Public Speaking–5 Ways to Ditch Your Fear for Good

In many surveys over the years, people have ranked the fear of public speaking as worse than the fear of dying!  Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, networking for your business is going to involve public speaking.  You may find yourself giving a sixty-second elevator pitch at a networking meeting, a ten-minute presentation at a chamber function, or a forty-minute educational presentation to a prospect.


Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /


The following 5 strategies are my top tips to help you lose your fear of public speaking and start winning over your audiences with confidence.

1) Prepare, prepare, prepare!  Don’t wing it!  Prepare an outline of what you want to say and practice it.  Use note cards, or type your remarks out on a piece of paper.  (Print with large handwriting or type in a large font–make it ridiculously easy to read so you don’t lose your place in the paragraph.)  Don’t over-prepare though; this can just lead to more anxiety.

2)  Be specific and talk about the things you know best.  At networking meetings, don’t try to teach people everything you do in one short pitch.  Think in terms of teaching the audience something of significance.  Focus on just one or two areas of your business–the topics you feel you understand best.  This will increase your comfort level and reduce stress.

3)  Use handouts, visuals, or PowerPoint slides to support your presentation.  If you’re worried about stage fright, props such as books, slides, handouts, or gadgets will help you keep your mind on your topic, add a special element of interest to your presentation, and give the audience something to concentrate on besides you.  PowerPoint can be a great tool, but it becomes a noticeable crutch if you fall into the trap of reading from the slides.  PowerPoint should support your presentation, not be your presentation.  Read a few of the many books and articles available about how to effectively use PowerPoint.

4) Remember, you’re the expert.  It’s true.  In the eyes of the audience, you are the expert and they want to hear what you have to say.  They’re eager to learn something from you.  If you focus on what you know best, you will feel more confident and be more credible.  Believe in yourself and in your message.

5)  Be creative.  Find a way to communicate that makes you comfortable.  Instead of talking to a group, engage them in conversation; or start with Q & A, and then answer at length.  Don’t be afraid to be different.  Surprise your audience.  Walk around the stage or up into the seats.  People get tired of the same old approach and are invigorated by something unexpected.  Have fun with your message; it will help you turn your nervous energy into positive energy.  The audience will feel it and radiate it back to you, and before you know it, your anxiety is gone.

Here’s the deal . . . you can’t get better at something if you never practice it and the best time to start practicing is now.  So, start this coming week off by looking for opportunities to practice the above tips.  If you’re nervous, start small with your one-minute elevator pitch.  Make it a point to fill the entire minute exactly.  Work up to five-minute and ten-minute talks as you gain confidence.  When you feel ready, look for an opportunity to make a lunchtime educational presentation.  The program chairs of many associations and membership organizations are always on the lookout for speakers.  Position yourself as the expert; enjoy the satisfaction of educating other people.  When you remember to apply the tips in this strategy, we feel confident that it will alleviate much of your speaking anxiety.  One final thought: It’s good to be a little nervous.  Just convert that into positive energy, and you’ll have the audience in the palm of your hand.

I’m really interested in getting some feedback from all of you reading this blog, so please respond in the comment forum below to any or all of the following questions–and/or offer any thoughts related to overcoming the fear of public speaking. Thanks so much!

  • On a scale of 1 — 10,  1 being “not really afraid” and 10 being “more afraid than death,” how afraid would you say you are of public speaking?
  • What mental and physical manifestations of fear and anxiety do you experience when faced with having to speak in public?
  • What tools/strategies/tactics have you personally found to be helpful and effective in managing your fear of public speaking.  Alternately, what tools/strategies/tactics have you found to be useless or ineffective?

Work in Your Flame

In this video, I explain why I equate the phrase ‘working in your flame’ with being in business and loving what you’re doing, and the phrase ‘working in your wax’ with being in business and really not liking or enjoying what you’re doing.

I also offer some key advice on how to find ways to work more in your flame and less in your wax, and share what it is I, myself, do that allows me to work in my flame.

Watch the video now to learn how to take small yet significant steps in your journey toward truly loving what you do for a living!  What does working in your flame mean for you?  What is it you do in your chosen profession that you truly love?  Likewise, what is it you do that causes you to work in your wax and how might you delegate those tasks to another employee who might actually enjoy those same tasks?  I’d love to get your feedback on this–thanks!

