Earlier this week over on Facebook, I proudly announced my official alliance with Blend – a creative agency with offices here in Tuscany and New York.
See the bee? That’s me!
My passion is all about teaching clients to BE more powerful, dynamic and memorable presenters. To learn how to BE on message when interviewed by the media. To learn how to speak in order to create positive BUZZ. Get it? Of course you do.
Some of you congratulated me on my “new job” and I’m thankful for your kind wishes – but I’ve not simply “gone to work” for this terrific group. I am still serving my consultant clients solo when only my expertise is needed, and so are the terrific folks at Blend.
But now, together, we are also combining forces. We offer a full-range of communications and branding services to clients that will provide even more powerful marketing value.
End-to-end communications. From redesigning logos and websites, to crafting new content that reflects your organization’s vision, to producing a series of fresh marketing videos, to conducting one-on-one customized communications training programs for your CEO, spokesperson or other key people.
If you would like to learn more, reach out to me here on the blog or through my website –
Or simply hit the “contact” button over on Blend’s site. Our clients range from executives for multi-national companies, luxury hotels and fashion labels to banks and political candidates.
We’re in this together. To help you and your organization be all that you can be.
I watched as the man “flipped-the-bird” at his six-year-old daughter.
Instantly, I gasped and felt a surge of adrenaline. What kind of father would do that to his own daughter?
The next moment, giggling, his little girl smiled broadly and flipped him right back! The two of them then laughed and hugged each other.
It dawned on me. The kind of father who would do that and who would have a little girl who would happily do it too – would be ones who weren’t American and who were not taught specifically (like I was) that this gesture was obscene.
They’re Italian. And they’re lovely. The little girl is one of Lulu’s best friends and a kind, well-behaved little sweetie. I know her parents too. Her mom and dad are loving, caring, and, yes, full of Italian playful spirit.
Obviously, for them, raising the middle finger to each other was just a part of playful banter – not the supreme insult of which most six-year-olds wouldn’t even comprehend.
It was my personal point-of-view and frame-of-reference that caused me to gasp – not the reality of the situation or their intent.
Consider your listener’s unique point of view.
That startling moment served as another reminder to me about how important it is to try as best as possible, to consider the points of views of “the others” when you communicate. Not only where your audience may be from regionally or culturally, but what is going on in their lives that may reframe or color whatever it is you are trying to get across.
Your experiences are not necessarily the same as your audience.
Of course there are plenty of hand gestures in Italy and in other cultures that do pack a real wallop-worth of insult. I’m not going to go into that now. Just remember when you’re speaking to you next audience, that not every anecdote or moment that that speaks deeply to you, will do the same for your listeners. Conversely, something you may take lightly, may deeply impact those around you.
I remember, for example, when I lived in Cairo – I learned a particularly colorful epithet from the man who guided Scotty and me on our tour through the Pyramids of Giza. Directly – and bit softly – translated, it means, “Kiss My Red Baboon’s Bottom!” I thought it was hilarious. But when I proudly (and naively?!) repeated it in Arabic for my Egyptian staff members back at my office, they were shocked. No lady speaks like that. It was offensive. Yet, to my non-Arabic speaking ears, it was as lilting as a string of nonsense words from Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky.
Search for the common ground.
Your anecdotes and language, therefore, must reach a higher level. One that you are sure will connect and not offend your audience. Find someone with whom you can practice – and test out your stories or illustrations. Get feedback before you deliver your presentation or make your sales pitch.
It’s essential that every word counts and does not discount what you intend to say.
Author Elizabeth Gilbert in her best-selling book, Eat Pray Love recounts a moment in Naples when an eight-year-old girl in Naples shoots her the middle finger from the back of a Vespa all the while sporting a big smile. Gilbert writes about a paragraph worth of imagined meaning from the gesture, because to her, as an American, that gesture carried a powerful impact. But to the little girl in question, much like Lulu’s little friend, it probably meant hardly anything at all.
Here’s to your next presentation’s success!
Want to make your next presentation, powerful, dynamic and memorable – in a way that is NOT offensive? Contact me here or through my website!
Bright, yellow, puffy-palline sprays of Mimosa are sold up and down Corso Italia here in Arezzo.
Lulu and I each received a bouquet from the barista at the coffee shop in Piazza Grande.
The symbolic flowers were everywhere. On the balcony of one of our favorite pizzerias.
Stretching out from behind an ancient wall along a vicolo.
And even balanced precariously on a bicycle.
The first Women’s Day was celebrated in the United States in 1909. By 1911, women were being recognized internationally on a special day.
Started by the Socialist Party, but broadened (get it? – sorry) to include Social Democrats and other parties, the day is designed to remind the world about the rights and demands of women.
During this time of recognition and celebration, where freedoms, salaries and protection are some of the larger issues, here are my personal “demands.” I bet there’s a woman near and dear to you, who might make these as well.
I work hard every day – to make our daughter breakfast and walk her to school, to coach and consult with my communications clients, to consider and care for friends and family, to cook dinner and to love, listen to and respect my husband. The simple phrase, “Thanks, hon, for all you do” warms my heart and encourages me every time I hear it.
In spite of my strengths, I am also full of flaws and frailties. I am a work in progress. I don’t want a full-time pass, because I definitely believe I am in control of my decisions and actions, and can always work harder. But sometimes a “hey, don’t worry, we all make mistakes,” can bring great comfort and reassurance.
Offer to help me.
“Is there anything I can I do to help?” is a fabulous question. Even if I don’t take you up on the offer at the precise moment, the gesture is terrific.
Love and respect me.
We are Mothers. Sisters. Wives. Partners. Friends. So – just like our Fathers. Brothers. Husbands. Partners. Friends – we are human first. All we need is love. And the rest will follow, won’t it?
For all the women out there – and the men too – I hope you are giving love and respect and getting it in return.