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7 Inspiring Tips on How to Be a Fabulous Public Speaker – With Results

Get hired to speak

Get hired to speak
madamepsychosis via photopin cc

Whether you’re attempting to break into the world of professional speaking or you’re already a seasoned professional, it’s important that you have an edge in order keep bookings coming — and be seen as the speaker of choice in a league of your own — above of your competitors.

There are two main factors that help meeting planners, speakers bureaus and organizations make that choice a simple one — having a book and being

in the news.

Having a book adds major cred to your skillset and being in the news can help you get booked.

Become a motivational speaker. Speaking secrets.

Become a motivational speaker. Speaking secrets.

Why? People want to see people they hear about and feel like they know. By appearing on TV, radio or in print, you’re already “vetted” by the media. If you’re not already famous, a mention on a national show or publication serves as a badge of honor. And being able to put that logo on your website and speaker’s materials sets you apart.

Then, of course, you have to deliver. Creating the bones of a good speech is not only necessary, they’re crucial, but that’s not all it takes. The audience wants to see that you’re enthusiastic, authentic and humorous. Your value as a speaker is increasingly enhanced if you have a great product or service to sell and the lovability to get booked back.

Here are seven articles to send you on your way:

1. Capture and keep your audience’s attention

Communication skills: body language

Communication skills: body language

In this piece speaking pro Chris Widener covers everything from a simple technique to get 20-35% of your audience to buy, how to know what to charge, and creative ways to get hired (even if associations, corporations or companies say they don’t have a budget).

2. Develop into a top professional speaker
This article is perfect for those of you looking to break into the professional speaking field, covering the 10 steps to becoming an amazing motivational speaker. Joel Brown, a successful CEO, breaks down the tools you need to succeed and make the most from your speaking arrangements.

3. Build your brand by starting small

Communication skills: body language

Become a paid professional speaker

This round up is useful for entrepreneurs of any level looking to book speaking engagements. The Young Entrepreneur Council goes over points even the most developed of us forget, like, the ultimate DIY, make it happen meet ups and how to start local, but go global.

4. Book your dream speaking engagement
In this article Susan Tardanico goes over how we can do what the pros do and book the speaking engagements of our dreams. She shares how we can communicate better with our body language (over 90% of communication is nonverbal!), how find your most useful personal stories and how you can best avoid the jeopardies of PowerPoint.

Become a paid professional speaker

5. Learn the perfect formula to make people want more of you

How to give a TED talk. Talk like TED

How to give a TED talk. Talk like TED

In this piece Tim Ferris, public speaker and famed author of the New York Times Bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek, goes over the perfect formula to be the best professional speaker in town. These masterminded strategies includes tips such as, how to prepare seamless 10-minute segments, what not to do before heading on stage and what jokes are better left for the break room.

6. Cope with your nerves and rock your speech
Sweaty hands, dry mouth, the trembles? How to manage your anxiety – and your body – to rule the stage.

7. Prep Your TED Talk
Guy Kawasaki’s 10 top tips take on: Carmine Gallos’s advice from the book, Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Tops Minds. If you’re itching to be a thought leader or have something creative or provocative to share with the world work on your TED talk. In the speaker’s realm this is one of the fastest ways to becoming known, followed, loved – and booked.

How to book public speaking engagement

How to book public speaking engagement

BONUS: 10 Communication Secrets of Great Leaders

Solid advice for beginners and experienced speakers about how to manage your inner life as well as your outer actions. “It’s about helping others by meeting their needs, understanding their concerns, and adding value to their world.” Ultimately, this is what all good speaking is about.

Share a favorite moment (or blooper) from one of your speaking engagements. Often our mistakes create the best connections with our audience. 

Write Your Life Story in 6 Words


Ernest Hemingway Write Your Life Story in 6 Words

Ernest Hemingway Write Your Life Story in 6 Words
Photo credit: tiredofh2o via photopin cc

On Marketplace, one of my favorite NPR shows, host Kai Ryssdal often asks his guests to describe what they do in 6 words or less.

This is a great exercise so you’re prepared not just for radio interviews but for that moment that could happen anywhere that could change everything.

If you can be captivating in 6 words, who wouldn’t want to hire you? Here’s mine: Triple your business with media appearances. What’s yours?

