Articles

You Don't Have to be a Hot Mess to Connect with Your Audience June 18, 2019 09:00

You Don't Have to be a Hot Mess to Connect with Your Audience | Carrie Sharpe

I'd really like to know who decided that the only way to be relatable is to be a hot mess. 

Suddenly I see photos in my newsfeed of women who look like they just rolled out of bed trying to sell me their professional products and services. Piles of filthy laundry. Dirty dishes stacked in the sink. Messy hair. Messy house. Messy life.

Um, no, thanks.

I understand the thought process behind it... no one wants to buy from someone who seems perfect. We want people to be genuine and real.

But must "real" equal "hot mess?"

I don't think so.

As a woman in her forties who has a marriage of over twenty years, professional career, and older children, I am not a hot mess most days. I can't be. People rely on me to be professional and get things done thoroughly. My house can't look like a bomb went off, I can't show up at networking events wearing sweats and a tank top, and I need to be on time for meetings. 

Hot mess won't cut it in my life.

I'm nowhere near perfect, but I'm not a disaster, either. So when I see women selling themselves as a hot mess, I can't relate. I don't equate "hot mess" with "professional."

I don't need perfection, but I do need professional.

I relate to professional. It connects with me. I look to people who are competent, educated, established, and have their stuff together for the most part.

So allow me to reassure you: If you've seen those "hot mess" posts/ads/videos and felt pressure to do the same in order to connect with your audience, it's not necessary to be a hot mess to connect with your audience. Think it through carefully first. 

Is "hot mess" really you?

Is "hot mess" how you want to be known?

Who's in your audience... do they really relate to "hot mess?"

"Hot mess" marketing may work in some industries, but it doesn't work in all. Don't feel pressure to be someone or something you're not. Be you, and connect with your audience in your own way. No hot mess required.

You Don't Have to be a Hot Mess to Connect with Your Audience | Carrie Sharpe

Looking for a supportive community where you can learn more about connecting and other communication topics? You're invited to join us over on Facebook at Communicate to Connect. Click here to join. It's free. 

3 Ways You're Screwing Up as a Public Speaker June 4, 2019 09:00

Almost everyone has to do some form of public speaking at some point. Whether you have to give a presentation to a few coworkers or you're delivering a keynote to a stadium full of people, you need to accomplish your goals of connecting with your audience, teaching something, and inspiring action.

It's easy to screw that up.

If you aren't hitting a home-run with your speeches, it's time to reflect, get feedback, and make the necessary changes. 

Here are 3 ways you may be screwing up as a speaker:

1. You aren't preparing... properly.

Preparation means more than jotting down a few bullet points and going over your notes the night before a speech. To be truly prepared, you need to do the work. That means you need to research your topic, learn what the audience needs from you, figure out which stories and illustrations will enhance your talk, determine how best to start the talk, and decide how best to end it. Then you have to draft the talk, refine it, practice it, record yourself giving it, watch your practice video, make changes, practice again, and repeat. Lack of proper preparation is the biggest mistake I see speakers make. (Need help preparing? Click here.)

2. You don't know your audience.

It's imperative that you know who you're talking to so you can tell them what they need to hear in the way they need to hear it. Do they expect a casual talk or a formal presentation? Do they already know the basics about your topic, or do they need to know all the foundational information? Are they familiar with industry jargon? Think through exactly who your audience is. Think through age, gender, education level, industry, marital status, and any other relevant demographics. If you aren't sure, ask the event planner. (For more about knowing your audience, click here.)

3. You're a diva.

Are you speaking for you or for your audience? Are you making demands? What are your motives for speaking? All too often, I see otherwise talented speakers lose audiences through vanity and narcism. Speaking is serving. Check your pride at the door. Divas don't connect with audiences... they repel them. Audience members can see a diva coming a mile away. (For more on serving your audience, click here.)

It's easy to screw up as a public speaker, but it's also pretty easy to fix your issues. Take the time to really analyze your most recent presentations. Be honest with yourself about each of the three issues I described above, and change accordingly. If you aren't sure how, click here and let's work on it together.

3 Ways You're Screwing Up as a Public Speaker | Carrie Sharpe

Looking for a supportive community where you can learn more about public speaking and other communication topics? You're invited to join us over on Facebook at Communicate to Connect. Click here to join. It's free. 


How to Find the Right Networking Events for You May 14, 2019 09:00

How to Choose the Right Networking Events for You | Carrie Sharpe
It's vital that we make connections through networking. Networking leads to relationships that develop into friendships, mentorships, partnerships, collaborations, and referrals. But we can sure waste a lot of time by attending the wrong networking events.

Watch this video to make sure you're attending the right ones for you:

How to Find the Right Networking Events for You | Carrie Sharpe
Looking for a supportive community where you can learn more about networking and other communication topics? You're invited to join us over on Facebook at Communicate to Connect. Click here to join. It's free. 

How to Craft a Powerful Valedictory Speech May 1, 2019 09:00

It's an honor to be named valedictorian. Thrilling... Exciting... Right up until the moment you realize you have to give the speech, that is.

Then the panic sets in. 

What should I say?

How long should this be?

Will anyone even remember it?

No problem. With some preparation and practice, you'll be ready to deliver a powerful speech on your graduation day.

To get started, follow these tips:

1. Decide on a theme. Give a speech that has one main point, and stick to it. That theme can be anything that you want the audience to remember overall.

2. Know your audience. Your speech needs to speak to the people in the room. Who are they? What do they need to hear? Is there something specific to your graduating class you want to talk about? 

3. Craft an outline. An outline will keep you on track so you don't go off on tangents or start rambling. This is not a script, however. No one wants you to read to them.

4. Keep it short. Check with your school administrator to find out how long they want you to talk, and don't go any longer. Short and sweet is the way to go when it comes to graduation speeches.

5. Put your most important message at the end. Your audience is most likely to remember what you say last, so make the most of your final minutes behind the podium.

