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3 Ways to Boost Your STEM Career

The problem today is that more than 80 percent of women in STEM careers want leadership development training. But they aren’t getting it. Research shows that organizations are more likely to provide leadership training to men. Instead of getting frustrated and stuck...

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Are You Boring Your Virtual Audience?

Are you boring your listeners? In a virtual presentation, you may not see your audience, but you can tell if they have tuned you out. Do your questions go unanswered? Are there few comments in the chat box? Are you doing all the talking—even when you unmute your...

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Are You Anxious? Four Steps Will Calm You Down

Are you anxious, worried, uneasy or apprehensive about your money, your job, getting sick or an upcoming presentation? You’re not alone. Dr. Richard Zinbarg, chairman of the Northwestern University Psychology Department, said, “Just about all of us have some levels of...

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If You Are Working From Home Avoid These 6 Phone Call Mistakes

The phone rings. It’s not your best friend, your sister or your mother. It’s not a social call. It’s work-related. How can you sound professional when you’re standing in your pajamas or sitting in yoga pants? Working from home is no longer a choice since the...

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You Can Use the Power of Charisma

Politicians like Joe Biden and Ronald Reagan are described as charismatic. But even you can earn that label at your next presentation. Charisma is not a talent you’re born with. It’s a power tool you can pick up, practice and perfect. It’s a skill that can make your...

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5 Ways to be a Memorable Speaker

It’s easy to forget what you heard 10 minutes ago, 10 hours ago or 10 days ago. So how can a speaker compete with the short attention span of a distracted, overworked audience? How can you leave a lasting impression on people who need to hear what you have to say?...

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Are You Hearing or Listening?

Did you know that bad listening skills are more serious than just being rude? It can be dangerous to your career or business if you hear voices, but don’t lean in and truly listen to what’s being said. How bad is this problem? Research says we remember less than 50...

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Beware of 3 Speaker Sins

Are you guilty of one or more of the three deadly speaker sins? OK, I have sinned a couple of times in the past. But there’s no need to march into the new year making the same old mistakes! If you fear silence, stand stiff as a board and are too focused on yourself...

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Can Your Day Dreams Come True?

Teenagers have more questions than answers. I was no different. When I was in high school, I loved to read history books. I’d often, lay across my bed—peering through my gold wire-rim granny glasses—and ask myself the same question: “How can I make a difference?” I...

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Is Public Speaking Anxiety Pushing You Around?

Is Public Speaking Anxiety Pushing You Around?

What are you thinking about before you give a presentation? Are you anticipating the worst and getting anxious about the mistakes you think you’re going to make? If so, you are letting negative thoughts push you in the wrong direction. Don’t get pushed around by...

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Hurricane Dorian Left Three Reminders

Hurricane Dorian Left Three Reminders

Hurricane Dorian slipped past Florida, with little major damage. It was supposed to stall over Central Florida, like it did the Bahamas. I watched for days, bracing for a devastating blow from the storm. I worried. I waited. But all I got was a lesson on how to handle...

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Is Your Audience “Feeling” Your Message?

Is Your Audience “Feeling” Your Message?

He wasn’t trying to get a laugh. When comic Jon Stewart spoke at a Congressional hearing in June he was trying to get permanent financial aid for first responders, struggling with health issues related to the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New...

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Which Business Story is Right for You?

Which Business Story is Right for You?

Have you been told to add stories to your business presentations? OK, what do you do next? You should take two steps in the right direction. Step #1: Choose the type of story you want to tell. Step #2: Hit all three H.A.H. goals. STEP #1 - PICK STORY TYPE If you’re a...

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Please, Laugh in My Face!

Please, Laugh in My Face!

People love to laugh—behind your back. That’s normal. Sometimes, you want them to laugh in your face. That’s gold for a presenter. If your audience is laughing, they are listening and you’re making an emotional connection! If you can’t get some laughs or smiles, you...

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Erase Speaking Mistakes Like You’re Tom Brady

Erase Speaking Mistakes Like You’re Tom Brady

Mistakes happen. Tom Brady, who has more Super Bowl rings than any quarterback in NFL history, has also thrown more than 170 interceptions. Do you think he let those mistakes hold him back? Nope. All elite athletes know what to do with their mistakes. They use a...

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Can You Make a Serious Audience Laugh?

Can You Make a Serious Audience Laugh?

Have you ever gotten a laugh—on purpose—during a serious presentation? Well, keep that trend alive! Audiences (actually everybody) love to laugh. When your audience is laughing, then you know they’re listening (hopefully to you). But how can you pull this off and why...