Ernest Hemingway inspired the “say it in 6 words” with his famous short story that is poignant and brief: For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

Then Smith Magazine picked it up and turned it into a craze.

Enjoy the book that started it all: It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure

Take a look at these Lovely vintage-y illustrated mini-memoirs.


It’s amazing how much you can get said in 6 words.

Write your mini-memoir or describe what you do in 6 words.

Go ahead. Try your hand at it….

I’m a Slouch and Not Liking it: My New Year’s Resolutions Are Bunco

My nose is a fountain. Now would be a good time to own stock in Kleenex. I’ve been swathed up in our bed under my thick faux fur comforter with my cherry pit heating pad at my neck snuffling away while reading young adult novels and mysteries. Right now I’m in the middle of Tell the Wolves I’m Home. I’m watching Downton Abbey in great gulps trying to finish season 3 before season 4 begins on Sunday. I’m eating chocolate pie and GF pasta with butter, olive oil and garlic. Comfort food. I’ve porked up more than a few pounds.

Not how I planned to ring in the New Year.

I had a HUGE agenda. A plan. A long list of stuff I’d get done in December. Like finishing my new website. Like creating another webinar. Like updating new courses. Like training in Aikido. Like finishing the first draft of my Young Adult Novel.

Not happening.

Sometimes the best of plans get derailed.

And while I’d like to say I’m OK with it. The truth is, I’m really not.

I woke up this morning, surrounded by used Kleenexes in a bit of a panic. When am I going to get all that I want to accomplish DONE?

And that’s not all.

011014-1I had gone to Hawaii on a writer’s retreat at my friend and writing teacher Laurie Wagner’s house on the beach on Kona. Alex Franzen was our glorious guide who lead us through all the elements of our website and business we’d need to create a bright future. But I was also there to write my novel. (See Pix on my Facebook page – more to come).


Instead, I spent my time soaking up the sun, gazing at the clouds and (almost) swimming with dolphins. I found a hammock and just lay there for hours doing nothing. Really nothing. Not even thinking about stuff. Just enjoying the breeze and the sun warming my face.

011014-4I was not writing.

I was not doing.

I was getting up with the sun and suiting up with the amazing, expressive, creative, Sherry Reichert Belul, and the sharp-minded Ellen Fondiler, my roommates, and walking down to the ocean first thing in the morning for a swim.

I was lolling about in the hot tub tipping drinks with names like cuculele, and pomelomellow. Originals created by the extraordinary poet Maya Stein and her sassy partner Amy Tingle. (BTW I don’t drink. I’m a total lightweight.) And those drinks had me going for seconds.

These are women I want to know for a lifetime.


011014-2I had a number of moments of feeling guilty as I recalled the words of one of my clients who, when I told him about the writing retreat, said, “You can finish your novel. Make it your goal to complete first draft.” He expanded my perspective. I thought, “Why not?” So I tucked that goal into my mind before I left. I knew that he would ask me about it. And he did.

“Is your novel done?”

“Not quite.”

What’s true is it had been a VERY long time since I’d really done nothing. I remember when Mark Moody, from the Strozzi Institute, gave me the assignment to “do nothing” for an hour every week in our garden.


“You mean daydream so I can get inspiration for new projects?”


011014-3I couldn’t even conceive of “nothing” that wasn’t somehow going to make me more productive. But now I know. All those hours where I couldn’t tear myself away from the beach even though the sun had set. All the hours of floating in the water soaking in the sky. All the hours swinging in the hammock. I have that all inside now. And I’m still savoring them. And I want more of it this next year. I’m putting it into the schedule just like I plan out my work.

I’m also going to follow in the footsteps of poet Mary Oliver. Kinda. She said that she writes 3 hours a day and then the rest of the day is free to socialize or do whatever.

My plan is to work 4 hours a day on my biz and 4 hours writing so I can get my novel done. I won’t divvy it up that way as I like to chunk my time so I’m in the flow of whatever I’m doing. So I have clients days and writing days. That’s the way I’m most productive and happy.

I actually found a way to get more time.

It’s going to sound a bit wacky. Maybe even indulgent. (I haven’t told my parents). I’m kind of afraid to tell you, lest you judge me or think I’m snobbish. But it’s something that’s really important to me – to eat healthy delicious food. To be nourished and well-fed.

One thing that was on my wish list last year was to hire a personal chef.