Your stage presence matters, and so does how you practice. Click on this guide for tips (it's free, and you don't have to give us your email address to get it):

Your Valedictory Speech guide

Need additional help? Email me (Carrie Sharpe) at info@ryancarriesharpe.com, and let's talk about your speech! 

How to Craft a Powerful Valedictory Speech


This One Thing is Killing Your Credibility as a Speaker April 30, 2019 09:00

This One Thing is Killing Your Credibility as a Speaker

What could that one thing be?

It's vital that a speaker establishes credibility, but this one thing can kill it in an instant. Watch as I describe what that one thing is and what you should do instead to boost your credibility as a speaker:

This One Thing is Killing Your Credibility as a Speaker

Learn more about credibility in our Communicate to Connect Facebook community. It's free to join!


Establishing Credibility as a Speaker: Your Word is Your Worth April 16, 2019 09:00

Establishing Credibility as a Speaker: Your Word is Your Worth

Personal credibility.

That's a tough topic, but it's so important. There have been times when I've been asked to refer a speaker for a particular event. You know what's sad? When a speaker would be perfect for that event but I can't recommend him/her because of their personal credibility issues.

If a speaker is known for arriving late to a speaking event, there's a personal credibility issue (please don't misunderstand-- an emergency or one-time issue is NOT what I'm talking about... I'm talking about someone who is habitually late).

If a speaker makes unreasonable demands and becomes known as a diva, there is a personal credibility issue.

If a speaker backs out of a speaking contract/agreement simply because he no longer feels like going to the event, there's a personal credibility issue.

If a speaker shows up to an event wearing inappropriate clothing choices for that event, there's a personal credibility issue (I've truly seen it all).

If a speaker flirts with members of the event committee, there is a personal credibility issue (yes, I've seen this happen, and it's not pretty).

The point here is to be a professional in every sense of the word. Your credibility is at stake. Future speaking opportunities are at stake. Your reputation is at stake. Referrals and recommendations are at stake.

Today make a personal list of things you can improve in regards to your personal credibility. You don't need to share it with anyone, but please reflect and be honest with yourself. Once you've done this, hop on over to our Communicate to Connect community on Facebook and let us know you did it (and then, by all means, take action on that list!).

Establishing Credibility as a Speaker: Your Word is Your Worth


Establishing Speaker Credibility through Testimonials April 2, 2019 09:00

Establishing Speaker Credibility through Testimonials

If you want to be seen as an expert in the field you're speaking about, you need credibility.

That doesn't mean you need to have 500 speaking gigs under your belt. It means that you are seen as credible as an expert in your field. Even a brand new speaker can establish credibility as an expert.

One way to build credibility is through testimonials. You can post them on your website and one-sheet, and you can provide them to event planners. The best testimonials are a few short sentences describing the transformation you inspired in an audience, your integrity as a person and professional, and/or your knowledge of your subject matter.

Testimonials fall into three categories (but you don't necessarily need all three types to establish credibility):

1. Those given by people who have heard you speak (and can attest to your life-changing message)

2. Those given by people who have hired you to speak (and can shout from the rooftops how easy you are to work with and how you delivered more than they ever dreamed), and

3. Those given by people who have worked with you in some capacity and know first-hand how brilliant you are (if you're a brain surgeon, a testimonial from another surgeon who knows how skilled you are may be more important than a testimonial from someone who has heard you speak before).

Do you have testimonials that help establish your credibility? If so, post one on your social media channels today and tag us so we see it (we are "He says, She says" on all social media channels). If you don't have one, today's the day to get one (or more). Reach out to someone and ask for one. If you need help, send us an email at info@ryancarriesharpe.com and we'll help you brainstorm.

Establishing Speaker Credibility Through Testimonials

Looking for a supportive community where you can learn more about public speaking and other communication topics? You're invited to join us over on Facebook at Communicate to Connect. Click here to join. It's free. 


Networking Does Not Equal Selling March 5, 2019 09:00

Networking does not equal selling

You go to your local networking event. While you're there you pass out 65 business cards, stumble through a few brief conversations about the awful weather, sample the food and wine, and then go home to wait for sales to pour in.

That's networking. Right?

Wrong.

A misunderstanding of networking's purpose causes frustration for so many business owners and professionals. That's because, for whatever reason, we've come to think of networking as selling. Then we're disappointed when it doesn't happen.

But networking does not equal selling.

I repeat: Networking does not equal selling.

Networking may, in fact, lead to sales at some point, but networking itself is not selling. No one goes to networking events with their wallet wide open, ready to throw money at you. That's not networking.

Rather, networking is building relationships. Plain and simple.

The goal of networking is to make connections and cultivate a community that becomes your professional network. Your network becomes your team of people to tap into when you have a question about something, want to refer someone, require a listening ear, or need a collaboration partner. Your network is your community of friends.

With any friendship, you must spend time together. Ask questions. Get to know each other. Care enough to be thoughtful and courteous. Learn more about each other's family members, struggles, and businesses. Follow up and stay in touch.

Be in it for the long haul. Networking is not a one-and-done event. Networking is a courtship.

To network effectively, you must:

1. Use good eye contact. Put your phone down, and look the other person directly in the eyes. Give all of your attention to that person without distraction.

2. Ask questions. Your objective is to learn about the other person, so ask things like "What do you do?" and "How did you get started doing that?"

3. Listen. Listen more than you talk. Listening shows that you care, and you don't want to miss any important details that are being shared!

4. Follow up. Get the other person's contact information so you can continue the conversation later. Send articles that are of interest to the other person, tag them on relevant Facebook posts, and meet up again at a later date.

5. Brainstorm collaborations. Someone whose work complements yours is a perfect collaboration partner. Find ways the two of you can team up on a future project.

Always remember that the goal of networking is to build relationships. Networking does not equal selling. Connect with people, learn more about them, and continue the conversations, and you'll create a community to support you for years to come.

