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11 Killer Tips to Stop Saying “Um” Forever

By Communication One Comment

Do you use filler words like “um,” “so,” and “like” when you speak? Check out this infographic from


Three Best Ways to Start a Speech

By Communication No Comments

You can start a speech a variety of ways, but please, pretty please, never start a speech by saying something like, “Hi, thanks so much for having me today, it is an honor to be with you… blah… blah… blah!”

What a waste of time!

Remember that more than 90% of people don’t change their first impression about you. If you come out doing something boring and generic in those first few seconds, you will be remembered as being boring and generic!

Begin your speech by talking about one or all three of the following:

Talk about the Culture: What do you find fascinating about their culture? What art, music, or fashion have you experienced while in town that you really appreciate?

Talk about the Cuisine: What local restaurant did you just eat at that your audience will know and love? What food did you try and not like, but are glad you tried it? What food do you want to get more of and wish you had in your town?

Talk about the Contributions: What has the organization or city given back to the community or world? What inventions, stories, people, or leaders have come from there? What contributions have they given, and why are you happy they made them? How has it helped you in your life?

While speaking in China for example, I started off my speeches saying, “Hello, how are you doing today?” in Mandarine (Culture). Then I went into talking about eating jelly fish and cow stomach (Cuisine) for the first time after we visited the Great Wall (Contributions).

This technique helps you build trust with an audience, gets you to explore their world and shows them you care about what they have done! Start your next speech using one or all three of these things. You will capture their attention, their minds and more importantly their hearts! As always…

Dream BIG,


What is a Todayer?

By Communication, Leadership, Motivation 3 Comments

The reason I started this blog was to motivate and inspire people to take action on their big goals. I believe we all have the opportunity to add value to this world, and the bigger we dream, the more value we add.

I see my friends, family and community go through the motions of life rather than utilizing their potential and giving their gifts to the world. It’s been said, “The biggest obstacle keeping you from becoming the greatest, is you settling for being good at what you do!”

Just like a car needs gasoline, humans need motivation to move. The farther you plan to go the more you need! My articles, videos, speeches, and life are dedicated to motivating you toward accomplishing your goals and helping you make things happen.

This blog is for those who want to take advantage of today, plan for tomorrow, and to achieve their BIG dreams. I write, speak, and share stories to motivate you to pursue your goals while being open and honest as I strive to attain mine.

So where does the term “Todayer” come into play?

I want to build a like-minded community of people who think, “I am sick of being average, and I am ready to be the best!” I looked at those who were accomplishing big things and I found that each one of them

  • Takes advantage of what he or she has right now
  • Plans for the future
  • Has a positive attitude
  • Takes action
  • Gives back

So, for me a Todayer is someone who takes advantage of today, plans for tomorrow, and actively goes after BIG dreams!

We learn as we go, we support each other while we are on our way, and we make things happen. Do we mess up? Yes! Do we give up! No! We take advantage of what we are given and use it to help others, build up those around us, and make an impact.

After seeing this quote, “The goal is not to live forever, the goal is to create something that will!” on an old journal I thought… I want to build a community around people who want more motivation, want to make a difference in this world, and want to go after their big dreams… no matter how crazy, outlandish, and far-fetched the dream seems!

I hope you will join us. Read, share, and comment on articles and videos you see here. I am here for you. I am here to offer motivational stories, strategies, and insights of real value to you.

You will see a lot more of the word “Todayers” on this blog. My hope is to one day see the word spread and have a community full of those who take advantage of today, plan for tomorrow, and go after their BIG dreams!” As always…

Dream BIG,

* Subscribe to this blog via email at the top right hand corner of this article if you feel you would like to join us in being a Todayer!

Best Speeches of 2014

My 4 Favorite Speeches of 2014

By Communication, Motivation No Comments

I watch TED talks every week. Sometimes, I lose track of time as I watch speech after speech soaking up knowledge and critiquing a speaker’s style.

In 2014 I heard four different speakers who each moved me in different ways. Here are my four favorite speeches in 2014 and why:

Dananjaya Hettiarachchi: The 2014 World Champion of Public Speaking rocked the stage in Kuala Lumpur at the Toastmasters International Convention. He had the world captivated with his message and is doing a great job representing the organization!

