Leadership Coaching

It's not fair

Last week, as many of my speaker colleagues packed and prepared to attend our annual convention, I saw a repeated refrain in our comment threads, all a variation of: “I have to get a blow out, spray tan, hair colored and cut, teeth whitened, nails done, legs waxed, lashes extended, eyebrows dyed, shop for makeup and new outfits, find my…

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Leadership Coaching

Your voice: Small pebble… big ripples

A few years ago, I was taking my usual shortcut through Earl Warren Showgrounds on my daily walk, when I was stopped by a family in an SUV. They had a couple of questions about the Fiesta rodeo, a longstanding Santa Barbara tradition that’s part of our annual Old Spanish Days festivities. “How is the rodeo?” they asked. “Is it…

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Leadership Coaching

I dare you to be expressive

One of my clients has been working her way through the upper levels of her organization with a culture-changing idea for her company. She flies jumbo jets, and her idea would impact all pilots in her airline, and ideally, pilots across all of aviation. After her first presentation, to which she had invited some of her peers for support, she…

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Leadership Coaching

Don't wait for someone else to speak up

Once upon a time, I was getting on the freeway at an onramp near my home, and for the nth time, was nearly sideswiped by a car entering in the lane next to me. This onramp has two left turn lanes to enter the freeway, but once you begin the turn, the lane markings disappear. If someone doesn’t realize there…

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Leadership Coaching

Why can't every talk be a TED talk?

TEDxUCLA TED talks are the “it-girl” of speaking. Everyone wants their presentation to be as cool as a TED talk, as profound as a TED talk, and as viral as a TED talk. I’m a huge fan of TED talks (and their locally-produced TEDx brethren). I’ve written about many of them here on Speak Schmeak, in fact. I admire the…

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Leadership Coaching

Being vs. becoming

Twice in conversations with a client, she’s told me, “I’m not a writer.” And yet, she is a writer, because she writes! Perhaps I’m oversimplifying a bit, because I suppose there’s a difference between someone who writes all the time and enjoys it (whether or not they receive income from it), and a person who writes sometimes and finds it…

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Leadership Coaching

Speaking tips from "Serial"

I finally got around to finishing the original season of the podcast “Serial,” in which the case of convicted murder Adnan Syed is re-evaluated in detail by investigative journalist Sarah Koenig. I had listened to the first four episodes on a road trip last year, but never picked it up again. As I’ve been driving back and forth to Sacramento…

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Leadership Coaching

Storytelling in 30 seconds – can you do it?

It’s been a while since I posted about a TV commercial (ah, the beauty of the DVR), but here’s one I came across recently that perfectly demonstrates the concepts of concise, compelling and clear storytelling. The message is delivered in 30 seconds, through visuals, music and exactly two spoken sentences. Can you be this concise, compelling and clear in your…

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