, the goal isn’t just to deliver information – it’s to inspire, persuade, and connect.

Your audience will thank you for it, and you’ll reap the rewards of their trust and confidence.

Need one-on-one coaching with teleprompters? Our team can help

Astronauts Can Wear Pink: Challenging Societal Expectations

How many times have you been made to feel like you have to twist and shrink who you are to fit the mold society tells us a successful woman must fit?

If you’re a woman in a leadership role, I’d be willing to bet you’ve spent considerable time worrying about how you’re perceived.

Now …  it’s true how you present yourself matters. At our company, our trainers spend a lot of time making sure our clients look up-to-date and their look matches their personality, brand, and messaging. We want them to look like themselves – and not distract from their message. And we know when they’re not happy about their look and just haven’t had the time to figure it out. We help them fix that.

The last time I was in the studio for a shoot, our makeup artist made me rethink my “look.”

When she was finished working her magic, she pulled out the lipstick.

It was bright red/orange.

It was bold. I loved it.

And it scared me.

I don’t do bold.

“I can’t wear red lipstick.”

And then it hit me.

I can.

AND I can be taken seriously doing it.

Kellie Gerardi is an ASTRONAUT and fields comments daily on Instagram about her looks. People ridicule her because she wears pink and friendship bracelets. They tell her astronauts shouldn’t dress like that.

Who says?

One of my favorite women on social media right now is Codie Sanchez. She’s a business owner and investor. She recently shared four lessons from her friend, Ann McFerran, the Founder of Glamnetic, a $50M press-on nail and magnetic eyelash business.

The first three of four lessons were great, but it’s the final one I loved the most.

She shared her FAVORITE thing about Ann is she’s unapologetically feminine.

Codie explained how for years, she thought she couldn’t be sexy and taken seriously at the same time.

Relatable, right?

But Ann – the founder of a $50M company – doesn’t share this mindset, and neither should you.

I dressed “like the boys” for most of my 20s because I felt out of place in TV newsrooms across the country. I wanted to blend in. And I didn’t want the female reporters and anchors to think I wanted their job. I wasn’t happy and I lost part of myself.

Here’s what you should take away from this:

You can be taken seriously and feel and dress as feminine as you’d like.

Just lean into and embrace your femininity with confidence.

Choose what you want your personal brand to be, own it with confidence, and walk your walk and talk your talk.

If you’re uncomfortable with it – everyone will know. You can’t pull it off by being sheepish about it.

You have to OWN IT.

Choose what makes you happy and OWN IT.

The confidence is what people will see.

And what matters.

When Pain Becomes the Pathway: Did I Manifest My Way into Training Medical Experts?

For about 14 months, I had the most incredible pain in my left foot. 

It was so bad I had to lean on the podium every time I was on a stage.

If your job requires you to be on your feet for long periods of time and you’ve experienced something like this – you know just how helpless it can feel.

It was excruciating, and I had no idea what was going on. 

I saw foot specialists.

I talked to the neurologists I train.

Everyone kept telling me to find the BEST orthopedic surgeon. 

So, in my mind, I thought about orthopedic surgeons non-stop.

I was also traveling the most in my career – and I didn’t have a lot of time to actually make those appointments.

I finally found a great surgeon, and we were making headway…

I was spending more time than ever focusing on my foot and the healing process.

And then weeks later, you’ll never believe who called me up.

It was the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 

Then, months later, I found myself in San Francisco coaching that medical association and dozens of orthopedic surgeons. 

Was it fate? Perhaps a coincidence? Or did I manifest this job? 

It’s quite possible I manifested it.

Manifestation means different things to different people.

And we all have varying levels of belief in its power.

For me, manifestation is very real and has benefitted me at different points throughout my life.

I think of it as a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

If you want something and you spend a lot of time thinking about it, you are going to modify your behavior to align with that desire. 

You may not even realize you’re doing it!

On top of that, there’s also credit due for being in the right place at the right time.

AND being OPEN when opportunity comes knocking at your door.

This story serves as just one testament to manifestation’s potential. By maintaining a focused mindset and unwavering belief in my goal – to find the best orthopedic surgeon – I may have inadvertently attracted the very opportunity I sought.

Sometimes, the most remarkable opportunities arise when we least expect them. 

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me.

I went through five IVF rounds to have our daughter.

After the fourth round and losing twin baby girls in the second trimester – I started thinking about adoption and living without having children. I started to compartmentalize and come up with all my backup plans to protect myself.

A therapist told me to stop protecting myself with all these backup plans because she said it was actually hurting my outcomes.

She knew I wanted a girl. She told me to imagine the day she was born. Who was in the room? What color were the balloons? What time she was born? How did I feel? 

She was showing me how to manifest.

And I didn’t just think about it.

All that manifesting made me go 100% in.

I read books on how to make the best eggs and embryos. 

I went sugar-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free.

I did all the fertility yoga, massage, and acupuncture I could possibly schedule.

