Invest In You!


Invest In You!

How much do you value yourself? Think about it. You value and invest in so many material things: clothes, car, home, etc. They are all a part of your overall budget and they are important. They make us comfortable, but in comparison to these “things” how much do you invest in yourself? How much value do you place on your spiritual and overall growth as a person who is confident in who they are and whose they are.


I Met The #1 Speaker In The World: 3 Things I Learned


I Met The #1 Speaker In The World: 3 Things I Learned

I don't know about you all, but when I hear the name Eric Thomas aka ET The Hip Hop Preacher, the very first thing I think of is "When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you'll be successful". This weekend I realized that wanting it badly is just the prelude to the work it takes to get it.


4 Rock Solid Goal-Setting Rules That Only 8% of Speakers Will Follow


4 Rock Solid Goal-Setting Rules That Only 8% of Speakers Will Follow

As a speaker, your first responsibility is to see your craft as a business, especially if you intend on making a living from it. Your second responsibility is to avoid being a part of the status quo, especially because a recent study by the University of Scranton suggests that only 8% of people actually achieve their goals. To avoid being part of the 92%, here are four tips to help you achieve your goals. (Click Title To View Full Article)


7 Distracting Mannerisms: Learning What Not To Do In Public Speaking


7 Distracting Mannerisms: Learning What Not To Do In Public Speaking

“Fair or not, people make assumptions about your intelligence and education simply by the words you use.”  This line was made popular by Verbal Advantage, a company who produces audio vocabulary and communication improvement programs in its advertising. As a teacher of public speaking and communications, I would take this line even further and say that people make those same assumptions based on not only your word choice, but also how you deliver or present the words you choose.

One of the first questions I ask my students who take my public speaking classes is “What is public speaking?,”  and I receive all sorts of obvious answers except one…… That is every time we open our mouths, we are public speaking. This includes talking on the telephone or having a one-on-one conversation with a friend or colleague.  Over the life of the course I share many strategies and techniques to help my students become proficient and unafraid to present their thoughts and ideas in a manner that would leave their audience regardless of size assuming that he or she was indeed intelligent and educated.

In addition to teaching public speaking, I am also a radio talk show host and had the pleasure of interviewing the founder of Black Speakers Network, Mr. Brian J. Olds. During our conversation I shared with him concepts that I had learned and share with my students in my course. The concepts in and of themselves are not new, however, are defined in a very common sense way. While I wish I could take credit for creating them, I cannot and I have no problem with giving the proper credit where it is due. They are taken from one of the books that I use as a reference in my courses titled LIFETIME CONVERSATION GUIDE: The Key to Success with People by James K. Van Fleet.  I share the Seven Distracting Mannerisms and Seven Important Don’ts to Remember with you here in this blog post and encourage you to learn what not to do and stay away from when you are delivering a speech. Learning what not to do is just as important as learning what to do.

Seven Distracting Mannerisms

1. The Dying Warrior. In this position, the speaker leans heavily on the lectern. He wears an air of total exhaustion and never moves. All he needs to complete this picture is a feather drooping down over his forehead from an Indian headband. 

2. The Fig Leaf is favored by the speaker who has no lectern to lean on. He stands solidly with both hands clasped in front below the waist, feet 18 inches apart and completely immovable, his body solid as a rock. 

3. The Walkie-Talkie is a descriptive term in itself. This one is the pacer who never holds still for a single moment. Most "walkie talkies" seem to be would-be lawyers who imagine themselves pacing back and forth in front of the jury. 

4. The Chained Elephant stands with his weight first on one foot, then on the other. He goes nowhere, but constantly moves his feet in position, shuffling back and forth.

5. The Change Counter constantly counts the money in his pocket. Soon the audience hears only the jingle of coins rather than what he's saying. 

6. The Swordsman works with a pointer and a chart. He has the bad habit of fighting imaginary duels with his pointer as if he were holding a sword. 

7. The Baton Twirler also uses a chart and a pointer, but he is more advanced in his techniques than the"swordsman." He uses his pointer as if he were entertaining the crowd at half time.

Seven Important Don'ts to Remember

1. Don't bluff. Never bluff to cover up a lack of knowledge. If you don't know the answer, say so. Then find the answer and let the person know as soon as you can.

2. Don't use profanity or obscenities. Not even a tiny "Damn!" or "Hell" is ever permissible. The moment you use profanity, you run the risk of losing the respect and attention of some of your listeners.

3. Don't use sarcasm or ridicule. This is especially true if you have a captive audience. Your listeners will resent it if they can't respond in the same sarcastic manner. If a person resents you, he won't listen to you. 

4. Don't talk down to your listeners. You might be smarter than your listeners, but only in one subject, and you selected that one. Never treat your listeners as ignorant people if you want them to keep listening to you. 