Elyse Bolton responded to my ad on Thumbtack which said that I wanted a chef who infused the food with love and care as well as one who would cook delicious gourmet organic, gluten free, grass fed food. The crazy thing is having a personal chef is saving us time and money. My sweetie and I plan out the month of protein and veggies. Now there is no tiffing over who is going to shop, cook, or clean up. I estimate that I’m saving 7-10 hours a week!

What is one thing you will accomplish this year (lollygagging included)? I’d love to hear.

I’m sharing stuff on Facebook that you won’t find in my ezine or on my blog. Come on by, like me, and chime in here:

5 Steps to Build Your Reputation With Publicity – When You’ve Just Begun Your Business

What do you do when you have just started your business and need customers and sales? What if you don’t have customer reviews, testimonials, biz experience or even a bio that shows you’re amazing but you want credibility… and publicity?

Imagine this: You have dozens or hundreds of people discovering you…
Even if you’ve just begun your business.

People who want to buy your products and hire you on the spot.

Here’s how.

Step #1. Shine Online.


Click for a larger view

3 Steps to build a five-star online reputation infographic.


You want a website that’s crisp, clear and professional.

Where do potential clients, journalists and producers go to check you out to see if they want to do business with you?

Your website.

Your website should show what you do and who you do it for. Also, it needs an obvious call to action. What do you want your potential clients to DO when they visit? Make sure that they have a clear path to engage with you, your products and services. Give visitors a way to opt-in to a special report or a gift of some sort so you can stay connected.

It used to take 7 impressions before someone would buy from you. They had to connect with you in 7 ways to feel comfortable and trust you. In today’s world it now takes 10 touches to get the same results. So you have to be able to contact your future clients so they have a chance to get to know you.

When people complain that publicity doesn’t work what they really mean is that their website doesn’t convert clicks to cash. Publicity will drive people to your website – but then it’s up to your website to keep them interested enough to want to continue to connect with you and eventually buy.

Your website should also should have the look and feel of you. So a person’s instant impression gives them a sense of who you are, what you sell, and what you stand for.

Step #2. Showcase Your Skills.

Dog with bubble.cartereseContent marketing with images.
Photo Credit: carterse

The best place to showcase your skills is in your bio or about page. This is the place to tout your talents. And while you may not have much experience yet you can bridge your past experience to your present profession. For example, one of the participants in my sound bite course wrote a book on the history of adoption that covered many little known facts about how kids that are adopted don’t have the same rights as ordinary US citizens. She’s not an “adoption expert” but her job as a private investigator used the same sleuthing skills to get to the truth that she used to uncover hidden facts about the adoption industry. That superhero skill went into her bio and made the link from her current profession to her new role as author and champion of underprivileged adoptees.

Step #3. Sound Bite What You Do.

Good News.StewfFree publicity tips and training.
Photo Credit: Stwef

You want to be able to tell people how you can help them in one simple sentence.

Example: “I teach women how to achieve their ideal weight in 2-4 months with no dieting.”

(From Ann Convery’s course, “You’re So Brilliant, Why Don’t They Buy?”)

Notice that this description has concrete, quantifiable results and a timeframe to get those results. It’s not about you, but about what you do for your clients or customers. Plus, this one simple sentence is intriguing and sets up the conversation so people beg for more.

It leads your potential clients to ask two questions:

  1.  How?
  2. Can you do this for me?

Which is exactly what you want them to ask to close business on the spot or during a media appearance.

Step #4. Collect Client Raves.

One-person biz.marsmetPublicity for start-ups
Photo Credit: marsmet546

You can offer your services for free or a reduced fee in exchange for a review.

According to CompUSA and an iPerceptions study, “63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.”

One of the best ways to get a rave or review is to ask your client what was most helpful or what stood out – right after a successful consult, while you’re still on the phone or in-person with them. Then you write down exactly what they say and read it back to them for approval. This instantly produces natural sounding testimonials and stops procrastination pronto.

Procrastination happens because it can be hard for your clients to think, write and polish a testimonial for you. Stop Procrastination: Interviewing your customers or clients right after they’ve had a positive experience with you is effective and fast.

Bada Bing, you’re (almost) done.

According to 2012 research study adding a photo for unfamiliar celebrity names (that’s all of us J) increased the likelihood that the subjects would judge the claim to be true. So be sure to get photos of your clients and customers to increase your cred.

