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"Speak for Yourself" - Karen's Short & Pithy Quarterly Newsletter

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By Karen Cortell Reisman

You are standing near the stage and your name is called, after a great introduction some power person shared with your expectant audience.


Your Chief Info Security VP has just handed the baton to you at your corporate quarterly town hall meeting with 200 senior execs.


Your employees have gathered for your annual retreat and you are about to open the two-day event with a State of the Union upbeat message.

In all three scenarios you're freaking out and no one really knows how miserable these speeches make you.

We have worked with many executives on this issue. These three hypothetical examples are true stories.

Here is your secret weapon to minimizing your performance anxiety when all eyes are on YOU:

Begin by deflecting the attention so that all eyes are NOT on you.


  1. Ask for a round of applause for the meeting organizers. Bring them on stage. Acknowledging others creates much good will and takes the pressure away from you at the start.
  2. Ask everyone to stand and do an icebreaker exercise. No - this doesn't have to be some dumb "role playing" thing that has no relevance for your meeting. Refer to Ed Scannell's books on great exercises -
  3. Do a poll with your audience: "How many of you watched the NBA game last night?" "How many of you saw the movie "Wonder Woman"? Here's the deal when you go this route - these questions must relate to your message and you need to do a fun guestimate with their responses like, "Ahhhh - I see we have about 42% who saw this game" or "Looks like 59% have seen this movie." And then tell them why you asked.

In all of these examples you are giving yourself the gift of time on the stage before you begin your presentation. You have also engaged your crowd (always good). And you have increased the energy in the room, including your own.

Take this stealth method to the bank. It works. For now, take this secret to your next big event.

Most Popular Speak For Yourself® Blog Posts this Quarter:

5 Reasons Your Emails Get Deleted

Gestures That Convey Confidence in a Presentation

How To Tell a Story - Use this Formula

Contact Karen's Office:

(972) 490-8676



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