Tag: communication

Speaker Spotlight: Robin Walker

Speaker Spotlight: Robin Walker

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?


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:



Facebook Group:


No Train Wrecks: How to Properly End Your Speech

No Train Wrecks: How to Properly End Your Speech

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 talk about all the ways we can work together.

The Best of the Best

The Best of the Best

Our 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. 


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 our newest community, the Speaking Society? Click here to join.

Your Only Competition is You

Your Only Competition is You

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 Speaking Society! Click here to join.

The First Five Minutes

The First Five Minutes

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 talk about all the ways we can work together.

You Need to Unplug

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?

What I Learned From Doing a Ted Talk

What I Learned From Doing a Ted Talk

By Suzanne Brown


And the Planning Begins

I hung up the phone, feeling both ecstatic and terrified. I had just finished a call with the director of TEDxSMU. I was confirmed to give a talk about a holistic look at why It’s Time to Create Professional Part-time Opportunities for Working Mom at the TEDxSMU Women’s Conference (2016). It was the end of June and the event was at the end of October. I had 4 months to figure out my talk while finishing up the interviews for my book (and still do client work, be the default parent, take care of the household duties, try to maintain a relationship with my husband, all in less than 20 hours per week for the summer months).

The next few months flew by. I hired a friend to coach me, helping me find the right words and the right presence on the stage. And I practiced a lot. A few weeks out from the conference, I worked for a few hours each day on something related to the talk.

TED Talks Are Different

I’m not new to public speaking. I’ve been doing some form of speaking in front of an audience since early on in my 18+ year career. I’ve spoken in front of small groups (10 or less) and large audiences, whether a presentation, seminar, panel, or speech. I’ve spoken on panels and done speeches in front of hundreds, but there were others with me or there was a podium. It can be comfortable to have that podium to hide safely behind. Presentations are easy because you have slides. And I can speak to slides all day long, even with limited words or visuals on a screen, because I usually know my content well.

A TED talk is different. You’re sharing stories, ideas, advice, or something that is new or unique. You’re talking about a new topic or a unique perspective on an often talked about topic. You’re passionate or an expert in this topic. And it’s you and your audience. You have a mic and you’re on the stage. No podium. No notes. Limited slides with limited information. That’s it.

If you’re interested in doing a TED talk, I have some advice for you to consider, based on my own experience:

1. Preparation is integral for a TED talk.

  • Understand your motivation for doing the talk. How does it fit into your overall brand and marketing plan? For me the idea behind the talk was to introduce the topic that I was writing about. Essentially, the TED talk set up why my book topic is important. I looked at the two together, not as separate elements of my branding and marketing strategy.
  • Practice a lot. Include hand gestures and how you’d like to move around as you’re practicing. You want these things to become second nature.
  • Don’t have a memorized talk. I wrote out my talk so that I knew what I wanted to say. I never said it exactly the same way two times in the row, but it helped to have it written out so that I knew the talk well. The day of the event I was told I had to cut 4 minutes from my talk. I had practiced it over and over and it was just shy of 17 minutes. All of a sudden on the day of, it couldn’t be over 13. I had to know what I could cut while doing my talk because I was the first speaker of the day. That required me knowing what I wanted to say incredibly well. I quickly had to decide what was most important and what I thought would most resonate with the audience.

 2. There are things to consider the day of that can help with your talk:

  • Get to your happy place. You want to be in the right mindset for your talk. Figure out what that is and what will get you there. For the day of, I wanted to be calm and focused. I stay calm by doing deep breathing. I also made sure to get in an early morning workout to help with the butterflies. I had all kinds of things go wrong that morning before getting to the conference, but none of it mattered on that stage. Make sure you know how to go to your happy place before you walk on the stage too. I took a few deep breaths and I was ready to go. 
  • Water beforehand might help. If you get dry mouth when you talk for long periods of time, that dry mouth sound can clearly be heard through the mic because it’s really close to your mouth. You can’t take water with you, so drink water for 15 minutes before you go on stage. Make sure you have an empty bladder, though, before you do this.
  • Speak louder to combat nervousness. If you continue to feel nervous while doing your talk, speak louder, even though you’re mic’ed. You are probably speaking too softly from being nervous and focusing on your volume will remove the focus from being nervous. Plus, there is usually a team managing the mic and video that can adjust the volume if you’re talking too loud.
  • Breathe. You are on stage for 4 to 18 minutes (usual length for most TED talks). You must breathe during your talk or you’ll run out of air and sound breathless. That breathless sound might not make you seem the most confident in your talk.
  • Slow down. Chances are, you’re probably going to feel nervous. Most people speed up when they’re nervous on stage. Slow down and keep an even pace, unless it makes sense in your talk to speed up at times.
  • Get a picture on the stage with your camera. Ask someone to take a picture with your camera (likely your phone). You want someone toward the front of the audience. You can easily get another speaker to do it if you don’t know anyone in the audience. Get them to take more than one picture, so that the only one isn’t with your mouth opened or your eyes closed. And have the camera zoomed in at least a bit if the person is close to the stage or zoomed in all the way if they’re far back.
  • Connect with people at the event. Be open to conversation because strangers will share their stories with you, if you make yourself available. You’ll hear how people connected with what you said. You might even get ideas on things to change or add the next time you cover the same or a similar topic.
  • Connect with other speakers. Set up time, while at the event, to chat with other speakers or attendees from the event. Have your phone with you, so that you can easily access your calendar. I wish I had done more of this.