Balance: Illusive and Elusive

When we hear the term “work-life balance” we think about trying to spend an equal amount of time in all areas of our life.  The problem with that is that almost no entrepreneur can actually achieve that. While life can’t be fully in balance, it is possible to create a life that is in harmony with your vision.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Here are some simple techniques:

  • Wherever you are – be there. If you are at work, don’t be thinking about the time you didn’t spend with the family the night before, or what you should be doing with your “significant other” right now. When you are at home, don’t be thinking about the work you have to do at the office.
  • Be creative (about how you manage your time). If you have a big project at work that has to be done and you want to spend time with the family one evening – get creative. I used to spend the evening with the family and when everyone went to bed, I sat down to write my first book.  I finished the book without taking any time away from the family.
  • Integrate various elements of your life.  For many years I spent a couple weeks or more working remotely from my lake house. Now, I bring my staff and management team for short retreat/work days. The last week, I take off completely and spend time with the family. By integrating the two worlds I create a sense of harmony.
  • Practice “letting go” and “holding on.” Contrary to popular belief, I do not think it is possible to “have it all.”  Unfortunately, life involves making choices. Practice understanding what things to say “no” to and then letting go of them. At the same time think about the things that are truly important in your life and hold on to them with all your might.

What are some of the things you do to create harmony in your life?  I’d love to hear your thoughts so please share your ideas/tactics in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

What Good Is Knowledge If You Aren’t Applying It?

Networking is simple; it’s just not easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it and do it well… and people don’t! This is not a blog piece about the step-by-step process you need to employ to network effectively. No, this is more meant to get you to stop and think about all the articles, books, blogs, podcasts and audios that you have read or listened to yet aren’t following through on in regard to what you learned. This is a post aimed at helping you to discover what you should be doing rather than focusing on what you know (or should know).

I do presentations around the world talking about how to apply networking to your everyday life. Sometimes I have someone come up to me and say, “I’ve heard people talk about some of those things before.”  Hearing it for a year versus doing it for a year are completely different things. Success is about the “doing,” not just the “knowing.” In fact, I believe that ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice! The only thing more powerful is knowledge on fire.


There are so many things in life that look simple but are, in fact, not easy. Cooking is one of those for me. It always looks so simple. My wife can go into the kitchen and put a gourmet meal together in 30 to 40 minutes. Then I get into the kitchen and burn water.

Small repairs around the house–these things look so simple. Then I pick up a hammer and, well, it’s just not pretty. That’s when I’m reminded that I’m missing the “handyman gene.” It skips a generation in my family. My dad can fix anything. He’s incredibly capable with a toolbox. I’m not. When I was 17 he brought me into the garage and solemnly said to me, “Son, you’d better go to college, because you’re never going to make a living with your hands!” Good advice, Dad—thanks.

Golf. Looks simple, right? I’m not talking about professional competition, I mean just going out and smacking the ball around some grass. Looks simple. I’ve learned however, that it’s not easy.

There are so many things in our lives that look simple but are not easy. Networking is one of them. It’s a skill; a skill that takes commitment and effort to learn and apply consistently.

So I’m giving you an assignment (sorry, my inner professor is coming out). Your assignment after reading this blog today is to think of one idea in a book, article, recording–anything–that you’ve read or heard over the past year or so that you wanted to apply to your life but never got around to doing. Your assignment is to find that article, locate that “something” you wanted to do and do it within the next seven days. If it’s something you do on an ongoing basis, then find a way to incorporate it into your life and/or your business. All excuses are equal – just do it.  Also, please feel free to share the knowledge source (e.g., book, article, etc.) you chose to focus on in the comment forum below.  The only thing better than applying knowledge is sharing it.

Success is the uncommon application of common knowledge. You have the knowledge. Now apply it with uncommon commitment. It won’t be easy. But I assure you it’s simple.

Wealth Dynamics with Roger Hamilton

At a recent TLC Conference in Cancun, Mexico, I had the opportunity to talk with wealth expert Roger Hamilton to discuss the Wealth Dynamics system which Roger created to help entrepreneurs achieve ultimate success.  I took the Wealth Dynamics profile test myself and found out my wealth profile is that of a “Supporter,” which I found quite surprising yet very informative, helpful, and enlightening.

In this video, Roger explains how the Wealth Dynamics program can specifically help people who want to build their business through a referral-based marketing program.  Watch the video now to learn about how everyone is different in the way they form connections and how the Wealth Dynamics program can teach you to identify your best way of connecting with others through understanding your individual connection style, and also through pinpointing and understanding how other individuals would like to connect with you.