Step #5. Get Local Publicity.

Media Logos

Pitch your local press. Find an angle about how you’re helping or standing out in your community. Write up some tips about a topic that you know about but that most people don’t. Write a highly opinionated letter to the editor a publication whose audience you want to reach.

One of the quickest ways to get local publicity?


Share a photo with a caption that amuses, shocks, or delights – with a short blurb.

Journalists love photos.

The other great thing about photos is that you are in complete control of your image and how you’re portrayed. Images are the sound bites of our generation and can go viral faster than any other medium.

Think visually.


Here’s another way visuals can help you get instant cred…


Once you get a media placement put the TV, radio or print logo on your home page or media page. You’ve seen this dozens of times on famous and up and coming people’s websites:

As seen in…

The Wall Street Journal
The New York Times
Real Simple

As seen on:

Good Morning America
The Today Show

There’s nothing like the visual stamp of approval from a media interview or appearance to make a positive impression. Your visitors will automatically assume that you’re famous (or on your way to fame) if you have recognizable logos emblazoned on your website.

As Jayne Mansfield said, “Publicity can be terrible. But only if you don’t have any.”

So these are the 5 steps to Build Your Reputation With Publicity – When You’ve Just Begun Your Business. They are quick and easy and you can start with one thing today.

I would love to hear from you. Have you gotten local publicity? How did you do it?

I’m also curious: which of these 5 strategies resonated the most? Did one stand out as a gleaming jewel?

Did you like this article? If you did, like it, comment, and share it with your friends.

And remember the words of Harold Thurman Whitman:

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Ready to dive into some more publicity strategies (think heart-felt stories & truth telling without schmaltz) that can start you on your way to the top? Enjoy this FREE training.

Want to see this blog post (with a slightly different twist) as a FREE 10 minute webinar? Hop on over here.

Now that you know a few things about getting publicity, make sure you’re a fabulous public speaker with these 7 inspiring tips.


10 line Tuesday 50


10 Line Tuesday poems every week with Maya Stein.
I just love Maya’s poems. They say so much with so little words. A great lesson in communication in our overly wordy world.

The day as sidewalk
By Guest Blogger Maya Stein

It will come upon you like the corner quadrant where goose droppings mingle with gum wrappers and the straw from a Frappuccino consumed that first afternoon it became warm enough for shorts.

Some anonymous someone will have ground out their cigarette in the crack the superstitious kids step over. All of it will look quite mangled and gloomy, ripe for erasure and and a do-over with a pouring of hot asphalt.

So you will bear down, fold in at the knees and shrink – unsuccessfully – into someone less susceptible, hoping, simply, to make your way through.

And then, almost missable, a faint etch of two initials with a plus sign between them.

It is a stitch, a scar line, a wink, a map.

Maya Stein

To get these (10 Line Tuesday) poems delivered to your inbox visit:

The 3 Most Popular Posts + The Most Popular Webinar of the Year


blog-121213Last week, when I was on a walk, some boys were selling bracelets and rings made out of colored rubber bands. I stopped at their lemonade/jewelry stand by the side of the road and looked through their goodies. I wanted to get a ring or everyone in my writing group. As I chose a number of rings the little boy who made them started doing the math and adding up everything in his head and shouting out the numbers each time I picked up a ring – even before I chose it. He was so anxious to get the sale – but he didn’t care about me.

They were a dollar each. I said, “Wait, I’m not done yet.” But he kept shouting out the numbers. Totally focused on how much he would make.

Then his big brother stepped in and said, “It would be nice if you charged $2.50 for three of them.”

He said, “No. They are a dollar each. Three rings for three dollars.”

His big brother said again, “Yes and it would be nice if you gave her three of them to her for $2.50.”

Pause. No response from the little brother.

Big brother: “It would be nice.”

Finally, the younger brother gave in.

But grudgingly.

So it wasn’t fully given. Which makes a difference in how the giving feels. I would have appreciated my rings even more if the younger brother had given wholeheartedly.

As a little something that “would be nice” I have pulled together some of my most popular posts and free stuff so you can fill yourself with some goodies after Thanksgiving and through the holidays when you’re enjoying family and friends after a feast or get-together.

First, the most popular webinar / live training of the year….