Edward Snowden: What I loved about this speech is how we can utilize technology to get our voice heard. We no longer need to be on stage to share a message. This speech is inspiring, futuristic, and insightful. You can see the government’s response to Snowden’s speech here. In my opinion, whether you agree with Snowden or not, he did a much better job presenting. You can tell why how you present makes just as much of a difference as what you present.

Simon Sinek: I may or may not have a man crush on Simon Sinek. He is genuine, full of knowledge and uses his voice to create better leaders. His books are fantastic and his speaking style and ability is of the quality of Ziglar and Robbins. His speech inspires me to be a better leader and motivates me to “up my game” as a speaker!

I realize there are no women on this list and I am going to do a much better job this year keeping my eyes open for amazing females who rock the world with their voice!

What were some of your favorite speeches of 2014? If you know of someone who moved you last year, please share in the comments below! As always…

Dream BIG,

The 5 Best Books for Speakers

By Communication, Motivation 6 Comments

Here are the best books for speakers. These five books have changed my personal and professional life in some way or another when it comes to being a better speaker:

Million Dollar Consulting. This book is hands-down the best business book I have read on public speaking and consulting. If you read only one book on the business side of speaking and consulting, let it be this one! It is life changing!

Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln. This was the book I read which helped me win the world championship of public speaking in 2012. I still utilize the tools in this book. Anyone serious about speaking on stage needs to pick up a copy!

Speaker Leader Champion. Yes, I wrote this book with Jeremey Donovan, but more importantly–what this book allowed me to do was dive deeper into public speaking and the art and science behind motivating people on stage. I learned more from writing this book than I have from any other thing I have done as a speaker. It is for those looking to excel in the workplace through the power of public speaking. I recommend for anyone wanting to teach a subject to write a book about it, first. It forces you to focus, research, and find stories that can help your target audience.

Stop Talking, Start Communicating. I was handed a copy of this book by my publisher. It changed the way I communicate on a day-to-day basis. Those who are searching for ways to improve the way they communicate on and off stage need to pick up a copy of Geoffrey’s book!

Confessions of a Public Speaker. This book gives great insight into why people are afraid of public speaking, what it is really like being a professional speaker, and why everyone is not fit for it in the first place! It’s a great read filled with tips, stories, and strategies for those of us who call ourselves speakers.

Read and implement the strategies found in one of these five books this year and watch your personal and professional life strengthen immediately! As always…

Dream BIG,

Question: What other books do you recommend? Leave your answers in the comments below! 

Avoid these 3 things when speaking on stage!

By Communication, Motivation 4 Comments

Here are three things you need to take into consideration the next time you speak on stage:

Avoid stepping backwards when trying to make a point: Think of the stage being divided into two parts. Draw a line in the middle of the stage parallel to the front row; call it the front and the back. Every time you step toward the back it indicates three things to the audience; A negative view point, moving them into the past, or indicating you are uncomfortable. If someone tries to kiss you–and you’re not interested–what is your natural reaction? You move backwards. It’s the same when you speak. If you move backwards while trying to make a positive point, your body and its actions do not align with your words. Step forward to make a powerful point and to show the audience you are not nervous.

Avoid being too energetic at the start of your speech: I often see this when speakers try to get their audience pumped at the beginning of a meeting. Some of their listeners are just not into it. They lose them for the entire presentation or speech. I have three levels of energy when I am on stage: Low, medium and high. I start with medium energy to “test the waters” and see which way I want to take the audience. Beginning with too high or too low an energy level risks your audience tuning out your entire presentation. Start out with medium energy.

Avoid making assumptions about the audience: Please don’t say things like “I know what you are thinking” or “I bet you like/don’t like XYZ.” Unless you are 100% sure of what your audience does or doesn’t like, don’t say it! Never make assumptions about your audience. No matter how good you are, you do not know what everyone is thinking! Instead, say things like “What I was thinking after this was” or “I know not everyone might like XYZ.”

Avoid these common mistakes aspiring speakers make the next time you get in front of a group of people! As always…

Dream BIG,

Three Easy Ways to Make $500 Speaking

By Communication, Motivation 3 Comments

What if you could make more money in one hour than the average American makes in one week? Have you ever asked yourself, “How do I get paid to speak?” or “What are ways I can become a paid speaker this year?”

Below are three quick ways to make $500 speaking, all of which I have done myself.

The reason I am writing this article is to not promote a “get rich quick” mentality! I am writing this because I want to get people comfortable with making money for the knowledge, skills and ideas they possess-not to make a quick buck! If you can’t get comfortable making $500, how will you ever make $5,000? Your voice has power, so use it wisely!