For more information on Wealth Dynamics, please visit where you’ll find a complete explanation of the eight different Wealth Dynamics profiles and more.  If you take the test, I’d love for you to come back and share your results and what you learned from them in the comment forum below. Thanks!

How to Achieve Optimum Career Performance & Enjoy Retirement

At a recent TLC conference in Mexico, I had the opportunity to talk to my good friend Eric Edmeades, one of the world’s leading experts in entrepreneurship, about his take on the one thing entrepreneurs need to nurture in order to achieve phenomenal success and to be able to actually enjoy their retirement once they enter into it.

What is that one thing? . . . Watch the video to find out.  I will tell you that if you don’t have it, your brain will not be capable of functioning at full capacity and it will be very difficult to achieve lasting success.  Also, you won’t be fully able to enjoy the retirement you worked so hard for when that stage of your life finally arrives.

Once you’ve watched the video, I highly encourage you to help out the community of blog readers on by sharing one of the most effective things you do to nurture the area of your life that is so crucial to succeeding and thriving throughout your career and ultimately making the most of your retirement years.  Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment forum below–thanks!



Vitality + Health = Greater Success in Business

As this is a blog about business and networking, you may be wondering why some of my recent blogs have seemed to have a fairly apparent focus on health.  I think the video I’m sharing with you today should answer that question for those of you who may wondering.  Over the past couple of years, I have indeed become quite an advocate of the importance of health in regard to achieving success and there is good reason behind that.

In this short video, I talk with my good friend Lise Janelle, renowned success coach for companies & entrepreneurs across the world, about the role that vitality and health play in achieving ultimate productivity and success in business.

Lise offers three keys to achieving vitality and explains why it is important not only for business owners, but also for all of their employees, to focus on staying healthy and engaged in order for any given business to truly thrive.

After watching the video, if you’d like to find out more about Lise Janelle and how she helps businesses and people alike to achieve their full potential, please visit

To find out more about the book I mention in the video, The Misner Plan: How We Healed Cancer Naturally with Food, Nutrition, and Healthy Living , please click here.  If you’d like to learn more about the Misner Plan, please visit

Do you have certain habits and/or tactics you employ to stay healthy?  Do you  have specific ways of making sure you stay connected to your core values?  I’m really interested in hearing your thoughts on this and, also, if you have questions pertaining to this topic, I highly encourage you to ask them!  I am more than happy to do a future blog addressing your questions and to consult with Lise about them in order to get you the best answers possible.


Adversity and Risk Taking

One law of human nature is to want more–more horsepower, more serenity, more intimacy, more money, more power, more life.  But getting more is often an uncomfortable business.  To reach the juiciest apples, we have to climb high, reach out, and risk falling off the ladder.  Such risk taking tends to be uncomfortable–physically, financially, socially, especially emotionally.  We spend a lot of time feeling awkward, inept, out of our element.  Terror and exhilaration dance a reckless tango on our nerves.

Reaching for more takes learning, and learning makes us feel like children again, with all the excitement, wonder, and fear that spiced our earliest years.  And it’s not what we’re learning, it’s where we’re starting from and how far we’re trying to reach that make the difference.  Learning is relative.  The experience of a paraplegic rediscovering the complexities of walking is as intense as that of a teenager learning to drive, a downhill skier learning to snowboard the half-pipe, a manicurist learning to run their own shop.  What is routine for one is unimaginable success for another.

In learning, we all start from adversity.  We don’t make enough money, can’t stand our job, don’t know enough, can’t climb the mountain.  Adversity may creep into our awareness as dissatisfaction, a natural manifestation of personal growth, or it may be forced on us by accident or catastrophic illness.  Whatever the case, we desire intensely to move from adversity to triumph.  And in moving, we encounter new ideas, learn new skills, acquire new beliefs, adopt new attitudes.  We face down adversity and stretch ourselves toward success.  We improve.

To improve, we must weigh the desired end against the pain of getting there.  No risk, no gain.  If we opt for comfort and ease, we forgo the rewards of accomplishment.  But if we take to heart what professional athletes are taught and “do something every day that scares you a little,” we stretch our boundaries and move into new territory.  We gain in self-confidence, which makes it easier to push back the limits and tackle bigger challenges.  We convert nervous energy–the jitters–into kinetic energy.  We become unstoppable.

Do you have a story about how you took a risk or faced adversity in order to grow?  If so, I’d love for you to share it in the comment forum below.  You never know who you’ll inspire . . .