The 5 Keys to PodcastingTHE #1 MOST POPULAR WEBINAR

Become a Celebrity in Your Niche [Podcasting]

Save your seat now (choice of times!):


9 Steps to Be a Thought Leader — and Become a Media Darling

5 Things I learned From Jack Canfield’s Mastermind Group: To Help Make Your Book a Bestseller

Fabulicious: 5 Strategies to Prepare You for a TV Interview – My Personal Secrets

What is one TV appearance secret you can share? Love to hear!

Have a wonderful holiday season!

May the gifts you share be extraordinary.
May the love you give be wholehearted.
May the way you live be inspiring.

The 5 Keys to Podcasting and Tapping into 500 MM Active iTunes Buyers


By Kris Gilbertson

The 5 Keys to PodcastingAre you looking for a way to generate more traffic, leads, and sales for your business?

Are you looking for a way to reach a larger audience for your brand, products or services?

Then podcasting may be just the answer you’re looking for to helping you generate more quality traffic, prospects and sales.

Launching a podcast can be one of the most fun marketing strategies you do this year while positioning yourself as The Expert in your niche.

There are a few key specifics to launching a successful podcast though and making sure you stand out in the iTunes market place.

There are now over 1 Billion Podcast Subscribers — all who are seeking experts to entertain them, educate them, and most of all help them solve their problems in their business and their life.

#1: The First Key to Podcasting Success:

Dynamic Eye Grabbing Album Cover

Once you launch your podcast, iTunes has an amazing program called New & Noteworthy that will feature top new podcasts for 8 weeks to their directory of over 1 Billion Podcast Subscribers.

My clients have been able to dramatically, upon the launch of their podcast, increase traffic to their website, increase email opt-ins, and some even make sales within their first week — because of this Bonus Perk brought to you by iTunes.

Here is a snap shot of a 4 podcast clients that within their first week were having incredible success and being found for their brilliant expertise.

New and Noteworthy


Just a few examples of what the Power of iTunes can do for you:

The Month Pillow by Sean Malarkey

– #1 New Top – Business Podcast and Reached #2 in ALL of iTunes Directory right behind Dave Ramey, driving traffic and creating a massive exposure and a new following for his book coming out in the fall.

Awakened Author by Ronda Del Boccio

– Generated Free Traffic, leads, and had sales from her podcast into her premium membership program within the first 2 weeks of her launching in iTunes.

And it doesn’t stop there, after your claim to fame in your first 8 weeks in iTunes is over, they will then Continue to Showcase you in their What’s Hot Section for each main category. This enables you to be easily found, discovered and your marketing message heard — as long as you continue podcasting.

The search feature in iTunes is also an incredible way that people find your show based on the key words that a listener would be searching for to help them or Experts that you may be interviewing on your podcast.

#2: The Second Key to Podcasting Success:

Clear Concise Title {WIFTL}

The dynamic image is what grabs the attention of the listener and the title is what moves them to want to click on your podcast and take a listen.

You want the title to speak Directly to your ideal listener avatar – or your ideal client.

The title should allow them in a matter of seconds help them understand what your show is about and how this can help them solve their problems or provide the entertainment they would want to listen to.

Using legible fonts and clear images is the key to success for iTunes. Always remember, less is more.

#3: The Third Key to Podcasting Success:

Podcasting Imaging (Intro + Outro)

Once you have the grabbed the attention of a listener to check out your podcast, you want to bring them in with your podcast imaging. Which is simply, an introduction that grabs their attention and lets them know what the show is about and the benefits for THEM.

Too often, I research podcasts in iTunes, that just start off with someone talking and no proper introduction or imaging. The problem here is they may have incredible information for me, but if it isn’t expressed within the first 90 seconds (which is actually a great amount of time to WIN over you’re listeners) on how it can help me, I might not stay tuned in and that is how podcasters lose thousands of potential listeners.

The other problem here is that if I don’t know you, I don’t know if your content is worth my time to tune in and listen. You want to Save Time for your listener and let them know right away what the episode is about and what the show is about to help THEM.

Remember it’s always – What’s In if For the Listener.

Keep it simple, short and to the point. A great show introduction for your listeners can be anywhere from 30-90 seconds, which allows you to still have room to bring on sponsorship spotlights for your show as well, and not take up too much bandwidth into the main program.

