Lisa Braithwaite - Public Speaking Coach

I help thought leaders deliver authentic, aligned, engaging and FUN presentations. Speak to Engage®! Let me help you find the joy in speaking!

Build skills and confidence as a speaker with individual or group coaching, or corporate training! Improve your PowerPoint, refine your networking skills and watch your business grow as a result.

Operating as usual


For everyone who's holding back from fulling expressing yourself as a human being:

I know there's oppression and discrimination and judging and criticism. I won't say it's easy to just let it all hang out.

But if you could take one baby step toward fully expressing yourself in the world, in your life, or at work, would would that baby step be? 👶🏼🐾


"Do or do not. There is no try." ~ Yoda

This one quote has spawned endless self-help treatises on why one should NEVER say "try." It's weak. It indicates you're preparing to fail. It reduces your credibility. Blah blah blah.

Have you jumped on the "never say try" bandwagon? I'm going to try to talk you off of it. (See how I did that?)

✋🏼Raise your hand if you've ever decided to change a lifelong habit in order to improve your life or others' lives (changing the way you use language, not wasting water, walking instead of driving, noticing your privilege, shopping local...).

✋🏽Raise your hand if you've ever started learning a new skill or tool that was really hard (Zoom😉, new TV remote, changing a tire...).

✋🏻Raise your hand if you feel like you're never going to become an expert at painting, parenting, presenting, pickleball, pizza-making [insert yours here], but that you're willing to keep learning, growing and striving to be better.

"Try" does NOT mean you're admitting defeat, laziness or weakness, but our culture insists that we put up such a front of proficiency, competence, knowledge, expertise... about everything in our lives... that to "admit" that we're trying, that we're not there yet, is seen as weak.

So guess what happens:

1) We either don't bother trying something new, because we're embarrassed to look like we don't already know how to do it, OR

2) We make a halfhearted attempt, don't do it right or well, and then give up because we weren't naturally good at it. (And fear looking foolish... again.)

This is even harder in the workplace. I mean, people don't really care if you aren't very good at making spaghetti sauce. But the stakes are so much higher at work for us to always look like we know what we're doing.

🙏🏼Please allow the word "try" back into your vocabulary.

Trying is a GOOD thing. It means you care. It means you want to do better. And contrary to some beliefs, "try" is actually an action word.

When you're trying, you ARE doing. Maybe not at the level you hope to reach, but you're giving effort and time to learn and practice. That's action.


I've got two end-of-year offers for you!

1) I always offer a laser coaching opportunity at the end of the year, for those who've been wanting to work with me but aren't ready to commit to a full package.

Get quick coaching on your most pressing presentation questions and concerns (engagement? interaction? remote tools? organization/structure? stories?) without the long-term commitment of a coaching or training program.

2) Get on board with Reels for 2023! I've got a super duper 3-session deal for you to learn all the insider tips and tricks for making Reels that are fun and engaging!

Raise your hand✋🏼✋🏽✋🏾below or message me for 🔗🔗🔗.


My training participants LOVE me.

Except for the ones who don't. 😆

In my LinkedIn Learning course, 96% of my reviews are ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

But I have a couple of ⭐⭐⭐ and one ⭐⭐. And someone took the time to write "...the pace is too slow for me and a bit basic." 🥹

🔸🔸I am NOT for everyone. 🤷🏻

In sports where athletes are given subjective scores by judges for certain elements, like in diving, figure skating and gymnastics, the top and bottom scores are always taken off, to eliminate the possibility of scores being manipulated or showing personal bias.

You will also discover bias among your audience members.

🔸🔸Because you are not for everyone.

Some audience members will love you to pieces no matter what you say or do. Some will just not click with you, no matter what you say or do.

It's far too easy to dwell on the 1% who didn't resonate with you and your message rather than the 99% who were engaged and learning.

But the truth is, there will always be that top and bottom 1%, who are both probably equally unreliable indicators of the overall quality of your presentation.

Don't get too hung up on the "outliers," and focus on the majority. You'll have a more accurate reading of how your audience is truly responding to your presentation.

Do I want EVERYONE to love me and want to hire me? YES!

Is it realistic? NO.

🔸🔸We are not for everyone.

🚦P.S. Okay, but if you do like what I talk about and how I teach, do consider working with me for 1:1 speaking coaching or perhaps bringing me into your company for a group training on delivering engaging and effective presentations! 🙏🏼


I still get nervous when I give a presentation.

I've been speaking, teaching and training for 30 years. I started singing and performing in plays and musicals when I was in junior high, and I was a theater major in college.