Find a Sponsor: Find a company, organization, or person who can sponsor you to go out and talk to a group of 100+ people. In return, you will offer to talk about their product, service or idea. I recommend choosing someone whom you respect and whom you would be proud to represent. Whom do you know who owns a company seeking awareness for their product? Right now, we know that 48% of Millennials purchase products based on word of mouth marketing, and only 17% are influenced by TV ads. Convincing a company, organization, or person to sponsor you while you talk about how great they are can boost their sales and expand your reach!

Sell 50 tickets for $10: I bet you know at least fifty people. Combine your family, your friends, your social media following, those you work with, those you work for, and the strangers you could meet. You can sell fifty $10 tickets for a one-hour training. Pick a message you want to share, identify the target market who will benefit from it, and select a venue (preferably free). Send out your Eventbrite registration links to everyone you know. Go. Get started!

Get one company to pay you $500: It might sound harder than it seems but how many companies have you actually asked to pay you? Go out and ask ten people who are in charge of saying yes to things like this and see what they say. Companies spend tens of thousands of dollars each year on training their teams. What value can you bring to a company, organization or group? Take an HR or Senior Level executive out to lunch and convince them that you would like to train 20 of his or her employees on (insert subject here + outline the benefits) how to improve any area of their business. I am going to take a bet that most people don’t ask nor do they ask the right person.

Take time to make $500 in the next two weeks and prove to yourself you have valuable information for which people are willing to pay. When you speak, deliver $5,000 worth of content! Rinse and repeat. As always…

Dream BIG,

Question: What is another idea people can do to make money speaking?

10 TED Talks Everybody Should Watch

By Communication 4 Comments

9 Quotes You Should Pay Attention To

By Communication 6 Comments

From hologram musicians to $35,000 live auction paddle raises, to meeting some of my speaking heroes, to learning about speaking bureaus, to content so good it makes your head swell and to friendships started that will last a lifetime, the 2014 NSA Convention was an event everyone should have attended (speakers and non-speakers a like).

As we move forward in growing the brand of NSA to now be referred to as Platform, I wanted to share with you quotes that if you read and implement will change your life and those you serve. They are taken from speakers I met this weekend who impacted my life. Please read these, digest these and revisit these as they are not meant to inspire you for brief moments but to light a fire in you that will help take your skills to the next level.

9 quotes you should pay attention to…

Are you trying to be perfect?
“The greatest damage to excellence is the pursuit of perfection.” – Alan Weiss (click to tweet)

Feel like you are not motivated to accomplish more?
“Always be happy, never be satisfied.” – Jim Jacobus (click to tweet)

Are you taking enough risks today?
“It pays to be risky.” – Eric Whal (click to tweet)

Are you being good, great or working to become the best?
“Everyone should ask themselves everyday… “What am I doing today, to make my craft better?” – Eric Chester (click to tweet)

What are you doing to build a loyal following?
“Give away everything you know, one bite at a time.” – Jay Baer (click to tweet)

Are you being a thought leader or someone who just passes though life?
“Create goals that don’t exist.” – Mike Rayburn (click to tweet)

What does it mean to really listen?
“When you rearrange the word LISTEN you end up with SILENT. Are you really listening?” – Freddie Ravel (click to tweet)

How are you interacting with your fans on a regular bases? 
“Content is king but engagement is queen and she rules the house.” – Mari Smith (click to tweet)

What are you doing everyday to get used to change? 
“If you don’t like change, you won’t like being irrelevant even more.” – Adam Witty (click to tweet)

Take one of the quotes today, write it down and put it next to your computer. You are capable of so much and sometimes all you need is a quick reminder!

Take time to consider being part of Platform (formally known as National Speakers Association) and learn how to grow your business, expand your network and provide value to those you serve in today’s changing world. As always…

Dream BIG,


Question: Which one is your favorite and why? If you liked one of the quotes, please share this article with your friends by pressing one of the social media buttons below and let’s help them get inspired! 

Do You Want a Handwritten Letter?

By Communication No Comments

During the World Record attempt a couple months ago I asked to write you handwritten letters so I could train to sign 5,000 signatures in one sitting.