You also want to have a strong CTA (call-to-action) for your listeners. To bring them out of listening mode and into action for how you can help them.

Great offers can be discounts or coupon codes for your products or services, free mini-courses or eBooks to grow your email list, Amazon eBooks to drive sales for your books, or social media contests to engage your listener to take action and start to engage with your brand on other social networks.

#4: The Fourth Key to Podcasting Success:

Podcasting Show Format

As a podcast listener there are many different styles and formats you can create for your show and your listeners. You want to create a format that is engaging for your listener yet fun for you!

Your own personality and style should be encompassed in your show format.

For example, I love interviewing Top Lifestyle Experts and sharing their key strategies and pulling out incredible nuggets of wisdom for my listeners. Not everyone wants to create an interview-based podcast though. You may want to focus on your expertise to grow your audience.

Here are 3 Top Proven Show Formats That Work in iTunes:

  1. Expert Based Interview Show
    Interviewing experts in your niche or similar industries that can benefit and ad value for your services. This allows you to be discovered by interviewing other experts and provide incredible content for our listeners.
  2. Specific Topic Matter – Tip Based Show
    Short 10-15 minutes podcasts that teach one training point in a short burst of a podcast to showcase your expertise and give them a taste of how you can help them.
  3. Talk Show Based Podcast
    Multiple guests that discuss and talk on topics that are based around a podcast theme for each episode.

#4: The Fifth Key to Podcasting Success:

Marketing + Consistency

Podcasting success is all about consistency. Let your audience know when you will be releasing episodes. This will allow you to start to create a habit with your audience and they will be looking forward to the release of your next episode.

* * * * *

Most of all have fun with your podcast! People are tuning in for you – your personality, how you interview your guests, and your unique spin on your subject matter.

The iTunes market is literally UnTapped when it comes to experts –there is a wide open market for you in iTunes to showcase your talent and start building your tribe today!

To learn how to start to generate leads, traffic, and sales on Autopilot for your business, join us on a Live Training Webinar August 14, as I share key strategies and a simple 5 Step Process to Create Your Own Podcast.

About the Author

Kris Gilbertson is the Founder of the, Host of The LifeStyle Entrepreneur Podcast, Author of Podcasting for Profit, Positioning, and Promotion, and creator of the Podcasting Pro System.

She is a leading expert in how to partner with iTunes to create your own world-class podcast. Her clients praise their podcast enables them to reach their ideal customer, create a thriving tribe, increase their traffic to their website from over 40%-5000% and do what they love by simply using the power of their voice.

To book Kris as a speaker for your next event or to learn how to partner with her, please contact her at:

Honoring Your Honesty: Sound Bites You Can Believe In


by Marcia Yudkin

Marcia YudkinDrama gets attention. The unexpected gets attention. Bold gets attention. But how can you tell if you’ve come up with a sound bite that has undeniable promotional punch yet goes over the top into hype or outright falsehood?

First, pay attention to the little voice in your head that worries or holds back when you think about using a certain phrase about yourself. After all, if you can’t wholeheartedly embrace it and say or hear it without embarrassment, others tune into your hesitation and won’t accept it, either.

Then stop and think about whether your sound bite is just harmless fun, like dressing up in a costume. Who’s to say you are not “The God of Organic Gardening” or “The Priestess of Pain Relief”? It’s perfectly valid to crown yourself with a moniker like that. No one runs a pageant for such titles, with only the official winner having the right to use the phrase. As long as you do have expertise in organic gardening, pain relief or the subject matter of your amusing nickname, go for it.

On the other hand, watch out for phrases that make a factual claim. Perhaps your little voice is warning that what you’ve said isn’t quite true. In that case, toss the sound bite or tweak it until it’s something that would stand up in a court of law.

For instance, a client once told me a branding expert advised her to say she’d gone from homelessness to a seat on the stock exchange in less than a year. In truth, it took almost three years for that journey, and people could quibble over whether she’d actually been homeless. (She had been living in her brother’s basement and occasionally sleeping in his car.) I told her it was just as impressive to know she’d gone from near-homelessness to a seat on the stock exchange in less than three years.

Superlatives in sound bites are tricky. When you say you’re the first dentist to have had a website or you own the largest accounting firm in Louisiana, you’d better not have made that up out of thin air. But if you’ve researched your claim and are 98 percent sure or better, that’s something you should be able to stand behind. Deploy it with confidence if a third party like a well-known expert, industry association or media outlet has bestowed the superlative on you.

