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Tag: public speaking

Speaker Spotlight: Sarah Humes

Speaker Spotlight: Sarah Humes

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

 

Speaker Spotlight: Sarah Humes

Don't Use Slides for Your Speech (But if You Must, Here's How)

Don't Use Slides for Your Speech (But if You Must, Here's How)

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

Speaker Spotlight: Sasha Gray

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

 

Sasha Gray, Scattered Sasha

How to Choose the Best Speaking Formats for You

How to Choose the Best Speaking Formats for You

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

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?

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

 

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 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.

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 www.mompowerment.com.

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!

Easy Tips for Getting Started with Facebook Live

Easy Tips for Getting Started with Facebook Live

[This article contains affiliate links, meaning we earn a commission for purchases made through those links.]

Facebook Live may seem a little daunting to you, but as a business owner you need it. It provides exposure, connection, engagement, and that “know, like, and trust” factor we all need in business. (Still not sure you need Facebook Live to grow your business? Click here for a quick video that explains exactly why you do!) Once you’ve gone Live a handful of times, you’ll feel more comfortable and confident with Facebook Live. After awhile, it will be “old hat,” and you’ll wonder why you were ever nervous about it to begin with.

Start with a pre-Live checklist. List all the things you need to have in place before going Live, so you don’t forget anything. Having a list that’s easily accessible is key. You’ll feel more prepared when you know you’re ready after putting a checkmark in each box. Don't forget things like putting your phone on "do not disturb," putting up a stop sign on your office door, and testing your equipment.

Equip yourself. Make sure you have the proper lighting, and a tripod to hold your phone. Check that your phone is positioned in a flattering angle. Need a tripod or lighting? Here is what we recommend (affiliate links): 

Prepare. Don’t write a script. Don’t memorize anything. But definitely craft an outline. Keep it simple, with an intro, a few bulletpoints, and a call-to-action. Having an outline ensures that you won’t go off on a tangent or forget to mention something important. Keep it simple. 3-5 bulletpoints is plenty for one Facebook Live.

Practice. Practicing Facebook Live is not so that you become perfect at it. Facebook Live is meant to be conversational and casual, so there is no need to practice ad nauseam. Just try it a few times in a private Facebook group, one where you’re the only member, so that you get the feel of it. Once you’ve gone Live a few times without an audience, you’ll be ready to go Live with actual viewers.

Then do it. Schedule your Facebook Live on your calendar so you know when you’re doing it. Announce it on your page or in your group in advance so you have that accountability to follow through on it. You’ve got this!

 

For ongoing support and communication resources, join our Speaking Society by clicking here.