5. Don't lose your patience. If a listener asks you to cover a point again, don't get upset. His inability to understand might be your failure to explain it properly. Repeat the information or use a different approach to make your point clear to him. 

6. Don't hide behind the lectern. You must be clearly visible to the audience. If the lectern doesn't show you at least from the waist up, be brave and step out to the side.

7. Don't make excuses. Don't start off by saying,  "Ill-prepared as I am....I didn't have a chance to go over this material.....I'm not really qualified to speak on this..... I wouldn't be here, but..." I've heard these comments and so have you. You were turned off immediately, right? Well, if you use them, your listeners will be turned off too. Never apologize or make excuses. Only amateurs do that; professionals never do. Be a pro. 

Happy Speaking!!!

Marc Medley, Host The Reading Circle at Book Talk Radio


Twitter: @readingcircle01


Three Keys to Being an Emotionally Intelligent Speaker

1 Comment

Three Keys to Being an Emotionally Intelligent Speaker


As a powerful speaker, your emotional quotient is now just as vital to engaging your audience as your intelligence quotient.

When I was a little girl, I remember guest speakers coming to pour into us the wonderful wisdom they had gleaned throughout their years in business and industry at various school functions. What I don't remember is feeling in any way connected to these paragons of virtue. I saw them as somebody else from me entirely. I thought the things that they knew and the things that they thought about were worlds apart from my interests. They gave good speeches and went their merry ways and their words were soon forgotten. They would always be invited back again for the simple reason that they were important people in society.

As millennials, we have collectively rejected every speaker, public figure and business that does not resonate with us on a personal level. Big words and fancy titles do not impress us anymore. The person on the stage is now obligated to make the person in the seat feel like the important one. As a speaker, you have to be able to connect with your audience emotionally and stimulate them intellectually.  You have to show how much you care before they will care how much you know.

Connecting emotionally with your audience will be simple when you follow the rules for marketing to millennial. Let's start with packaging. When you step on stage, you should be well dressed in the same tone as your audience and then a little higher. You should be pleasing to the eyes, this makes you attractive. When you are dressed as casually or as formally as your audience you are saying to them that you are just like them. By taking it one step beyond and adding a little edge to your outfit you are saying that you are here to lead because you have something more to offer to them. As great speakers, we should be aware of every aspect of our non-verbal communication.

Your mission with every word is to create a connection between yourself and your audience. Show them your heart for them.  Pay attention to how you are establishing your connection to your audience first and then drive your message home by re-directing the attention they have given you to your message. This is where your delivery becomes very important. Use stories to connect with your audience. Stories have the emotional advantage over data when it comes to forming an emotional connection. If you must use figures and statistics then stories can help you to amplify the human element of the point you are making.

Lastly, in between delivering the meat of your presentation, vary your methods of connecting. Tell jokes this will loosen up their expectations of you. Ask questions of your audience and speak to persons before hand and welcome them to the event. You can ask your entire audience to help you out from the mic because good people love to help. Engage with them as you would any normal group of your friends but in a very respectful way. Variety is ideal because compassion will connect with some but humor will connect with most. This allows you to canvas all of the personalities in a room. Do not hesitate to be a little vulnerable in front of your audience but use this technique sparingly and from a place of genuine service to others.

Public speaking is the number one fear in the world. In my humble opinion, that is because we secretly fear being judged by other people. I want to challenge your thinking here. If you are dressed well, your words are ordered and you wear your heart on your sleeve then your audience will have what they need to connect with you. A connection is what they truly desire, not to be judgmental for the sake of it. They actually want to get to know you a little better.  If you can serve them your message with sincerity, humour, and a few warm smiles then you could very well be the speaker that wins their hearts.

Dawn Bumbury coaches Speakers for competitions and keynote speeches when she's not reading, baking cupcakes or trying to be the boss of two-year-old Blake. A lover of all things Caribbean, she specializes in creating emotionally intelligent communication for both individuals and businesses and is an expert on Vin Diesel movies. She is a prolific Instagrammer who can be found:



1 Comment

Are You Making the Most of Social Media Platforms to Grow Your Business?

By: Karin Yearwood

Whether your answer is yes or no, BSN’s first Master’s webinar is worth your time. This one-hour presentation, hosted by social media and business development expert, Tammira Lucas, will help guide you as you develop or further your business plan.

Click this Link to Watch the Webinar Replay

Mrs. Lucas uses her professional experience and expertise to inform business owners and entrepreneurs on the top four social media platforms:

  1. Facebook
  2. Instagram
  3. Twitter
  4. Periscope

Your goal is to decide which platform/s is appropriate for your brand and/or product. The presentation will tell you specific platform features and demographics that are useful when developing your business strategy.

Moreover, there are 12 Ways to Build Your Social Media Brand. During this segment, you will learn inexpensive and time efficient methods to leverage your content.

After you master your platform, then you need to hook your audience with content like a P.I.R.A.T.E. Can you guess the meaning of each letter?