She was born in April five years ago. My little baby girl will be five in just a few weeks.

I manifested our daughter.

Have you ever experienced a challenge so intense it seemed insurmountable, only to find it led you to unexpected opportunities?

The next time you face a daunting challenge or find yourself yearning for a particular outcome, remember the power of manifestation. 

Cultivate a mindset of belief, remain open to unexpected opportunities, and trust in the journey ahead. 

Who knows? You might just manifest your future.

Slide Savvy: Avoid This Presentation Pitfall

The Presentation Pitfall Everyone Makes (and How to Avoid It)

There’s a huge mistake nearly everyone makes when it comes to giving slide presentations.

You might be doing this without even knowing…

It’s okay, I’m here to protect you.

If you want people to …

  • Pay attention to you
  • Buy from you
  • Invest in you
  • Or do whatever it is you want them to do …

Stop STARTING with the slides.

Imagine you log onto a webinar, and the first thing you see is a slide deck.

No human.

No person talking to you.

No connection.

Just a boring old slide filling the screen.

It’s probably not that hard to imagine because it happens all the time.

You might hear the presenter’s voice – but their face is hidden behind the content. 

The person – the actual entity you’re supposed to be connected with – is trapped in a tiny little Zoom box.

You can’t connect with them. You can barely even see their eyes.

Do you feel their passion for the subject? The brand? The product?

You. Don’t. Know.

You. Can’t. See. Them.

Despite how common it is, this approach misses a key element of effective communication: the personal connection between the presenter and the audience.

So, what’s the solution?

The Right Way To Engage Your Audience And Make An Impact With Your Presentation

If you want to engage your audience and make an impact with your presentation, come out on camera WITHOUT the slides and make a connection with your audience first.

Start by building a relationship.

Start by building trust.

This initial face-to-face interaction will grow the audience’s confidence in you – and the tone for the rest of your presentation.

 It’s not just about starting strong – it’s also about ending on the right note. 

When concluding your presentation, don’t stay stuck behind your slides. Instead, return to the camera to deliver your final remarks. 

This lets you maintain that crucial connection with your audience as you summarize your key points and deliver your call to action.

Why does this approach work?

Being visible on camera throughout your presentation creates a personal and engaging experience for your audience. They can look you in the eye, see your facial expressions, hear the tone of your voice, and feel a deeper connection to you as the presenter. 

This human element is essential for building trust and making your message resonate with your audience.

The next time you prepare a slide presentation, remember this valuable tip:

Always start and end with yourself on camera.

Build that trust, make that connection, and watch as your presentations become more impactful than ever before.

Invisible Audience, Lost Connection: Why Knowing Your Audience Matters More Than Slides

You find out you have to do a talk.

You come up with the topic.

And then you dig right into the slides.


I have news for you.

This is what the majority of presenters do wrong.

Do you know the first thing you should do before creating a talk, presentation, webinar, or slide deck? 

The one thing you must do before creating your slides is know your audience.

The first step in speaking to anyone is to know who you’re talking to.

Know their pain points.

Know what matters to them.

Know who’s in the actual audience.

If you don’t know – how do you know what to say?

What will resonate with them?

I recently had a conversation with someone preparing a presentation for work.

She had meticulously crafted her slides and rehearsed her content, but a crucial piece was missing – she didn’t know her audience. Her boss never provided insights into who would attend the presentation.

As a result, she found herself struggling to create something meaningful and engaging. She had difficulty creating something in a vacuum and feeling passionate about it.

It’s a scenario many of us can relate to. 

It can feel impossible to connect with your audience online or on stage if you don’t know who they are.

Don’t wait until you get there.

Some executives think it’s acceptable to breeze through slides for 45 minutes – just talking about what THEY want to talk about.

Guess what? That’s a surefire way to lose your audience’s interest and credibility as a speaker. Do that, and they won’t connect. They won’t buy your product. They won’t trust you. They won’t even like you very much… and if you’re a paid speaker, you likely won’t be invited back.

The key to being a successful presenter is to shift your mindset from merely delivering information to engaging in a conversation with your audience.

And it’s not a real conversation unless you know them.

You see them. 

You need to know your audience to feel them.

Presenting blindly is a recipe for disaster. 

Empower yourself by asking questions about your audience ahead of time. Contact event planners or organizers (or get your EA or team) to gather insights to help you tailor your presentation, know what to teach them, and how to talk to each person. What do you ask?

Who are they? 

What are their ages?

What are the other demographics? (ex: What level of education?)

What time am I presenting (this matters … people are TIRED at 3 pm, so you’ll need to ENTERTAIN)?

Bonus questions you’ll need to ask:

Will there be a prompter?

Is there a podium?

If it’s a panel, what is the seating? (Bar stools, chairs, etc)

Stick mic or lavalier mic?

Remember, it’s not about what you want to talk about – rather, what your audience needs to hear.

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.