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Rate Yourself on the 3 Jobs Speakers Have

Rate Yourself on the 3 Jobs Speakers Have

Have you ever done public relations? Do you deliver packages for FedEx? Are you a construction engineer? Probably not. But you have three jobs when you’re giving a presentation. Ignore your job title. When you’re a speaker; you’re also in PR, you’re delivering...

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The 5-Step Recipe for Speaking Success

The 5-Step Recipe for Speaking Success

Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey top the list of the Most Admired Women in America. The Former First Lady and the billionaire media mogul, who ranked #1 and #2 in the 2018 Gallup poll, are powerful speakers. And these ladies share a speaking style that you can use to...

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3 Ways to Pull in Your Listeners

3 Ways to Pull in Your Listeners

You want them to like you, listen and hang on to your words. Don’t you? But you have to work for that kind of loyalty. What can you do to pull your audience into your presentation and keep them deeply involved in what you’re saying? Give them a chance to laugh, learn...

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Do You Carry Mental Baggage?

Do You Carry Mental Baggage?

How much mental baggage do you drag into your sales or business presentations? Do you pull pounds of doubt or lack of confidence into your mindset? Think about these questions. If you are not sure of yourself, self-doubt will be reflected in your body language; and...

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3 Ways to Get Your Audience to Take Action

3 Ways to Get Your Audience to Take Action

After you finish your presentation, what do you want your audience to do? If you’ve done your job, they should have something new—a different perspective, new ideas or a valuable tool/solution. How can you get your audience to take action? It starts before you stand...

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What Does Your Body Language Say?

What Does Your Body Language Say?

When you give a business presentation, you are seen as a leader or an expert. Does your body language keep that image alive in the eyes of your audience? Your face and hands play a big role in sending your audience the right message. Your body language speaks louder...

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Are You a Lion, Turtle or a Rabbit Speaker?

Are You a Lion, Turtle or a Rabbit Speaker?

What animal do you most resemble when you’re making a speech? Are you a lion, a turtle or a rabbit? If you’re confident, you’re like a lion. If you’re in control, you’re like a turtle. And if you get to the point quickly, you’re like a rabbit. The best speakers have...

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Don’t Let Your Mind Mess You Up!

Don’t Let Your Mind Mess You Up!

Your mindset determines your success or failure in life and in business presentations. If you think you’re nervous, afraid or going to forget a key point, you probably will. But you don’t have to let your mind mess up your presentation. Here are some things you can do...

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How Can Chicken Seasoning Help You Connect?

How Can Chicken Seasoning Help You Connect?

If you’re like most people, you want to make a connection with the person you’re talking to. As a presenter, the way to get that connection is to build it into your presentation during your planning/writing stage. If you’re roasting a chicken and you want it to be...

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Do You Want to Make a Quick Connection?

Do You Want to Make a Quick Connection?

As a presenter, the fastest way to connect with your audience is to show off your five F’s. When you reveal your failures, flaws, fears, frustrations or firsts with your listeners they can see that you have struggled, just like them. Authenticity is a fast track to...

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4 Ways to Avoid Boring Your Audience

4 Ways to Avoid Boring Your Audience

Do you know what people are saying (in their mind) about you when you stand in front of them to give a presentation? They are thinking, “Please don’t let her be boring!” Your job is simple. DO NOT BORE THEM! What can you do to keep your listeners interested? Use...

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3 Ways You Can Kill a Presentation

3 Ways You Can Kill a Presentation

Are you guilty of using a “poison P”? Have you ever delivered a business presentation standing behind a lectern or desk, been so serious—you forgot to share your personality with your audience, or read word-for-word from slides or notes? Don’t worry. I’m a recovering...

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Do Your Stories Boost Your Image?

Do Your Stories Boost Your Image?

Do you include stories in your business presentations? For years, I shied away from telling stories in my speeches. I didn’t think I could tell a great story. I was right. Then I discovered how to take my stories from good to great. What made the difference? There are...

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5 Biggest Public Speaking Mistakes You Must Avoid

5 Biggest Public Speaking Mistakes You Must Avoid

What do ambitious women and awesome public speakers have in common? A panel at the Women on the Rise Orlando empowerment expo laid out a roadmap for women who want corporate success and pay equality. Their advice will also help men and women avoid the five biggest...

