Growing up in the seaside town of Pacifica, CA, I discovered the power of empathy through acting. Mr. Stuart, my fifth-grade drama teacher, loved to stretch my imagination with roles like Scrooge, Hamlet and Captain Hook in school plays. You can learn so much by stepping into someone else's shoes and seeing the world through their eyes. Little did I understand then how critical
empathy is to building quality relationships.
As a Communication Strategist and Leadership Development Coach, I love empowering leaders to achieve their natural best as speakers. They inspire me.
Many are investment managers presenting portfolio strategy with warmth and conviction. Others are entrepreneurs communicating how artificial intelligence will augment, not replace human capability. Some are high potential leaders eager to advance their careers. And there's my favorite legendary athlete turned entrepreneur who continues to awe global audiences.
Building authentic connection in our data-rich world is tough, especially when attention spans are shrinking. A 2016 study by Microsoft reminds us that the average attention span is 8.25 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. Helping presenters capture audience attention through powerful storytelling is an adrenaline rush.
Some CEO clients think of me as their invisible symphony conductor equipping team members to present in perfect harmony. Entrepreneurs often think of me as a communication thought partner. They trust I'm in their corner to see and fix blind spots with compassion and candor. What these leaders may not know is I can see them command the room before they actually do. Watching their transformation unfold makes my heart leap.
As an experienced professional actor, I love sharing what I've learned over the years to help leaders build emotional connection with diverse audiences through storytelling. For analytical thinkers (portfolio managers, data scientists, researchers and engineers might fit this profile), theatrical exercises can get them out of their head and speaking from the heart. A good day is when a presenter achieves breakthrough as an inspiring thought leader. A great day is when a CEO presents to win confidence from her company's Board of Directors. These moments are magical.
As Thomas Edison reminds us, "If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves."