On the Air


Here’s something a little different: a radio interview with my good friend, L. Jaye Bell. I was delighted to be L. Jaye’s first guest in 2013 on her program Destination Maine. I hope you’ll enjoy listening. I see it’s not showing up as a link, so please copy and paste it!


Best wishes for a productive and stretching year ahead,



This video makes me smile.

As you watch it, you might ask yourself a few questions:

Are these people doing what they’re doing “perfectly” or are they willing simply to do it and have a good time?

Are they polished, flawless and impressive? Or happy, free and focussed?

Do they appear to worry about what people think of them?

If they make a mistake, do they look fretful or do they just move forward and get on with the dance?

Can you approach your next presentation with the same openness and joy these people embrace?

(Answer: yes, you can.)

What have you done lately that expresses freedom, confidence and connection?

Stick the landing

What message from years of training do you suppose inspires an Olympic athlete about to complete a routine before the crowd goes wild with delight?

“Stick the landing!”

No matter how the performance has gone thus far, the final moment is vital. Stick the landing! Make it solid, strong, secure. Express the best stance. Look outward and upward. Give your audience that final impression of completeness. Hold that pose with focus and energy before you leave.

As in gymnastics, so in presenting. In addition to knowing what you should do when you complete a presentation, it’s good to know what not to do. Here are some things to avoid:


Enjoy the Olympics. Enjoy speaking. And always stick the landing.

What are some ways you have found helpful when you complete your presentations to hold your listeners’ attention?

Until next time,



Umission: supporting you having a wonderful life

What an honor to have been selected as Umission’s Person of the Week.


Here’s to freedom,


“Solutionaries” — an excellent subject presented with naturalness, freedom and focus

Here is a TED talk that’s got everything good going for it:

I love the way Zoe expresses her passion for her subject with calm clarity, vision, humor, originality and assurance.

What else keeps you watching her presentation?

Until next time,


Why the papers wouldn’t stick

This weekend I’m performing as Narrator for a collection of Australian folk tales to be performed by a group of children. To make the outside of my script look cheerful, I took a glue stick and attached several colorful pieces of artwork to the front and back of the paper folder holding my script. Throughout tonight’s dress rehearsal, the glued artwork kept falling off the cover. I’d had the foresight to take the little glue stick along to the theatre, just in case a touch-up was called for, so I’d slather on some more. Smart, huh? However, the same problem kept recurring.

Imagine my surprise to hear these words from my 8-year-old daughter after rehearsal: “Mom, I’ve been trying to tell you: that’s not a glue stick; it’s sunscreen.”

No matter how careful, diligent and thorough you are, if you’re not focussed on and present with your task in the moment, all your cleverness will be in vain. For a presentation, you might do great research, practice your talk over and over, and find the perfect suit to wear the day you present. But if you didn’t note the correct date and time, or weren’t paying attention when you were told who your audience would be, you might find yourself wondering why in the world no one showed up — or why the wrong people did.

Pay attention. One moment at a time.

Here’s to glue sticks!




5 Reasons people look at you at the gym

I like this item from my friend Barbara Rocha’s blog so much, that I asked her if I could feature it in mine. You can enjoy her blog here: http://gettingoveryourself.wordpress.com/

5 Reasons people look at you at the gym 

It’s so easy to think everyone is paying attention to us, especially when we’re giving a speech. But what about at the gym? Yes, even there. But is that what they’re really doing?

These are the 5 reasons people look at you at the gym, and the first four are the most likely.

1. They’re staring into space in your direction and don’t even see you.

2. They’re really looking in the mirror at themselves.

3. They’re checking out the exercise you’re doing to see if it’s something they ought to add to their workout.

4. They’re wondering when you’ll be through with that machine.

And a very distant 5. They’re actually interested in you. In which case, make the most of it. (And even there, they’re thinking about themselves.)

So, whether you’re giving a speech or working out, it’ll be much easier once you figure out the audience is more interested in themselves than they are in you. Make the most of it. And set yourself free.

Yours in getting over yourself,


P.S. If you liked this, you’ll also like Barb’s book, Getting Over Yourself – A Guide to Painless Public Speaking . . . and More, which you can purchase directly from her: http://gettingoveryourself.com/publications/index.htm

Forgot your password?

Logging in to my System Preferences this morning, I typed my user name and password. A message proclaimed that my password was incorrect. Impossible! I typed it again. Same message. Then again: Incorrect password. “WHAT?! This cannot be! I know this password is correct.”

In fact, the password was correct. Suddenly I noticed that I had (too speedily) typed my user name improperly. Aha, there was the culprit. I straightened that out, entered the password and, voila, all was well.

Too often it’s easy to get all hung up on what’s wrong, when it’s not the thing that’s wrong at all. When you’re speaking to an audience, you might think, “Oh, yikes, there’s my supervisor, Judith, out there. I’m so nervous because she’s looking at me.” Hmm. It’s not your supervisor’s presence that’s giving you the shakes; it’s your thoughts turning inward toward yourself that are making you so uncomfortable. Just as I was thinking my password entry was misbehaving when it wasn’t, you’re letting Judith’s presence be a problem when it’s not. In fact, Judith may well be delighted with what she’s hearing you say. You need to refocus your thoughts on what matters: your audience (including Judith) and their need to hear your message. Then get on with your presentation.

Keep your eyes on what matters!





[For reasons unknown to me, I cannot get the usual spacing between paragraphs in this post. I don't like the way this looks, but here's today's offering, anyhow.]

Is it a word: um? I’ve just visited Webster’s online dictionary and see this:

Definition of UM

—used to indicate hesitation <well, um, I don’t know>
“Um” is an interjection. It doesn’t tell us what, where or how something is, give a sense of action or purpose, nor does it offer clarity. It’s a filler, a place taker, and indicates that we’re lost, confused, puzzled and most likely uncomfortable. When you use “um” a lot, people lose interest. It’s a habit well dismissed.
A pause is more effective than mindlessly “um”-ing and will help you get back on track. Rather than fill the air with “um” (or “uh,” “welllllll,” “aaaaand,” “hmm,” or “y’know”), just be still. Be quiet a second. Breathe in. Pay attention to what you want to say. Then say it. Let the “um” go away. It’s not a helpful utterance.
Start to notice “um” in your conversations and presentations. Then, pause instead before you continue speaking. You’ll feel clearer, and your listeners will follow you much more easily. I think you’ll find that you communicate much better without “um.”
Isn’t that a happy thought?