Networking Does Not Equal Selling, by Carrie Sharpe of He says, She says

Looking for a supportive community where you can learn more about networking and other communication topics? You're invited to join us over on Facebook at Communicate to Connect. Click here to join. It's free. 


Evaluating Your Year as a Speaker December 4, 2018 09:00

At the end of each year (or anytime, really!) it's important to evaluate how you're doing as a speaker. As speakers, we focus so much on speaking that we sometimes forget to pay attention to the business side of things. Knowing your numbers and developing smart strategies are vital to your success as a speaker, especially if you'd like to make money at it.

Have you taken time to evaluate how things are going for you as a speaker and communicator? Are you setting, and achieving, your goals? It's time to evaluate.

Some things to ask yourself:

1. Do I have a speech (keynote or workshop) that I'm proud of and can get hired to deliver? (If not, what needs to happen to get to that point?)

2. Do I have a money-making strategy for my talks in addition to speaker fees? (If not, what can be planned to ensure profits from speaking gigs?)

3. Do I have a plan for getting hired to speak in the next 12-18 months? (If not, the time is now.)

4. Have I done all the behind-the-scenes prep work for pitching myself? (One-sheet, website speaker page, listings with bureaus, networking, researching conferences, etc.)

5. What other types of speaking do I need to plan for the next 12 months? (Facebook Live, podcasts, radio/TV interviews, teaching classes, online workshops/webinars, etc.)

6. When I speak, am I truly connecting?

7. Am I building that know-like-trust factor and long-term relationships with my audience?

Grab some paper and a pen. Spend some time today working through that list so you're all set for the next year or so. It's important to analyze how things are going before making plans for the future. We'd love to hear what you come up with. Head on over to our Facebook community and post your thoughts!

Need help working through your ideas and plans? Need to improve your speech or stage presence? Click here to schedule a call with Carrie to learn more about how she can help you achieve your goals!

Evaluating Your Year as a Speaker- He says, She says


Our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide is here! November 16, 2018 14:21

holiday gift guide

Tis the season! It's that time of year when we share with you our favorite things to grow your business and assist you as a speaker. If you work from home or your business includes some form of public speaking, this list is for YOU. It's not a list of gifts for your family and friends. You've got that covered (or Santa does). Instead, this is a list of things to get for yourself. You've earned it.

[Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links, meaning we earn a commission for purchases made through those links, at no additional cost to you. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Visit our Disclosures page for details.]

Ready to shop? Here are our favorite things:

laptop stand

1. A laptop stand. We use this to raise our laptop to the right height for recording videos and hosting Zoom meetings. This stand raises the laptop so the laptop's camera is at forehead level, which is the perfect level to look like you're giving direct eye contact and to avoid up-the-nose shots. This one's easy to assemble and doesn't cost a fortune. Click here to get yours [affiliate link].

dry nail polish

2. Mara Graff's dry nail polish strips. These nail strips by Color Street are pure genius. I don't have time to get my nails done, and I don't want to wait around for my nail polish to dry. I do, however, need my nails to look good for speaking engagements, networking events, and conferences. I throw a package of these in my purse and apply them in the car or at the airport. Easy-peasy, and done in no time! I get mine through Mara, who never spams me and who provides top-notch customer service. Always. Click here before December 13, 2018, to buy your strips in time for Christmas through our affiliate link, and click here to learn more about Mara and her business.
Zoom
3. A Zoom subscription. We use Zoom for hosting virtual coffee chats, coaching sessions, and group programs through our computer. It's the most economical and reliable way to meet with other people across the globe without leaving home. Zoom features screen sharing, recordable meetings, and chat. It can be used on a laptop or phone. We love it! Click here to subscribe through our affiliate link.
2019 day planner
4. A 2019 planner by Orange Circle Studio. A new year means you need a new planner to keep track of everything! This is our favorite planner for daily tasks. It features large sections to write in for each day and an attached ribbon to save your spot. No need for complicated instructions to utilize this planner... it's super simple to use. Click here to get yours through our affiliate link.
stop sign
5. A stop sign. Seriously. When you work from home, a stop sign is essential for keeping distractions out of your video recordings, conference calls, and virtual coffee chats. We hang one on the office door whenever we're meeting with a client online, going Live on Facebook, or recording a podcast episode to let our kids know not to disturb. If you don't treat yourself to anything else this holiday season, treat yourself to this gift of NO INTERRUPTIONS! Click here to get yours through our affiliate link.

One last thing you need:

2019 Speaker Kickstart

It's the end of 2018. Did you have as many speaking gigs this year as you hoped for? 

Maybe you don't have your 2019 speaking calendar full yet, and you're beginning to freak out about it because you've heard other speakers say they are booked out already.

Maybe you don't even have your speech ready to go. Maybe you aren't sure what should be in place on your website before applying to be a speaker. Maybe you're even starting to question whether you're ready to be a speaker at all, and you don't want to spend big bucks for 1:1 coaching to figure it all out.

The 2019 Speaker Kickstart changes all of that. 

The 2019 Speaker Kickstart shows you how to design your talk quickly and easily, lay the foundation you need in place before seeking gigs, and book out your 2019 speaking calendar. Buy this 3-course kickstart bundle now and be ready to hit the ground running in 2019! 

SPECIAL BONUS: Everyone who enrolls in this kickstart bundle will receive an exclusive invitation to our online 2019 Speaker Planning Workshop in January!

The 2019 Speaker Kickstart is specially priced at $77 only until Friday, November 30 (the courses are $101 when purchased separately). This special bundle isn't available after November 30, so click here to enroll today!

2019 Speaker Kickstart

2018 Holiday Gift Guide for speakers and those who work at home


Speaker Spotlight: Sarah Humes June 4, 2018 15:13

Our Speaker Spotlight series puts the focus on speakers in our community. Iron sharpens iron, and we can all learn from the experiences of others. We asked questions and our speakers answered them. These answers come from Sarah Humes.

Who do you most like to speak to? Tell us about your ideal audience.

