Thoughts & Observations

Thank You Michelle: Early Lessons in Public Speaking

Every time I arrive at a conference center, an auditorium, a television station, or wherever it is I’m about to speak in public, I always think of Michelle. In my previous career, Michelle managed PR and marketing for our organization, and helped me through my first live television appearances and my biggest moments on stage in front of a crowd.

I thought about Michelle Friday morning as I took my seat on a panel…and dutifully removed my conference name tag (something she would have run up and whispered in my ear for me to do had a I forgotten).

To me, the fact that I remember these things isn’t just because they are good tips – it’s because of where they came from. I feel lucky to have worked with many people who cared enough to always want to get it right – and who have cared enough about me to help me do the same. The reciprocity of kindness and caring is powerful.

Thanks Michelle, for teaching me these things and so much more:

  1. Take off your name tag. Even if the conference organizers gave you a nice name tag, no one can read it from the audience and it ends up looking funky in photos (especially if its crooked). Since you’re the speaker, most people will know who you are anyway (and have the time they’ve also got your name up on a screen). 
  2. Check your teeth. It sucks to walk off stage and head to the bathroom only to find that you had a giant piece of spinach stuck on your tooth. You can do this in advance in the bathroom, but you can also keep a mirror in your purse or you can if you have an iPhone you can do the trick of flipping the camera as if you are going to take a photo of yourself and check your teeth in the camera.
  3. Don’t put your bottled water on top of the podium or table. People will probably be taking photos. If you want some good, solid shots of you speaking, you don’t need to also need to be a product placement ad for Poland Spring.
  4. Arrive made up the way you want to look. It never hurts to show up ready to go on t.v. or on stage, even if they end up having someone there to do some touch ups of your makeup. And throw a lipstick, some powder and whatever else you need in our bag just in case.
  5. If you’re being interviewed on camera, ask where you should look. Sometimes you’re supposed to look at the camera and sometimes at the interviewer, and it can look strange if you end up glancing back and forth, not sure where to focus.

Thanks Michelle!

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2 thoughts on “Thank You Michelle: Early Lessons in Public Speaking

  1. Michelle

    Ahhhhhh….I just thought to swing by and catch up on my much-need Jessica inspiration blog posts and found this. MISS YOU LIKE CRAZY!!!!!!!

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