Stage Time, Stage Time, Stage Time

Stage Time, Stage Time, Stage Time

I’ve been reflecting on my journey as a speaker and I wanted to share my very first professional speaking gig with you. Now pay attention! Not only is this a story that speaks to your journey of a speaker, but it is also a living example of story telling - a skill that every great speaker must master! My philosophy as a professional speaker who coaches others on their public speaking on stage and camera is that we can all learn from everyone’s experiences: good and bad. This one was quite a ride for me! I met a guy named Napolean through a real estate friend who lived in NJ, not too far from me. He was a speaker who was starting to put together workshops locally and he liked my energy. So he invited me to speak at an upcoming event that he was producing. Napolean was charismatic and enrolling and I thought he was cool so I said sure. I did not ask a lot of questions because I was just thrilled to have the opportunity to speak! (lesson #1) I assumed he’d done producing before and so I committed to the date, took off from work, and I declined another gig because I’d already given him my word. (lesson #2) He and I spoke briefly as the date approached and I practiced what I was going to do. It was the first time I’d be telling my addiction stories out in public. I planned to weave in my jokes too, but this was a big step for me. I was excited but also terrified. I arrived at...
Begin Anywhere

Begin Anywhere

The  yoga studio where I practice has some sayings in frames on the walls and this one of them: Begin Anywhere. It’s one of my favorites! I chuckle every time I see it. I laugh because it reminds me of how I have a tendency to overcomplicate a lot of things…and I’ve noticed that many of my clients do the same thing too.  When I am not centered and my monkey mind is racing, my inner critic can be so brutal. “You haven’t been to yoga in 5 days. You used to go all the time. No wonder your arms are getting flabby. You used to be able to do side crow and front arm balance and now you can barely do regular crow. No wonder you’re single right now. You’re losing everything you worked for when you came all the time.” And that’s just in a few seconds in my head. That voice was one of the reasons I used to drink and use drugs. And thank god I have tools and routines now to quiet that voice. It may never completely go away (believe me, I have tried to make it!), but now I can manage it better. Which is why I love the Begin Anywhere sign. And so we begin again. Isn’t that a huge part of life? We start a new job, a new workout, a new relationship, and it’s good at the start, right? Things seem fun and fresh in the beginning. This time I’m going to… And then life happens.  There is a bump or three in the road.  You catch a nasty...
Want to know the secret to stage presence?

Want to know the secret to stage presence?

Want to know the secret to stage presence? People come up to me after they’ve seen me speak and they often say: Wow, you have such stage presence! Which is lovely. I appreciate them. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You can cultivate stage presence too. Always come on the stage from a place of movement if at all possible. It’s better if you can be backstage or off camera, stretching, moving, breathing, walking, not pacing, but moving. The worst thing a speaker can do is to have to sit and wait and be nervous and just be shrinking. The tighter you feel, the less you breathe, which causes you to get more nervous, and then even tighter….it’s a vicious cycle. So get off your butt and stretch, move, breathe or at least walk around.  Remember the audience is more scared FOR you than you are of them. They need you to be good. I also want you to take a deep breath the second you step on stage or camera: a deep belly breath. Then take a moment and scan the audience if you’re on a stage or look right into the camera lens if you’re on camera. This pause is powerful. This pause says: Listen, what I’m about to say is important. So you’ll want to lean in and really listen. It’s a way to draw people in. It also conveys that you are powerful, that you’re coming from a place of power. You aren’t rushing because you believe whole heartedly in what you’re about to say. Communication is only 7% words. Body language speaks volumes in seconds.  When you stand up straight and strong, proud and...
Sexual Assault, Healing & Joe Biden

Sexual Assault, Healing & Joe Biden

I love Joe Biden. And I am not really political. He has been a huge part of the “End Sexual Assaults on Campuses” revolution. I admire him for his stand and for what he’s been through personally while serving his country for most of his life. He lost his wife and nearly his children from a car accident before he was sworn into office years ago. And he recently lost one of his sons to brain cancer. And still, he trudges on, speaking passionately about making college campuses safer and transforming the rape culture that influences our society. And I applaud the investigation teams for releasing the colleges who are on the list for violating Title 9 issues and for not handling sexual assault cases correctly. These are all huge steps forward. And I hope and pray that they are making a difference. The average assault victim is severely affected for at least a few years and usually for the rest of their lives in some capacity. Not to mention the family and friends who are also affected. It is painful to watch someone you love go through being violated, feeling the shame, depression, anxiety, lack of confidence and the post-traumatic stress syndrome. I read in an article that one school was very slow to move, for fear that their reputation would be damaged. That is a huge disconnect. The point of higher education is to help students reach their highest potential and go out and help change the world. Ok, and for many students, they just want to graduate and be able to get a good job in...
Thank You, UVA

Thank You, UVA

Thank you, UVA! Thank you for making some new rules when it comes to parties. Ok, Great! So progress is being made with all of this awareness. And one of the gifts of the Internet is that we get our news faster than ever before and we can help make more people aware of dangerous issues. Issues like binge drinking and sexual assault on college campuses. I LOVE it that UVA fraternities are creating all of these new rules for their parties. I am not quite sure how they are going to make sure the new rules will be enforced. Rules that say that sober brothers will be guarding the stairs leading up to the residential part of the frat house and that a private security officer will be checking people in with a guest list. If that really happens, I think that will help everyone “party safely.” When I do my Alcohol Awareness Talks on college campuses, one of my points about alcohol is that it is the most lobbied, advertised drug in the world. And when it is consumed, it affects every organ in the body, which includes the frontal lobe part of the brain where we do our “logical” thinking. Which is why it’s a great practice to have sober drivers and sober brothers and sisters and chaperones when possible. However, this is just the beginning. We have all got to change our conversations in this culture. In a recent study, 1 out of 3 males admitted that they would be okay with forcing sexual intercourse on someone, but that they would not call it rape....

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