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A great lesson for life (and a great lesson for great presentations) is that yes, we can plan a bit - structure allows for freedom -  but you must always
present from the present.

It's worth letting go the reigns just a bit and seeing where things lead. Goal setting is overrated. When it comes to speaking (and I've venture to say life as well), find your form organically. THEN set down your markers and your goals.

(c) Victoria Labalme Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


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As you look towards the fall, think not only of the items, tasks, and jobs you need to accomplish, but also and more importantly, of the experiences you want to create.

Communication is the same way. Rather than simply focus on conveying information, focus on creating an experience.

Life's too short not to.
(c) Victoria Labalme Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


The Amateur vs. The Professional

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Last year, one of my EMS (Executive Mastery Series) clients came into NYC for our private session. Despite his high level, his impeccable credentials, and his CEO pedigree, he's still committed to learning, growing, polishing, and improving. It was a joy to see and it was a true honor to work with him.

Though he'd put a ton of time into preparing his presentation for an upcoming event, he realized after our first hour that it was off course and he needed to scrap the entire opening and structure.

It wasn't bad. It was OK. And he could easily have just said, "It's fine." But he wouldn't be where he is now if that were his attitude. He stayed up that night rewriting the whole thing.

The professional is ever aware, always improving, and always asking, "How could it be better?" And then...is willing to do the work to make it so.  It isn't ever easy...but it's always worth it.

(c) Victoria Labalme Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


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At some point, most of us want to quit. 

Something keeps us going.

For each person it's different, but for each person, it's a driving force...what I call "The Throughline."

My dear pal Jim Freydberg, the Broadway producer, sent me the image below a few months back.
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I loved it. I looked it up and it turns out the image is all over the internet.

What I suspect makes this drawing so popular is that we all feel at times like we're in that tangled mess...and we all think it's wrong.

Sometimes we're the sailing arrow; sometimes we're in the squiggles...(or as the guitarist/songwriter Mark Knopfler says, "Sometimes you're the windshield; sometimes you're the bug.")

It's nice to know that everyone goes through this. Success is filled with screw ups, struggles and sideways steps. Welcome to life.

Years ago in the 1990s, I called Jim in a moment of great despair. I needed some advice and I needed someone who knew the emotional terrain of the performing arts. As a producer, he'd won a Tony award and not many years later, another one of his productions was panned by the press. He'd gone from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. So I knew he'd understand.

"I want to quit," I murmured into the phone. He listened, absorbed what I was saying, and then replied. His voice was calm.

"You can't quit. You can take a break, but you can't quit."

I got back up on my feet, and I kept going. I had something I wanted to share. It wasn't entirely formed, it wasn't entirely clear, but I knew it had something to do with helping people live life on their own terms, risk forward, and express their vision.

I believe The Throughline is at the core of every business, every Broadway show, every presentation...and every life. Your Throughline is why you do what you do, and once you know that, everything changes. It's not about the goal; it's about something much, much larger.

Whether you're in the tangled mess or panned by the press, reconnecting with your Throughline will help you find your way out. Every time. 








The #1 Way to Ruin Your First Moment

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I think the video kinda says it all.

What do you think?

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Matching Your Tone to Your Intention

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Many speaking coaches will tell presenters to "vary their tone". The problem with this kind of coaching is that it leads to "outside in" behavior. The presenter starts to raise and lower his/her voice and gesture "creatively" simply for the purpose of variety. The result: an inauthentic delivery style and self consciousness on the platform.

The fact is, variation will arrive organically when you are truly connected to your material and you are -- as we say in the acting world -- in the moment.

Just think of how a kid tells a story when they're excited or in a state of wonder.

I had an Alexander Technique teacher years ago who used to say "let, allow, permit" when it came to how we moved on stage.

The same is true for speaking. Rather than force a tone, let it happen organically.  On top of this, it's critical that you are connected to what you are saying so that you never are out of sync with your content. Quiet moments should elicit a quiet tone. Excited moments should bring an excited tone.

But all this will come if you structure your presentation so that you have a full spectrum of experiences within it and then you reconnect with those experiences. If you do, you will have more variety than you can possibly imagine because inside of you is a full prism of colored light just waiting to shine.

The Importance of Authenticity

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So often people and presenters feel they have to be something other than who they are. But there's nothing the audience wants more than the authentic you.

Think back on a great speech you've heard. Did you notice if the speaker stumbled on a word or said "um" a few times? I'll bet you'd rather have someone who messed up but had a heartfelt & believable message than a phony speaker who had every word perfect.

3 Tips To Break The Creativity Block

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We've all be caught in a creative block. I wanted to share 3 tips to help break the creativity block.

What other "creative block busting" tools have you used in the past?

What Are You Not Seeing?

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What misperceptions might you be carrying about an industry, a person, or a situation?

What are you not seeing?


How Do You Know You're On The Right Path?

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How do you know when you're on the right path?

Is it a feeling or an emotional or physical response?