I will talk to anyone who will listen! But, truly, I have a heart for Moms! I love inspiring the mom who just needs to hear that they can make it through another day! If that mom has been feeling overwhelmed, overworked, or uninspired, even better! I want a chance to change that!

What are your favorite topics to talk about or teach?

I often reach my audiences at first by talking about decluttering. I thinking getting rid of excess things is incredibly brave, and a huge mindset shift. But, my speaking is so much more than that. I love to speak about anything relational, since I am such a people person! I think hospitality, parenting, marriage, friendships, core values and conflict resolution are some of the bravest things I talk about! And, I love sharing how God has redeemed a very scared and broken woman and transformed her into a brave, inspirational and bold business owner!

What sets you apart from other speakers? What do your audiences love about you?

I am funny and conversational. I deal with a lot of heavy issues in my speaking. Talking about feeling trapped in my home with agoraphobia, losing my sister(s) to death, and being chronically depressed and filled with anxiety is not easy. But---God through it all-- some how gave me this amazing sense of humor. I feel that has been a great tool in recovery, and it's an amazing tool in connecting to my audience. I actually had a couple brief stints in stand up comedy early on. But, I knew that, even though I loved being funny, I wanted my speaking to have a deeper message, too.

What does your dream speaking engagement look like? Describe it here.

I love imagining speaking to a room of 1000+ people. I can envision making them laugh and they are all having to hold their sides. Yet, my message is so powerful that they will remember key points for years after. That is the kind of speaker I dream to be.

Bloopers happen to everyone. Tell us about one that happened to you. How did you handle it?

Not too long ago, I was hired at a local library. It is the tiniest library you have ever seen! (Imagine a tiny house...It's the size of one of those, maybe even smaller! There is not even a bathroom there!) It is in a very rural location. In the middle of my speech (to 8 people!) I suddenly hear a very loud duck quacking. I jumped, and began searching for the duck. I quickly learned that the "duck" was actually the librarian's ringtone, but she had to leave her phone on for her children. The kids then proceeded to text her about 10 more times that night. It proved to be quite comical, and I began to ask the duck to comment on many of my points that evening. Humor is always my friend!

How do you control your nerves during a speaking engagement?

I remind myself that my message is much more important than how nervous I feel.

What's the best advice you've ever gotten regarding public speaking?

To be authentic, have fun, and make a point to interact with my audience.

What do you hope to accomplish with your speaking in the next 10 years?

To speak at the Boss Mom Retreat, to be interviewed on the Today Show, to make enough money to buy a safer house for my family (our house is lovely, but old and has a wet basement) and to inspire people not just locally, but nationally and globally too! I have big dreams, but I am a go-getter! I have already overcome so much, so what is a few more obstacles? 

Sarah Humes

My name is Sarah Rose Humes. For years I have struggled with overcoming anxiety and fear. And, I believed lies about myself. Somewhere along the line, I was fed the line I was weak because I was afraid. The truth-- I was strong because I fought back. Every single day, I used the word of God, prayer, encouragement from friend and family, and personal grit to fight against the (huge) list of things that scared me.

In-Courage Living was born out of the desire to share my experiences with others to help them realize they they too are strong. So many times we let fear hold us back from living our best life. I want everyone to live AMAZING days! I have found that the more I embrace my struggle as a blessing to grow, the richer my life has become.

Over the past 5 years, I have taught small audiences and groups many different life skills to deal with life's little problems. Now, as I branch out, I would like to include you and your group! I specialize in overcoming fear, intentional parenthood, de-cluttering, and using the Bible as a practical everyday tool for living. I have even taught small sessions on meal prepping and goal planning.

Connect with Sarah:

Website: https://www.sarahrosehumes.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/incourageliving

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/InCourageLiving

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/humessarah

Hang out with Sarah in our community on Facebook! It's free, fun, and full of help to make your public speaking the best it can be! Click here to join.

Speaker Spotlight: Sarah Humes


Don't Use Slides for Your Speech (But if You Must, Here's How) April 10, 2018 09:00

Slides during a speech are a huge pet peeve of mine. There are almost always misused, unneeded, and/or distracting. Slides should be used to enhance the message of the speech, but they are usually just a crutch for the speaker.

Before using a slide, ask yourself this question:

Does this slide tell my message better than I can?

If it does, use the slide. If it doesn't, get rid of the slide. It's as simple as that. Every single slide should make the speech better in some way. If it doesn't, it should be eliminated.

Slides should not be used as notes for the speaker. That's a crutch, and those slides don't add anything useful to the speech. Tech glitches occasionally occur, and if you're relying on those slides to get you through your speech you will be up a creek without a paddle.

Slides should not be full of text, especially in tiny font. That's annoying and unnecessary. Your audience should not spend all their time reading while you're talking. When slides become overwhelming, and when there are far too many, that's called Death By PowerPoint. Don't do that.

The focus, as a speaker, should be you and your message.

The focus should not be the slides.

If you must use slides, be sure to ask yourself the question above. If you determine you need slides, follow these guidelines:

  1. Less is more. Keep slides to a minimum. Every moment of your speech does not need its own slide. Allow your audience to determine what's important from your speech and take their own notes without the distraction of endless slides.
  2. Consider hand-outs as an alternative. If you have a lot of worksheet-style content that you're tempted to put on slides, hand-outs may be a better option. You can give them out after your talk, which allows your audience to simply listen and learn while you're talking. Audience members can review your information later.
  3. Bigger is better. If you must use text, make it super huge. Everyone in the room needs to see it. Use few words in large font. Don't clog up your slides with book-length paragraphs in tiny font.
  4. Tell a story. Use your slides to help illustrate your message. Images are preferable to text. Use meaningful images rather than stock photos. If an image doesn't have special meaning, don't use it.
  5. Stay on target. Only use slides that don't distract from you and your message. If your audience is looking up at the screen behind you more than they're looking at you, that's a problem. 