Leverage Your Achievements to Heighten Your Success

Success may be a lasting accomplishment, but the thrill of success is transitory; much of the joy is the journey.  Once it’s over, we begin to wonder, “What’s next?”  This feeling of emptiness cues us to step up and get ready for the next level because success goes on as long as we keep building new steps.  We graduate from one level and, equipped with what we’ve learned, go on to new accomplishments in the next.  Each accomplishment becomes something we can stand on to reach higher.  We can leverage our success.

Small successes can add up to major leverage.  Each experience, each skill learned or honed, each new technology adopted multiplies the results of our efforts.  The achievements leveraged can be our own, or those of other contributors in a team effort.  Those who work alone against tall odds to accomplish what others might consider mundane achievements often end up amassing powerful capabilities.  However they are combined, the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts if used to full effect.

The resources we find most useful as levers depend on both our immediate and our long-term goals.  Many are specialized, closely identified with a particular field or profession or industry.  Trial lawyers, politicians, and motivational speakers cultivate forensic skills, the ability to sway audiences.  This is a vital resource that can be transferred from one project to another, even in different fields.  The same goes for marketing skills, management expertise, and most leadership skills.  The more success we have achieved, the more easily we can apply these resources toward achieving new ends.

As a lever, success is also portable to others.  We can use it not only to help ourselves reach our own goals but to also help our associates, friends, colleagues, family members, even worthy strangers reach their goals.  Success contains many valuable and transferable components: experience, skills, wisdom, insight, confidence, enthusiasm, energy, money, reputation, sometimes just the outsize influence of fame.  These assets can be mobilized in pursuit of different ends, including the needs of others.  All that is necessary is to choose a worthy goal and turn the momentum of success in a new direction.

Networking is a structured system for leveraging success and thereby sharing its benefits.  Helping others achieve their goals not only leverages a person’s success for the benefit of others, but also brings the leverage full circle: what goes around comes around.  Although it springs from an initial good given without expectation of recompense, an altruistic act for a network contact accrues social capital.  The benefits provided eventually come back to the giver.

The ultimate leveraging of success is the philanthropy of those whose accomplishments have made them rich and who look for ways to give back to individuals who have helped them and to the community that nurtured their success.  Their rewards come not in the form of superfluous money or fame but in the prosperity of those they help and in the goodwill and approval of the community.  This is success of a whole new order–social immortality.

No matter where you are in your success journey, it’s important to remember that the joy really is in the journey There will be plenty of times when we not only don’t immediately achieve the success we’re aiming for, we actually end up completely failing at what we were trying to do; and that’s when it’s crucial to keep in mind what Henry Ford once said–“Failure is the opportunity to begin again intelligently.”  In other words, the experience we get in our journey to success is truly invaluable and that experience is what will end up fueling our greatest successes.

Success is a topic that has so many different aspects and perspectives to it and I’d really, really like to hear the thoughts you have as a result of reading this blog post.  Whether you have a story about your journey to success, what success means to you, the experience you’ve gotten/success you ultimately achieved from a past “failure,” or how you’ve leveraged your success to help others, I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comment forum below.  Thanks in advance for your input and I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Selling Goals vs. Life Goals (Pssst…They’re Related!)

I can almost hear the groans now . . . “Another discussion about goal setting?–How boring!”  Well, boredom comes from repetition, and without repetition, masterful achievement is not possible.  Reading more, practicing more, and understanding more about goals bring this part of selling into a normal daily routine where it motivates and guides those who are masters in the field of sales.

Our lives are directed and pulled by conscious and subconscious desires, which when aggregated become our future vision.  This vision (whether to lose 25 pounds and be athletic or to consistently earn $10,000 commissions and be wealthy) is directed by our destination goals, but the more finite process goals help us get there.  Treat each daily detail as an important process goal to achieve, and indeed these small ones will accumulate so that ultimately our larger vision becomes our reality.  It is easy to derail our dreams by self doubt, other people, and external events, so the only way to keep the vision alive is to transform it into tangible, goal-directed behavior.

Most goal-implementation plans require getting other people enrolled in our personal program.  This is where person-to-person selling comes into the picture.  In this instance, selling means convincing other people to give us something they have in return for something we possess.  In a traditional view of selling, the buyer exchanges her money for our product.  But in the real world, every person sells continually–whether ourselves on a first date, our beliefs, or our knowledge.  If we sell successfully, we might achieve a goal of having an enjoyable evening date, public  recognition, or personal satisfaction as a return from our effort.