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4 Ways You Can Captivate an Audience Like Oprah

4 Ways You Can Captivate an Audience Like Oprah

Oprah Winfrey jumped to the top of a list of potential 2020 candidates for president of the United States after giving a speech, accepting the Cecil DeMille award for lifetime achievement. What did she do in her January 7 Golden Globes award show speech? Oprah ignited...

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Gomer Pyle Had it Right!

Gomer Pyle Had it Right!

Have you ever been delighted by an unexpected Christmas gift? How did that make you feel? That sudden surge of surprise, delight and excitement pumped you up. My favorite part of Christmas is watching my child open a gift she wasn’t expecting. Her eyes light up, a...

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#MeToo…Find and Amplify Your Voice

#MeToo…Find and Amplify Your Voice

Hashtag #MeToo is empowering women to share their stories of harassment and sexual abuse on Twitter. To be honest, every woman does not have a sexual abuse or harassment story to tell. But every man and woman has a voice. As a communications coach, I’d like to give...

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Can Candy Make You a Better Presenter?

Can Candy Make You a Better Presenter?

What’s your favorite candy? Snickers, Dove and Hershey chocolate bars put a smile on my face. I’ve even handed out Tic Tac candies to my audience, before starting a presentation. No, they didn’t need the sugar, but I wanted to drive home my message in a candy red...

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Take Four Tips from Trump

Take Four Tips from Trump

Donald Trump is not your typical politician. But his C.A.R.U. is worth a billion dollars to any apprentice presenter. I’m not talking politics. When I see Trump on television I am looking at his communications style—it’s unique, clearly defined and overflowing with...

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What Defines You Better Than Your Resume?

What Defines You Better Than Your Resume?

Do you remember this scene from the movie “Best Man Holiday” when Harper (played by Taye Diggs) asks his old college buddies (and the boyfriend of a dear friend) to boil their core values down to three words? Lance (played by Morris Chestnut), an NFL football player...

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The Healing Power of Storytelling

The Healing Power of Storytelling

No matter how old you are, the loss of your mother creates a void in your life as deep and wide as the Grand Canyon. When my 93-year-old mother died in June, I struggled with a profound sense of loss. Intellectually, I told myself, “You were blessed to have Mama in...

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Three Deadly Public Speaking Myths

Three Deadly Public Speaking Myths

As a public speaking coach, I run into people who try to convince me that they don’t need my help. That’s OK, everybody doesn’t need a coach. But some of the reasons they throw at me are myths that can keep you from being a great speaker. The excuses I hear most often...

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Like Maya Says, “When You Know Better, You Do Better”

Like Maya Says, “When You Know Better, You Do Better”

Recently, I spoke to a group of business women about moving obstacles (fear, nerves, inexperience) that are keeping them from being better speakers. I ended that talk with a quote from poet and teacher Maya Angelou. She told Oprah Winfrey, “When you know better, you...

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A Musical with a Message

A Musical with a Message

I sat across from my daughter as we watched the musical “Seasons” at the Orlando Fringe Festival. We were impressed with the powerful acting, beautiful singing and the smart messages woven throughout the lives of two women, Hope and Helen, who confronted life’s...

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3 Quick Ways to Win Over Your Audience

3 Quick Ways to Win Over Your Audience

Have you ever stood before your co-workers, strangers or friends to give a few remarks or a prepared presentation? Your hands were shaking, your heart was almost jumping out of your chest and your only thought was—“Please let this torture end quickly!” We’ve all been...

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Rebounding is Not Just for Basketball Players

Rebounding is Not Just for Basketball Players

Basketball Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman made a name for himself in the NBA by perfecting one skill—rebounding. After playing pro ball for 14 years, he retired as the only man to lead the league in rebounding for seven consecutive seasons. He was known as a rebounding...

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Is Rosa Parks Still Relevant Today?

Is Rosa Parks Still Relevant Today?

It’s almost been a year since President Barack Obama unveiled the first full-length statue of an African-American in the U.S. Capitol. And this summer I was filled with pride when I saw Rosa Parks’ nine-foot-tall bronze statue for the first time. It is a beautiful...

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Where Can You Find Humor? Everywhere!

Where Can You Find Humor? Everywhere!

If you are going to a holiday party or a networking event and you want a quick way to break the ice with new or old friends, have a little humor in your hip pocket. Even if you need to give a serious presentation, laughter will help you quickly grab the audience’s...

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Are You A Great Storyteller?

Are You A Great Storyteller?