The best slides I've ever seen showed important statistics in a huge graph for effect, screenshots that illustrate how to implement what's being taught, or personal photos of the speaker's topic. They told the message better than the speakers could, so they made sense and actually enhanced the speeches. Use your slides in similar ways, and your speeches will be powerful and make an impact as well.

Need to improve your speech or stage presence? Click here to schedule a call with Carrie to learn more about how she can help you achieve your goals!


Speaker Spotlight: Sasha Gray January 30, 2018 09:00

 

Our Speaker Spotlight series puts the focus on speakers in our community. Iron sharpens iron, and we can all learn from the experiences of others. We asked questions and our speakers answered them. These answers come from Sasha Gray.

Who do you most like to speak to? Tell us about your ideal audience.

I am a motivational humorist that resonates with women who need that confidence boost or online business owners that need to understand how Facebook can help their business.

What are your favorite topics to talk about or teach?

I love seeing eyes light up when I show online business owners how to make a small change on their FB page that will make a difference in the reach of their posts.

I love seeing eyes light up when I talk to women about self confidence, and how to break out of the habits that keep them from living a life they love.

What sets you apart from other speakers? What do your audiences love about you?

I'm 'real'. What on Earth does that mean...are others an illusion? 

I'm down to earth and have 'been there, done that' and speak to the heart of my audience, resonating with those that are struggling to find the journey they're supposed to take.

What does your dream speaking engagement look like? Describe it here.

I would love to be on the stage of a giant conference, speaking to thousands of business owners or women that are looking for the self confidence they've misplaced, with enthusiasm that is tangible in the room, and music encouraging the occasional dance party.

Bloopers happen to everyone. Tell us about one that happened to you. How did you handle it?

I did an entire Scattered Sasha Show (1 hour) with a stink bug snugly stuck in my hair. 

I didn't even NOTICE it so I did NOTHING.....

However, when I've had my daughter interrupt my show, my dog begin barking, or people show up to my door unannounced. I just go with the flow....It's all life and my real life is what my audience seems to love, so it's all good.

How do you control your nerves during a speaking engagement?

Honestly, I LOVE speaking and don't recall ever having a case of the 'nerves'. I feel very fortunate because I know public speaking is one of the top fears people have. I'm almost always ready to jump up on stage (real or imagined) and start talking!

What's the best advice you've ever gotten regarding public speaking?

Be Yourself! 

What do you hope to accomplish with your speaking in the next 10 years?

I want to connect people to each other, I want to connect with them and I want them to feel as if they are a better version of themselves after hearing my speech.

Sasha Gray, Scattered Sasha

I'm Sasha, and I hang out over at Scattered Sasha, where I offer motivational antidotes, laugh-out-loud funny stories, a touch of sarcasm and a whole lotta sass. So when people ask me that elusive question of 'what do you do?', my answer usually runs along these lines:

"I'm a motivational humorist that runs on caffeine, chaos and cuss words and my life has been slapped together by pixie dust and tequila."

But all that makes one heck of a story....and I love to tell that story, along with a lot of other stories, as often as I can.

And my goal is always the same: to make you laugh, encourage your journey, and lift you up so you can fly on glitter covered wings.

Connect with Sasha:

Website: www.scatteredsasha.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/scatteredsasha

Hang out with Sasha in our community on Facebook! It's free, fun, and full of help to make your public speaking the best it can be! Click here to join.

Sasha Gray, Scattered Sasha


Can I Be Real with You? January 23, 2018 09:00

Can I be real with you?

Like, very real?

Our twin daughters will turn 9 next month (how did THAT happen??!). So that means it was almost nine years ago that Ryan and I began looking at ways to bring our speaking and communication business online instead of traveling so much for speaking engagements.

In those nine years, we've both learned a lot. 

I've learned there are more online businesses than I can count at any given time, but there aren't nearly as many that last long-term. Most business owners tend to treat their business like a hobby, and then it falls away when the owner loses interest or doesn't achieve overnight success.

I've learned that following everyone else's miraculous "5 steps to 7-figures" nets you about 7-cents. If that. Because it's their plan, which probably has very little to do with your business, your audience, your personality, your motivation, and your dreams. Can you learn from them? Sure. But you can't become a carbon copy. It just doesn't work that way.

I've learned you have to consistently show up. And consistently plan. And consistently build relationships. And consistently work hard. And consistently learn more. Sensing a theme? (Hint: be consistent).

I've learned that people like to be treated with respect. They will not hire you or buy from you if you spam them, use them, or try sleazy sales tactics on them. For whatever reason, people don't like being treated like doormats. They don't like feeling used.

Imagine that.

But most of all, I've learned that in order to be successful you have to be authentic. You have to build real long-lasting relationships. You have to do things in a way that feels right to you and that honors your customers and clients. You can't shortcut this with someone else's 5-step plan for 7 figures. You can't disappear from social media for weeks on end when you get bored or frustrated. You can't fly by the seat of your pants. You can't post something on social media today and wake up to 3.2 million dollars in your bank account tomorrow.

Success doesn't happen that way.

What I've found is that success is very personal. 

It comes from personal relationships you cultivate over time. It comes from hundreds of virtual coffee chats, networking opportunities, collaborations, partnerships, and confidence in what you have to offer.

It comes from serving people, helping people, and building people up. 

It comes from consistently showing up to encourage others, answer their questions, and help them move forward.

Successful businesses are built one comment on social media at a time. One Facebook Live at a time. One coffee chat at a time. One laugh at a time. One act of thoughtfulness at a time.

All of it done your way, with your own personality and uniqueness shining through in the relationships you build.

So let's get back to basics. Building that kind of communication foundation will support your business for years to come. Your way. In a way that is right for you. 

 

Ready to learn more about communication? Click here to join our FREE Facebook community!


How to Choose the Best Speaking Formats for You January 2, 2018 09:00

Each year, I like to create a speaking plan for every month of the year. Speaking is excellent for visibility and establishing expertise, so I like to be consistent with it. But not every type of speaking is perfect for every person.

