Monday, December 15, 2014

Speaking Tip: Be YOU-nique!™

Let's take a trip back in time:
"Purple!" Mr. Big Name Speaker exclaimed, examining my brand new media kit, my first attempt at a professionalspeaker's marketing tool. I idolized his status and thought at first he was expressing delight. But then he said, "Professional speakers don't use purple. Corporate America is not purple." He smiled indulgently. I thought he was going to pat me on the head. "If you're going to make it in this business, you're going to have to conform. First thing you need to do is re-do your media kit in gray, burgundy, or navy blue. Just not purple." He said it the way he might have said, "diarrhea."
That was more than 25 years ago and my media kit is still purple.

Rule #1 Be You-nique

Don't let anyone tell you you shouldn't do something, just because no one else does it. Find your style, or as Larry Winget says, "exploit your uniqueness!" 
Look, listen, learn; adapt never adopt; find your USP (unique selling proposition) and use it to your advantage. Mr. Big Name Speaker also kindly advised me to "tone down" my wardrobe. "A black or navy blue suit and pearls would be perfect," he said. 
Hah! Well, you see how that turned out!
Yes, I'm outrageous, and that doesn't work for everyone. And maybe I've lost business because of it. But I'm alright with that. I am who I am and it's more important for me to be authentic than to be someone I'm not, just for the sake of the almighty dollar. 
Find your USP, and then go with that, however different it may be. Be authentic. And the almighty dollars will come.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Speaking Tip: We Learn Best When We Laugh

"Shtick" is good!
It makes your audience relax and have fun, and it's been proven that we learn best when we laugh; our defenses are down and our endorphins are running wild. It may not be your style to be outrageous (like moi!), but audiences respond best to presentations with humor, interaction, fun and stimulation for all the senses. And they want content with clear messages that come with specific how-tos that can be readily implemented.
A speaker who sprinkles her speeches with stories will captivate and hold the audience's attention longer than those who just postulate theories.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Someone Make This For Me!

I need this! Can you imagine how delicious this is?
Make it. Then invite me over!

Christmas Cheesecake with English Toffee Filling
Makes 12 servings

Prepare this cake a day ahead.

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 5 ounces graham crackers)
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup English toffee bits (such as Skor)
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 8 ounces chocolate-covered English toffee (such as Skor or Heath bars), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 16-ounce container sour cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Assorted candies (such as gumdrops and holiday M&M’s)


For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Add butter; stir until moist clumps form. Press mixture over bottom and 1 inch up sides of 10-inch-diameter springform pan. Bake crust until just set, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
For filling:
Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, blending well after each addition. Beat in both extracts. Pour half of mixture into prepared crust; sprinkle with toffee pieces. Pour remaining mixture over. Bake until edges are puffed but center is barely set, about 55 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare topping:
Mix sour cream, sugar and vanilla in medium bowl until smooth. Pour topping over hot cheesecake. Bake cake until topping is just set, about 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool 10 minutes. Run knife between cake and pan sides. Chill cake uncovered overnight.
Remove pan sides and place cake on platter. Garnish top with candies.