Soon we’ll be gathering with family and friends at Thanksgiving. And no holiday meal is complete without hot food and memorable stories. “Do you remember the time…” kicks off an endless series of childhood stories, family legends and embarrassing tales from the past....

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As Smooth as Pumpkin Pie

As Smooth as Pumpkin Pie

Are you a smooth talker? Do words just roll off your tongue like sweat rolling down your face on a sweltering hot summer day? If both answers are “no”, there are five things you can do to make your next speech, presentation or job interview come off as smooth as...

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A Speech is Like a Three-Course Dinner

A Speech is Like a Three-Course Dinner

Do you have glossophobia or fear of public speaking? Don’t worry. You are not alone. Some experts say 75% of all people experience some form of anxiety or nervousness when they have to speak in public. But you can solve your problem with a little practice and a new...

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Everybody Needs an Elevator Speech

Everybody Needs an Elevator Speech

Can you introduce yourself to a stranger in the time it takes to ride an elevator? Are you looking for a job, a promotion or more business for your company? If your first answer is “no” and your second answer is “yes”, then you need a memorable opening line. The...

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Mississippi River is a Source of Inspiration

Mississippi River is a Source of Inspiration

I’m no Mark Twain, but I can say that we both have found creative inspiration from the muddy Mississippi River. In the 1800s, Twain wrote books such as, Life on the Mississippi and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, based on his experiences growing up and piloting...

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Getting Inspired, Energized and Empowered

Getting Inspired, Energized and Empowered

Recently I attended a women’s empowerment seminar, “Sisters Take Charge!” I originally signed up for the event to hear handsome author and former radio host Michael Baisden, but I got more than I bargained for. I was inspired by all of the presenters—local doctors,...

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Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day!

Deadbeat dad, absentee father, emotionally distant parent. Some folks can describe their father with those adjectives. Thank God, my father doesn't fit that mold. For James Cleveland Gist Jr, his mantra is, "family first". As a child, I always knew who to ask for an...

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Expanding My Culinary Comfort Zone

Expanding My Culinary Comfort Zone

When the chief cook in your household is a vegan (eats no meat, dairy…nothing from an animal) your culinary horizon automatically gets lifted higher and higher. Since 2004, my daughter has been a dedicated vegan and I have been enjoying the delicious meals she...

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A Passion for Cookies

A Passion for Cookies

I have a passion for eating cookies. So it’s not a big surprise that I found myself at DessertFest, a recent Saturday afternoon gathering featuring cookies, cupcakes, frozen treats and live music. I came to this dessert party for delicious HeartSong Cookies and I also...

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Teaching Me More Than Music

Teaching Me More Than Music

Growing up in New Haven, CT during the 1920s my mother had only one dream. She always wanted to be a teacher. She can still remember gathering her four best friends in the back yard to play school. Little Helen was always the teacher. And her dream came true. She was...

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Speaking of Youth…

I’ve evaluated many speeches in my 10 years as a member of Toastmasters International, but few speakers have taught me as many lessons as the 10 elementary and middle school students I judged last month in the Orange County 4-H Tropicana Public Speaking Contest....

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Fight Your Fear of Public Speaking

During the 10 years I have been a member of Toastmasters International, I have given many speeches and won a few public speaking awards. I have made presentations at work, appeared on radio and TV talk shows, and coached new speakers through their first few speeches....

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Drought, Bacon and Tofurky

Last summer, farmers battled the most severe drought in at least 25 years. The most extensive dry spell since the 1950s left farmers with less corn and soybeans to feed chickens, cows and pigs, so they cut back herds and raised the price consumers pay for beef, pork,...

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Living with a Millennial

I’m a proud Baby Boomer with a daughter who falls right in the middle of the Millennial Generation (Gen Y). My world view was formed by the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, and major political assassinations (President Kennedy and Martin...

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Five Unsung Success Stories

Since March is Women’s History Month, I want to shine the spotlight on five unsung heroines who don’t get a lot of attention in our history books. Have you heard about the success stories of Patricia Roberts Harris, Mae Jemison, Constance Baker Motley, Madame C.J....

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Three Golden Rules

You don’t need a marketing degree to know great service when you see it. Unfortunately, most of us don’t experience the kind of over-the-top service that creates customer loyalty. I think the Golden Rule—treat others as you would like to be treated—still applies in...

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My Take on the State of the Union

President Obama hit a home run last night in his State of the Union speech. He covered the usual topics (deficits, gun control) and dropped in a few surprises (raise the minimum wage and address climate change). Florida Senator Marco Rubio gave the GOP response. It...

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