There are so many speaking options. Podcast interviews, webinars, online and in-person workshops, speaking from stage, videos and courses, and Facebook Live are just a few of the options available.

How do you choose which is best for you?

Start with what you like. Are there certain formats that you enjoy more than others? Some of us like interview-style speaking where we're answering questions asked by someone else. Some of us like the interaction of leading a workshop. Some prefer to stand alone on stage and deliver a speech. Consider each option, and make a list of the ones you'd enjoy most.

Then think about which format would be best for your career or business currently. Are you focusing on getting more visible right now? Are you focused on appearing more of an expert in your field? Do you need to grow your following in the upcoming months? Each speaking format delivers a different result, so think through what you'd like to focus on and make a list of which speaking formats would best achieve your goals.

It's also important to consider your personal speaking skills and experience level. If you're new to speaking, Facebook Live may be a good option for getting started. It will help you gain confidence and hone your speaking skills. If you aren't experienced in crafting an entire speech, interview-style formats may be more your speed. If you're a seasoned speaker, maybe this year speaking from stage would be best for your career or business. Push beyond your current comfort zone, but have a plan for doing so. Begin where you are, and challenge yourself to move beyond your current level. If you're nervous about speaking or aren't sure where to begin, click here for details on how we can work together to get you stage-ready. 

Regardless of which formats you choose, be sure to create a speaking plan for each month of the year. You need the experience and visibility from speaking, so plan it out (flying by the seat of your pants is not a good plan). Don't leave it to chance.


Speaker Spotlight: Robin Walker November 28, 2017 09:00

Our Speaker Spotlight series puts the focus on speakers in our community. Iron sharpens iron, and we can all learn from the experiences of others. We asked questions and our speakers answered them. These answers come from Robin Walker.

Who do you most like to speak to? Tell us about your ideal audience.

I love speaking to business women in smaller groups of 10-25. We can really get to know each other and everyone gets some personal attention. It is perfect for workshops, because we can split into smaller groups or pairs as well.

What are your favorite topics to talk about or teach?

I can talk business all day, everyday! One of my favorites is idea generation and brainstorming. I also talk a lot about goal setting and taking action, as well as being intentional about building our businesses in collaboration with our family life.

What sets you apart from other speakers? What do your audiences love about you?

Three of my strengths (via Strength Finders 2.0) are communication, futuristic, and positivity. I encourage women out of their comfort zones, help them believe in themselves, and focus on bright and possible futures. I also include a lot of worksheets, hands on learning, and interactive groups, so that the audience keeps engaged and gets work done.

What does your dream speaking engagement look like? Describe it here.

I am hoping to launch it Summer of 2018! Stay tuned. If something doesn't exist, create it yourself. :) 

Bloopers happen to everyone. Tell us about one that happened to you. How did you handle it?

I have numerous Facebook Live bloopers (some of which Carrie has been witness to). Phone falling mid-Live is the most common. Usually I laugh, occasionally I delete if it was at the very beginning of the broadcast, then start over. Bloopers show your human side and people love them. 

How do you control your nerves during a speaking engagement?

I try to focus on the audience and not myself. I pray and ask for the words that the women need to hear, and ask to bring them joy and value. I have also been know to play loud music in the car to get out some extra energy.

What's the best advice you've ever gotten regarding public speaking?

PREPARE. 

What do you hope to accomplish with your speaking in the next 10 years?

I would love to be able to create unique workshop and speaking/training experiences that fit the needs of women in my group. Events that are what WE need, not just what has been done in the past. I have no desire to be in front of millions, just a small group that I can love on and support and watch flourish. 

Robin Walker

I’m Robin Walker, and I’ve used my 15+ years of running my own business and years of public teaching experience and to create The Women’s Business Workshop. I 'retired' from teaching when I had my oldest daughter. The plan was to be a stay at home mom, but business captured my heart, and 4-5 businesses later, here I am.

I help women start, build, and up level their business through online resources, in-person workshops, 1:1 business coaching, and a 2 day annual conference in Lake Geneva, WI. 

Connect with Robin:

Website: www.WomensBusinessWorkshop.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lakesideconference

Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/WomensBusinessWorkshop

Hang out with Robin in our community on Facebook! It's free, fun, and full of help to make your public speaking the best it can be! Click here to join.


Our holiday gift guide is here! November 7, 2017 09:00

[This article contains affiliate links, meaning we earn a commission for purchases made through those links. Visit our Disclosures page for details.]

It's that time of year again! The holiday season is upon us. We're so excited to share with you some of our favorites this year. Some of our favorites are professional gifts for business-builders, and some are personal. Among them you will find treasures for your own gift-giving!

 

1. The Golden Girls Clue Board Game

Oh.My.Goodness. Carrie absolutely LOVES Clue, and she falls asleep every night watching the Golden Girls. This board game is the best of both worlds. Seriously, who doesn't need a little more Sophia in their life? Hours and hours of fun and laughter with your family are the bonus with this gift. Click here for details.

 

2. I'm Listening art

Our all-time favorite television show is Frasier. We watch it on Netflix over and over, and we never stop laughing. This art showcases his signature phrase, "I'm listening." It also contains numerous quotes from various episodes of the show. If you love Frasier like we do, this one's for you! Click here for details.

 

3. Hamilton Beach coffeemaker

If you've been around us for more than five seconds, you know we love coffee. Carrie's family has a Finnish background, and coffee's a big deal to them. Our favorite brand of coffeemaker is Hamilton Beach. We've plowed through our share of coffeemakers, and Hamilton Beach lasts the longest. This one is a 12-cupper (which is a necessity at our house!), has a clock, and is programmable. Christmas is a great time to give the gift of caffeine, and it's also a great gift for yourself! Click here for details.

 

4. Bacon socks

You're missing out if you don't have a pair of bacon socks. On the bottom these say, "If you can read this, bring me some bacon." They are covered with bacon on the top and up the sides. Perfect for fellow bacon lovers! Click here for details.