Setting the right environment to complete a sales transaction might include bringing flowers on the first date or artfully crafting a storefront window to allow those walking by a glimpse of the buying opportunities to be found inside the shop.  The sales trainer might say, “Your goal is to create an environment (a stage) that causes your customer to feel like a VIP taking delivery on his Rolls Royce.”  The sales process is a very social activity, one that creatively mixes the buyer’s goal of owning a solution with the seller’s complex goal of meeting company targets, earning an income, and personally helping the customer.  Learning this craft of goal satisfaction is never ending and forever challenges the master seller.

While I was working on the book Masters of Sales, a woman named Joan Fletcher wrote me and told me a noteworthy story about a very successful young salesman.  In spite of his sales awards, his corner office, and charismatic charm, he still felt he was just scraping the surface of success . . .

Even though dutifully creating written goals, his level of self satisfaction was low; until he realized that the big picture was not just about how much money he earned, or the big house, or the number of sales he hoped to close.  The big picture was his vision about what he truly wanted to achieve in all combined areas of his life.  Once he discovered this realization, his renewed selling accomplishments became directly tied to setting aside money for his daughter’s education fund, to have time to help coach his son’s soccer league, and to work in his yard.  Even with more personal goals than before, his sales results climbed higher.

The thing to always remember is this: Work goals, selling goals, and life goals are all intertwined and each one will always influence the others.  Now the question becomes: what do YOU truly want to achieve in all combined areas of your life and what are some ways you might make a conscious effort to streamline your work, selling, and life goals in order more effectively work toward your future vision?  I’d love to hear your thoughts so please share any/all feedback you may have in the comment forum below. Thanks!


Sometimes You’ve Just ‘Gotta Do What You’ve Gotta Do’

I really believe that sometimes you’ve just ‘gotta do what you’ve gotta do’ in order to stay true to what you know is right.  Last week I happened to tell three of my staff members a personal story about a time back during my days of teaching college that they really responded to.  All three of them urged me to tell the story on one of my video blog posts because it focuses on something we all struggle with from time to time . . . doing the right thing when it’s not so easy to do.

In business and in life, we’re all faced with dilemmas once in a while where it seems like the only option is to abandon doing what we know is the right thing because we feel (or are made to feel) like we don’t have a choice.  However, there’s always a choice; even though sometimes doing the right thing involves making yourself uncomfortable and being willing to put yourself in a position you don’t want to be in, it’s still the right thing and that’s important to remember because we each have to live with our own decisions.

Watch the video to hear about a predicament I found myself in where my higher ups were trying to force me to break my word and go back on a commitment I’d made.  I was in a very uncomfortable situation and it put me in a position where my job was on the line if I didn’t do what I felt was wrong.  I’m glad to say, however, that to this day, I have no regrets in how I handled it and I hope that sharing this story causes others to really think about the importance of doing the right thing even when it could mean losing something that means a lot to you or something that you really need.

If you have a story of your own about how you stood up and did the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing even though it was really hard for you, I’d really love to hear it.  Please share your story in the comment forum below and, as with some of my other more recent video blogs, this one also features my good friend Bob.  If you know where Bob is hiding in this video, be one of the first ten people to share your story and to also add  a note after your story correctly pinpointing where you see Bob and I’ll send you a surprise gift that will help build your networking skills.  (Note: To ensure you receive your gift, please e-mail your name and complete mailing address to with the subject line “Bob.”)  I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Lisa Nichols: Powerhouse Speaking to Build Business

In this short video, I’m joined by my good friend, master speaker and trainer Lisa Nichols, to talk about “Powerhouse Speaking.”  It’s nearly impossible to grow a business without speaking, which is why business owners around the world use speaking to increase their customer base.

The question is, what is the most effective way to build your speaking platform and hone your core message in order to create the most revenue and financially infuse your business?  How do you systematically move your audience to action?  Watch the video now to learn how you can become a Powerhouse Speaker, build trust and rapport with your audience within the first seven minutes of speaking, and increase your closing ratio from 10 to 25 percent.

In what ways, large and small, have you used speaking to grow your business? Have you joined a weekly networking group where you give a short speech about your business to your fellow networkers each week?  Have you made a habit of speaking to community service clubs such as Rotary or Kiwanis?  There are so many ways to use speaking to build your revenue stream and I would love to hear about the particular ways you’ve used speaking and what results you’ve experienced from it.  Please share your stories in the comment forum below and, as always, thanks so much for watching my video blogs and participating by offering your feedback–I absolutely love hearing from blog readers!


For more information, be sure to visit Lisa’s website:

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