 3. After the talk is important, too.

  • Share soon after the event. Tell people on social media that you did the talk and show your enthusiasm before the video is up. Talk about the event itself.
  • Follow up. If you connected with people at the event, especially if you seemed to make a true connection, follow up with them. Mention something you connected over. Try to reach out to them over time to keep that connection going.
  • Promote your video. When the video is posted, promote it everywhere. And do that right after it’s posted. Share on social media, on your blog, in conversations, when you’re on podcasts, and on your resume or LinkedIn profile. How you talk about it will change, based on the marketing vehicle. Let it become part of your story. Share, share, share!

So, what will your TED talk be about? Not ready to do a talk? What’s holding you back?


Suzanne BrownSuzanne Brown is a strategic marketing and business consultant, advocate for professional part-time working moms, TEDx speaker, thought provoker, and international travel enthusiast. Most importantly, she is wife to a supportive husband and mother to two active young boys. Suzanne’s current passion project is empowering moms to think differently about their career approach and providing a how-to in her book, which will launch in September. She interviewed more than 110 professional part-time working moms and sprinkles their stories, insights, and advice throughout her book. Follow her reflections on all things related to being a professional part-time working mom and get updates on her book launch at

Stop Speaking. Start Serving.

Stop Speaking. Start Serving.

If you agree to speak at a conference, you're not a speaker. You're a server.

There's a huge difference. 

If you're speaking in an attempt to get your name in lights, demand authority, or gain popularity, your heart is in the wrong place. And your audience will see right through you.

Your audience can sense your motives. They'll know if you're there for them, or if you're there for you.

Arrive early, and stay late when you can. Mingle and get to know people. Invest your time and talents. Help people feel welcome and comfortable. Ask them questions, and get to know them. Go above and beyond.

For real. Not just to sell them something.

Speaking is a privilege and should be treated as such. It shouldn't matter whether you get keynote designation, or if you're leading a small breakout. Either way, your job is to make a difference. Your job is to teach something. Your job is to inspire others to implement what you've taught.

Your audience should leave the room better than they were when they arrived.

Take the focus off of you and put it on your audience. Get to know them. Find out their fears, dreams, and goals. Find out what holds them back. Research and prepare weeks in advance. Give them your absolute best.

It's not about you. It's about them.

Every single time.

A spotlight is not the goal. Improving the lives of your audience is.

Serve your audience.


Are you working on a speech? Need some help? Click here to talk about all the ways I can help!

Why You Need to Use Facebook Live to Grow Your Business

Why You Need to Use Facebook Live to Grow Your Business

We're hearing it everywhere... Facebook Live is powerful. You need it for that "know, like, and trust" factor. Facebook itself loves Facebook Live. It's great for engagement.

Are you using Facebook Live?

If you're still on the fence about jumping in, you have to watch this short video by Maria Page:



Are you convinced yet? If you're ready to get started with Facebook Live, head over to our Speaking Society and join for resources, encouragement, and Live trainings! Click here to check it out.

3 Tips for Talking About Difficult Topics

3 Tips for Talking About Difficult Topics

No one wants to talk about painful subjects. We don't like to feel that awkward gut knot that develops when we're dreading a certain conversation. We need to do it, though, and it doesn't have to be totally horrible. Following these tips may make it a little easier:

1. Narrow it down to a couple points. Difficult topics require planning. Don't just jump right in without thinking it through first. Weed through all your thoughts and boil them down to 2-3 main points to discuss. Having a very brief mental outline will help you stay on track and choose the best wording for the conversation. If you don't narrow it down to a few points, the conversation will quickly turn into verbal vomit. 

2. Choose the best time. Be picky about when the conversation takes place. Plan ahead for it. Don't talk about something difficult after a bad day at work or when the kids are screaming and running through the room. Select a time that is fairly peaceful, and without distractions. It's tempting to just jump right in when the mood strikes, especially if you're angry, but that won't yield the best results.

3. Keep calm. Getting emotionally charged will not help. Lay out your points calmly and kindly. Even difficult conversations can, and should, be respectful. There is no need for yelling or name-calling, which will only make the situation worse. Prepare ahead of time so you can remain calm during the conversation. Be sure to listen when it's your turn for that, too. Consider the other person's viewpoints.

Not every confrontation needs to turn into a knock-down-drag-out. Following the tips listed above will help you keep calm and talk it out.