 

Blue snowball microphone

5. Blue Snowball microphone

If you're using Zoom or recording podcasts, you know you need a high quality microphone. The Blue Snowball is our favorite. It provides crystal clear sound without a super high price tag. This one comes with the necessary pop filter and a set of headphones, too. Click here for details.

 

socialite clip-on mini ring light

6. The Socialite clip-on mini ring light

Anyone who takes selfies for business or who goes Live on Facebook needs good lighting. This clip-on mini ring light provides great lighting, is inexpensive, and is small enough to transport easily. It clips right on your phone for pictures, videos, and Facebook Live! Click here for details.

 

The Happy Hustle

7. The Happy Hustle book

The Happy Hustle, by Julie Ball, is a fantastic gift for the female entrepreneurs in your life. It's full of anecdotes from women who are building businesses, and it's sure to bring on the happy in anyone's hustle! Full disclosure: Carrie has a couple parts in this book! Get a copy for a friend and one for yourself. Click here for details.

 

8. Laila perfume

This is Carrie's favorite perfume, and it's the scent of Norway. It has a lightly floral scent, and is crisp and clean. When we went to Epcot this summer, we were BLOWN AWAY that we had the opportunity to meet the perfume's creator, Geir Ness! The whole family got to talk to him and hear all about Norway! How awesome is that?! Click here for details.

 

Purple seat cushion

9. Purple seat cushion

This is Ryan's saving grace! Because of all the long hours he spends sitting... driving and at his desk, this cushion saves him from hip and back pain. Anyone who sits for extended periods of time needs this cushion! Click here for details.

 

Vintage Meet Modern

10. Vintage Meet Modern sparkle earrings (and more!)

There is nothing prettier than sparkles during the holidays! Vintage Meet Modern has endless possibilities for your gift-giving pleasure! Carrie has several pieces from Vintage Meet Modern, and loves them all. Click here to see several options.

 

charger

11. USB Charger with multiple choice

Ryan is a gadget guy. This multiple choice charger is a fave! It plugs into a USB port and charges multiple devices. How cool is that?! Click here for details.

 

12. Talking is What I'm Best At shirt

Anyone who loves talking as much as we do needs this shirt. It's funny, it's cute, and it provides opportunity to start even more conversations! Click here for details.

 

Those are our favorites for the year. Happy shopping! If you'd like recommendations for other gifts, please feel free to send us an email at info@ryancarriesharpe.com. We're happy to help!


Speaker Spotlight: Damita McGhee October 24, 2017 09:00

Our Speaker Spotlight series puts the focus on speakers in our community. Iron sharpens iron, and we can all learn from the experiences of others. We asked questions and our speakers answered them. These answers come from Damita McGhee.

Who do you most like to speak to? Tell us about your ideal audience.

I love speaking to women who are ready to begin their entrepreneurial journey from their home office. It’s fun when they are full of excitement and trepidation.

It’s something so inspirational about the woman who balances her business and her household. 

What are your favorite topics to talk about or teach?

1. Expanding your vision
2. Balancing building a brand, business and babies
3 Trusting your gut
4. The Sweet Spot-Where your passion and purpose intersect

What sets you apart from other speakers? What do your audiences love about you?

I am so relatable and honest. I realize a lot of people have passion. However, talking from a passionate position is an integral part of my speaking style. 

I want women to feel better after they have left my presence than they did before we met. It’s imperative to me that I inspire women to be the best version of themselves possible. 

What does your dream speaking engagement look like? Describe it here.

A room (whether 5, 50, 500 or 5000) full of women who are ready to take their businesses to the next level. They understand that personal development is part of the growth process and they invest in themselves. They are ready to live outside of their comfort zones. 

The room is full of positive, passionate women ready to walk in their full potential. 

Bloopers happen to everyone. Tell us about one that happened to you. How did you handle it?

Yes they do. 

The most recent was just last week. I have a weekly online TV show. Unfortunately, I just could not get Facebook Live to work for me. My guest was waiting to join but I just couldn’t navigate my phone properly. And this was after I tried BeLive.tv and Zoom webinar. Ultimately, my guest had to go Live and invite me on. 

How do you control your nerves during a speaking engagement?

Just breathe through it. I take the focus off of me and think about the people in the audience who need the message. In my mind, God connected us for a reason. 

What's the best advice you've ever gotten regarding public speaking?

Carrie told me something very powerful. I can’t remember it exactly but it had to do with progress over perfection. 

What do you hope to accomplish with your speaking in the next 10 years?

I pray I impact millions of women across the world. We share something universal. We love our families and have a God given purpose. It is my sincere desire to help women connect the two. 

God designed each of us to accomplish what we alone are meant to contribute to this world. It is our destiny. I will help women realize that. 

Damita McGhee

Damita McGhee is a wife and mother of 3. After working in the corporate world 20 years, she became an Online Entrepreneur, Marketing/Brand Strategist and Motivational Speaker. 

Her personal mission is to help women understand we can have it a all. We can be sensational spouses, magnificent moms and powerful, profitable business owners with the right tools and resources. 

She teaches start up mompreneurs how to create a strong online brand and build profitable marketing/sales funnels. She has a passion for helping solo-mompreneurs get their businesses up and running.

She is a highly sought after motivational speaker and trainer. Her passion and sincere desire to see other women win is the driving force that has shaped her into the thriving entrepreneur she is today. It took 16 years to find her passion and purpose and now she is committed to helping other women do the same. 

Connect with Damita:

Website: www.damitamcghee.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/UnapologeticallyPassionateMOMpreneur

Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/UnapologeticallyPassionateMOMpreneurs 

Instagram: www.instagram.com/damitamcghee

Hang out with Damita in our community on Facebook! It's free, fun, and full of help to make your public speaking the best it can be! Click here to join.


No Train Wrecks: How to Properly End Your Speech October 17, 2017 09:00

The most important parts of any speech are the beginning and the end. The beginning sets the stage, engages the audience, and keeps their attention. The end puts the period at the end of the sentence. It closes the speech with a bang and helps the audience remember the speaker's message.