Sheer wordplay is almost always a plus. A clever verbal twist can dance in the minds of readers and in the mouths of commentators. That might consist of a triple, like Superman’s “Truth, Justice, and the American Way,” a contrast, like “Our food is fresh. Our customers are spoiled,” from online grocer FreshDirect, a rhyme, such as Muhammed Ali’s “I outwit them and then I out-hit them” or a play on a popular culture reference, such as “Building community deep in the hearts of Texans,” from Texas Nonprofits.

Keep in mind that our culture allows even the most serious and dignified organizations and individuals, from Supreme Court justices to CEOs and companies we trust with our retirement savings, to take an ordinary idea and make it memorable. Listen to your intuition when it whispers concern about a sound bite. Yet except for the scruples outlined above, give yourself the same kind of permission.

No-Hype Copywriting: The Keys to Lively, Appealing and Truthful Sales WritingMarcia Yudkin is a copywriting and branding expert and the author of 6 Steps to Free Publicity, now in its third edition, along with 15 other books. Her ebook No-Hype Copywriting: The Keys to Lively, Appealing and Truthful Sales Writing, is available on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. Learn more about how to describe yourself and your work both honestly and dramatically at the upcoming FREE No-Hype Copywriting Telesummit.

10 line Tuesday 35


10 Line Tuesday poems every week with Maya Stein.
I just love Maya’s poems. They say so much with so little words. A great lesson in communication in our overly wordy world.

The learning curve
By Guest Blogger Maya Stein

She’d hate to confess what she’s never been good at: taxes, paperwork, party pleasantries, making returns, lodging complaints with customer service. She could say – each time she picks up the phone or lugs the wrong-sized whatever back to where it came from – that the learning curve is high, and the field bright with possibilities. But instead, she whittles herself into a boxy cutout, child mind stumbling over each syllable, lost in the thicket of foreign tongues and rituals, and the best she can do is improvise… and not very good, at that. I want to tell her faltering and innocence make her no less lovable. I want to tell her not all seedlings make it through the rain, but the soil still bustles with potential, its scent sweetened with ruin. I want to show her the dance she’s weaving out of each inexpert shuffle, the beauty in her awkward truth, if she’d only start believing.

Maya Stein

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Messy, Gorgeous Process


By Guest blogger Laurie Wagner

What if I told you that it took me ten years to understand what I was teaching? It looked like I was teaching people how to write, but what I was actually doing, I realized late in the game, was teaching writers how to peel away the layers of their story and dig for something more true, more authentic and just plain honest. And while all that digging and examining is good for writing, it’s also excellent for living. When you chip away at the façade of your story, and you lay down one true word, and then the next true word you will eventually become stripped down and naked to yourself. And when you see yourself like that, there’s no turning back. You may, as many of my students have done, begin the process of changing your life.

I’m a process person. I’m all about getting words onto a page; messy, ugly, imperfect, glorious words. And to do that you need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Laurie Wagner

For me, it’s not about what I’m writing or whether I like what I’m writing that’s important. That the pen inks like a river across the page, that I have the courage not to know what the next word is, or the word after that…that I keep going anyway. That’s the spirit, that’s what makes a sound turn into a song. I might only be able to hear bits at first – the merest sound of a refrain – but I’ll swirl it around in my mouth, taste it, roll it on my tongue and Wa La, I start singing. That’s how I make a song. The important part is not that I make a perfect song, but that I have created a channel for song sounds to come through – which means I can make more sounds and more songs.

It’s the same for writing. When I put these words on this page I didn’t know where I was going or what would come next, but if I’ve become a student of anything, it’s learning to not love what’s coming through me and to keep going anyway. That’s just part of the creative process. If I turned back every time I felt lost, or if I judged what I was doing, I wouldn’t make anything. I have to let go of perfection if I want to be a maker of things, because it’s not about the thing that I make, it’s about the making, and I want to be a maker for a long, long time.

Want to be a story maker this summer? Laurie’s 5-week e Course, Telling True Stories starts on June 17th. Laurie is an amazing teacher. Once you start telling the unadorned truth it changes everything. If you want to be a maker of things join Laurie in Telling True Stories – and watch your life change on the page, off the page.

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