Finally, Mrs. Lucas, the Business Doctor, will prescribe you with a winning toolkit to become a true master of social media. In this kit you will receive:

  1. A list of content calendar tools to help you manage and save time when growing your business
  2. How to monetize your social media pages
  3. Drive and maintain traffic from your social media page to other platforms like company websites, blogs, etc.
  4. Apps that will supplement specific features of each major platform

For entrepreneurs, time is money and it must be invested wisely. For only 1 hour of your time, you will maximize your understanding of social media and discover its true value to you as a business expert.

Click this Link to Watch the Webinar Replay

5 Reasons Why Every Speaker Should Write at Least One Book


5 Reasons Why Every Speaker Should Write at Least One Book

Name any one of your favorite public speakers, past or present, and I bet they have written at least one book during their careers. No matter what your expertise or industry, writing a book can quite literally change the trajectory of your speaking business. Here are 5 reasons why every speaker should focus their efforts on authoring at least one book during their speaking career.



Choose Your Speaking Topic Wisely

megaphone guy (1).jpg

What’s On Your Mind?

Choose Your Speaking Topic Wisely by Aurora Gregory  

If you’re a professional, an entrepreneur, someone with a vision and a message that you know the world needs to hear, public speaking immediately establishes you as an expert and thought-leader in your space. Grow your reputation as a compelling speaker and you’ll see your career, your business or your message grow as well.

 But in order to realize the benefits of public speaking, you’ve got to narrow down the topic or topics you can offer to a conference or other audience. It should be something you’re enthusiastic about and it definitely should be something you can’t wait to tell others.

 Of course, not every topic you are excited about makes sense as a speaking topic. Framing your presentation focus solely on what excites you is where many speakers make a mistake that costs them the growth in their career or business they are seeking.

 Does It Pass the Litmus Test?

One of the best litmus tests to apply to your topic ideas is to ask this question: Does the subject align with the objectives you have for your career, business or message?

 Because here’s the thing – if it doesn’t, you have to ask yourself why you want to talk about it in front of an audience of potential employers, clients, customers, peers or influencers. Your presentation is a chance to showcase what you do, offer or know. You want to shape your topic so it allows you to talk about the success your product, solution, idea or process has achieved.

 Your business priorities should be the first place you look when trying to decide on a topic. The topic still has to make sense for the conference or audience you’re pitching and be something you can propose in a way that differentiates it and you from the other proposals and presenters being considered. Starting with the business topics, ideas, products or solutions you are passionate about will help you land on something that will move you forward on the road to success.

 Grab ‘Em by the Eyeballs

Once your topic is settled, you’ve got to title your presentation. Some see a presentation title as utilitarian, simply a prelude to the much more important content to follow. Nothing could be further from the truth. A killer title demands attention, sets the stage, whets the reader’s appetite and, when possible, creates intrigue. You want to get this right so your presentation draws the audience it deserves.

 Developing a cracker-jack title requires a bit of skill and creativity. A clever turn of phrase, double entendre, catchy play on words, or pop-culture reference can amp up interest in your presentation. A good title describes what the audience can expect, while a great title will tell them what they’ll learn in an intriguing way.

 A great title should build drama, yet still communicate what the presentation will cover. This can be a tall order, but if you nail it, you will have a considerable leg up on others competing for speaking spots in your space. Remember, being clever just for clever’s sake won’t help you get selected if your title doesn’t actually describe what the session will be about. It’s important that a title be impactful, compelling and concise.Before you take the stage to speak, you’ve got to get the topic and title right. Strike the right note with both and you’ll find yourself getting picked or invited to speak to audiences that are hungry for your message.

 Aurora Gregory is a marketing communications consultant and the co-author of the upcoming book, “Get Picked: Tips, Tricks and Tools for Creating an Irresistible Speaker Proposal.” She and her co-author David Pitlik, have developed speaker proposals for some of the biggest brands in business for more than 15 years. Sign up for free speaker proposal tips and updates from Aurora and David at



Email Marketing "Real Talk" for Aspiring Speakers

If you missed this Black Speakers Network Masters Session in Baltimore you are in luck! We recorded just about the entire session below. Award winning entrepreneur, author, speaker and consultant Raevyn Jones, stopped by to drop some serious knowledge on us with her valuable message around “Email Marketing Real Talk”.

Watch the full video of the seminar below.

Raevyn made it clear that as a speaker if you are not leveraging the power of email marketing then you are leaving a lot of money on the table. Our ability to be successful in this industry is directly tied to the number of people that we are consistently adding value to. If you don’t have an email list or if you are only relying on social media to grow your following beware! This interactive session is designed for someone at the very beginning of your email marketing journey.

If you attended live or watched the video, let us know which of her tips you plan to implement in your speaking business.

 /* Style Definitions */
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;