Or not.

There are so many ways an ending can go wrong. Watch this video to learn the most effective ways to end a speech:

Are you working on a speech? I'd love to help you develop a compelling beginning and a memorable ending (and all the stuff in the middle!). Click here to see all the ways we can work together.


The Best of the Best October 10, 2017 09:00

Our Facebook community is full of amazing people! They are all so talented, and each one is so unique. They have so much to offer the world around us! They have different backgrounds, experiences, and areas of expertise. Needless to say, they are an impressive bunch!

A few weeks ago I asked them to post links to their recent blog posts and articles so I can share them with you. 

So.Much.Goodness!

Here are the best of the best. Check out this list, and read the ones relevant to you. Post them, share them, and learn from them.

I have.

5 Strategies to Help You Kick Your Stress Eating Habit, by Lori Evans

Successful Corporate Full-time Working Mom Transitions to Part-time Consultant – Stacie Buckley, by Suzanne Brown

How to Infuse Your Voice Into Your Copy, by Tara Bosler

Embracing the "Free" in Freelance Work, by Kathy Krueger

I'm 37, Not a Missed Opportunity, by Carrie Severson

Just a Chair: Letting Go of Stuff After Loss, by Shannon MacFarlane

Happy Back Tips, by Irena Miller

How an Entrepreneurial Sabbatical Saved My Life, by Erin Wilson

Empowered Health – Is my Baby Allergic to my Breastmilk?, by Veronica Lamb

Back to “Real” School: Transitioning from Schooling at Home to Bricks and Mortar, by Julie Ford

 

Ready to be part of the community? Click here to join.


Your Only Competition is You October 3, 2017 09:00

We are surrounded by people we compare ourselves to. They are on social media with their frequent perfect tropical vacations. They're at church with their high-end handbags and heels. They're beside us at the starting line. They are sitting in the bleachers cheering on their child athlete. They're in Facebook groups. They're at work. They're at the grocery store. 

The problem is that we only see one sliver of their lives. We catch a glimpse. We see the carefully constructed representation of reality. We see the perfection.

We don't, however, always see the struggles, the challenges, and the failures. We don't see the profit statement. We don't see the hard work. We don't see the years of hard-won experiences and trials.

So why do we compare?

Friend, your only competitor is you.

Put the blinders on when it comes to others. They are a distraction that will hold you back from achieving your goals and dreams. Believe enough in yourself to look only at yourself.

Even if someone else has your same job title, he is not you. He can't do the job the same way you can. He doesn't have exactly the same background, experiences, and strengths. So don't doubt yourself.

Complement each other, rather than compete with each other.

Fill in each other's gaps, and utilize each other's strengths. Make referrals to others who do what you cannot. Hone your own skills.

This is your race to run, and you are your only competition.

 

Get support and encouragement from others in our Communicate to Connect community on Facebook! Click here to join.


The One Word to Avoid When Apologizing September 26, 2017 09:00

It's inevitable that we'll wrong someone at some point. We'll say the wrong thing, react with anger, or hurt someone's feelings.

When it happens, how we handle it matters.

The best way is with an apology. 

A heartfelt apology can go a long way toward restoring the relationship. Unfortunately, many times apologies are muddled by one word: but.

When apologizing, it's important to allow the apology to stand alone. 

I'm sorry. 

"I'm sorry" should be the full statement. It shouldn't be "I'm sorry, but..."

When it's followed by the word "but" the apology is diminished. Adding "but" adds an excuse or tries to place blame elsewhere. Instead of adding "but," just take full responsibility. Be humble enough to simply say, "I'm sorry."

That one simple statement means everything.


The First Five Minutes September 19, 2017 09:00

 

The first five minutes are the most important of any speech. It's during those few minutes that you, as the speaker, have the opportunity to connect with your audience and keep their attention for the rest of your speech.

Or not.

Those five minutes can make you or break you.

Don't waste those precious minutes thanking the lunch crew or host. Don't waste those five minutes reiterating your introduction.

Don't waste those minutes with fluff.

Instead, fill those minutes with a powerful story, a thought-provoking question, or a stunning statistic. 

Start strong in those initial minutes. You only have one chance to make a first impression. Grab your audience's attention, and keep it.

To that end, it's important that you have rehearsed your first five minutes many times. You don't want to be grappling with it when you get on stage. You don't want to go off on a tangent, stumble over your words, or search for the right words.

Know your beginning, practice it until it's second nature, and use it to your advantage.

 

Let's work on your first five minutes together! Click here to see all the ways we can work together.


You Need to Unplug September 12, 2017 09:00

You Need to Unplug

Our family went away on vacation earlier this summer. We were unplugged from our electronic devices, and it was absolutely wonderful. Before you dismiss this idea and say you could never unplug, please know that you can. 

And you need to.

Unplugging while on vacation required some work on our part before we went. Neither Ryan nor I could just leave town without prepping some things ahead of time. We had work projects to complete, articles to write and schedule in advance, autoresponders to turn on, and social media posts to create and schedule. Once all that was in place, our work ran smoothly in our absence.

It was important to us to be fully present with our family while on this vacation, so we did the necessary work ahead of time. We wanted to be in the moment. We wanted to look into our kids' eyes rather than into a screen. We needed to be rid of that gut knot that sometimes develops due to emails from unhappy customers, "urgent" text messages, or comparing ourselves to friends and family on social media.

Because we were unplugged, we relaxed. We shut off the notifications and endless buzzing and dinging. We talked to each other. We talked to our kids. We experienced the moments without distraction. We grew closer to each other by taking a break from business, work, and obligations.

Obviously, we can't do that all the time. Responsibilities don't disappear. I get that. But it sure was heavenly to take a break from all of that for awhile. We came home mentally rejuvenated and relaxed. The prep work beforehand was well worth it.

When was the last time you unplugged?