You came to my aid and sent in your addresses and messages to request a handwritten letter all over the world. I sent more letters in two weeks than I can count! Over the past several weeks since then, the letters have arrived and you have shared with me when you got them and how much they meant by posting on Facebook, emailing me photos of you at your mailbox and even showing them to me in person when I see you. That really means a lot to me and I thought of continuing to write them!

I really enjoy writing those letters so much and hearing from each of you I thought I would do a project where I write one handwritten letter everyday in 2014. I might get more request than one a day, or might not, but I will write at least one letter a day, starting today, in 2014 and am asking for your help.

Do you want a handwritten letter? All you have to do is email me your mailing address at with a subject that says “I want a letter.” The first 30 people to send me an email at will be guaranteed to get a letter!

I think there is something special about going to your mailbox and seeing an envelop that has your name printed on it in human handwriting! This will be fun for me and hopefully it is a way I can give back in another way to say thank you for all you do for me!

I hope you are enjoying the start to your week and I look forward to receiving your emails. Remember to sign up for my blog in the top right hand corner of this page via email and continue receiving content focused on leadership, speaking and productivity every Monday and Thursday! As always…

Dream BIG,

Question: Know someone who could use a letter? Share this article on your social media or via email and let the hand writing begin! 

9 Speaking Tips for Non-Native Speakers

By Communication 6 Comments

According to the U. S. Census Bureau, there are more than 35 million adults in the United States who are non-native English speakers.

Many of these people are looking for work, to advance in their career and speak up and out for the causes they believe in. Non-native speakers can experience difficulties in developing and delivering their message when speaking to a group of people on stage, in a board room or during one-on-one conversations.

Non-native speakers might hear things like “I don’t understand what you are saying” or “Your accent is too thick” or “It’s hard to focus on what you are saying.” If you are are a non-native speaker who would like to improve the way your message gets translated into minds of those listening to you or you know someone struggling with their accent, here are nine tips you can use to improve the way you communicate:

Record yourself: Take the time to record what you are saying during your next speech or presentation. Then listen to it. Get a friend to listen to it. Identify the words that are hard to hear, understand or process. When you record yourself, you will pick up on things that you might not have noticed before.

Get a partner: Get someone to help you with your 2nd language who you trust. Someone who can call you out when you say a word wrong, aren’t pronouncing things correctly or using the right grammar. A partner can help you advance your communication skills by helping you see and hear the things you are not picking up on.

Be proud of your accent: Many of my non-native speaking clients say, “I need to get rid of my accent.” I think this is the wrong way to look at your voice. You should be proud of your voice and where you come from. You should’t get rid of your accent, you should embrace your accent. Keep the accent but make it so others can understand what you are saying. When you are proud, others will listen. This also will help you build confidence in what you are saying and remind yourself you speak two languages! Not many people can say that!

Be open to feedback: Listen. Listen. Listen. Ask around for feedback. When you are giving a speech or presenting a proposal at work, ask three or four of your colleagues to take notes and give you feedback on specifics you can improve on. Listen to what they say. Be open to asking for feedback anytime you are speaking to get better at communicating.

Find synonyms for words you can’t pronounce: There are words in English I have trouble pronouncing (I am no longer allowed to say prerequisite and familiarity in public). I avoid them at all cost. There are words some people cannot pronounce. You are not alone, just don’t use them! Find words that are similar to them and use those instead.

Speak slower: This is for all speakers and communicators. Slow down! Most of the time you are speaking too fast and it is distracting. It slurs your words together and on top of your accent it can be hard to digest what you are saying. Remember to pause, slow down and enunciate your words.

Practice one letter at a time: Find the letter that is the hardest for you to say (V or R or W or P). Practice just saying those letters over and over again. Pick words that have those letters in them and get your mouth comfortable with finding out how to properly say them without being distracting. Practice one letter at a time.

Find speakers you like: Find speakers who are speaking like you want to be speaking. Find speakers who might even have the same accent as you but are doing it the way you want to. What are they doing to get their message across or communicate in a way that people are focused more on their words than how they say them? Find speakers you like to feel more confident in knowing that if they can do it, so can you!

Practice everyday: Practice. Practice. Practice. Get good at practicing. Remember, how you practice is how you play so use these nine steps everyday to get better at speaking in your non-native language.

Please don’t think you ever need to get rid of your accent, you only need to focus on making sure you are speaking in a way that adds value, people understand what you are saying and enjoying your message. Keep using your voice to make a difference and as always…

Dream BIG,

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