And yes, I still get nervous. 🤷🏻 I LOVE being on stage, and I LOVE being the center of attention. And... I still get nervous.

Ask any long-time speaker, and they'll likely tell you the same (honestly, a speaker who's too complacent has a whole other problem).

If you find yourself saying things like "I hate giving presentations" or "I suck at public speaking," it might be because you need to shift your expectation.

You expect that, once you get a lot of experience under your belt, you'll never be nervous again. Then, when your nervousness doesn't retreat, you determine that giving presentations is not for you, or there's something "wrong" with you. 🥹

So here's my PSA for today: 🎶Let it go.🎶

Let go of the expectation that you need to be free from stage fright.

A little bit of nervousness is to be expected, and can actually be helpful to a speaker in the same way that an elite athlete uses the adrenaline rush to propel herself to run faster or jump higher. (And yes, elite athletes also get nervous.)

It's all in your perception - the story you tell yourself about your nervousness.

It's 100% natural to want to do a good job, to have nervous anticipation about how the presentation will go, to be uncomfortable with uncertainty.

It's also biological.➡️➡️ To separate yourself from the herd 🦌🦌🦌 puts you in danger. Or at least your lizard🦎brain thinks so!

There are no predators 🦁🐅🐺 to eat you, but your "tribe" could still judge or ostracize you. And then how would you survive, alone in the world? 😱

Feeling nervous about speaking is TOTALLY OKAY and NORMAL. Even if you've been doing it forever.

If you convince yourself you must never feel nervous again in order to feel like you're "good" at , you'll be disappointed.

As a speaking coach, I never tell my clients that they'll overcome their nervousness. That would be disingenuous.

But I can help them👏🏼understand it, 👏🏽appreciate it, 👏🏿manage it and 👏🏻USE it.

Do you have unrealistic expectations about presenting? 👇🏻🤔


"The Dark Heart of Jill Brown" is my tenth story submitted over four years, in five challenges, in seven genres.

Six have been 250-word challenges, two have been 100-word challenges, and two have been rhyming stories (600 and 500 words).

I've made it to the second round every time, and to the finals once. This submission is both rhyming AND my first time writing horror!

I don't even READ fiction, but these challenges are great practice for me to create engaging, concise and compelling worlds, just like I do in my speaking.

I also join the beta reader list every time so I can get and give feedback, keeping my coaching muscles sharp.

At the end of each round, there's feedback from the judges on what they liked and what needed work.

With 10 stories under my belt, I'm thinking I might actually try publishing some of them! There are actually microfiction sites that publish stories from writers.

Do you have a fun hobby that helps keep you sharp in your job but doesn't feel like work?


"Doctors are needing to make hard calls." The woman on the phone sounded exhausted.

My husband had received an earlier call from someone reading a script. This was different.

In a weary voice, she said,

"We need your help with platelets, plasma, one or both... just as soon as you can. We don't have enough.

The shortage has gone on so long it's severe, and doctors are needing to make hard [pause] calls as far as patient care. So please give us a call and help."

The message came in on Thursday. Rudy's a regular donor, but he IMMEDIATELY made an appointment for today.🩸🩸🩸 (He's AB-, the universal platelet/plasma donor and the rarest blood type.)

The scripted voice mail had a similar message and came in on the same day: We need your help. Please schedule an appointment right away.

The *emotional impact* of the second message is what prompted my husband to take immediate action. If I were eligible so soon after my last donation, I would've scheduled, too.

You may not realize how much your emotional engagement with your content and your audience affects your message, but it does.

We've all gotten the mailings and phone calls that say "for the price of a cup of coffee, blah blah blah...." We're desensitized to this kind of messaging, because there's no emotional engagement or impact.

🥊Being congruent in your communication - aligning your words and emotions - moves people into action.

🥊Telling an actual story (doctors are making hard calls - gulp 🥺) moves people into action.

What is it that you need your audience to take action on, and how are you using emotional engagement to get them to say YES?

P.S. 🩸Blood donations🩸 drop to their lowest level in December, but but patient need stays the same. Are you a donor?

P.P.S. Here's my cutie, rolling his eyes at being asked to pose for a pic. Let's just say he does NOT like being the center of attention.


Nonprofit friends: It's discouraging to see how many of your organizations show your with various communities, but don't actually share that you serve those communities.

Let's use Transgender Awareness Week as a recent example.

Many of your organizations posted supportive graphics during that week, but did not invite trans people to learn about your services or seek support.

👉🏼👉🏼 Do you provide mental health services?

Transgender people have unique mental health needs. Do they know that they could come to a support group or call your helpline?

👉🏼👉🏼 Do you provide services to low-income or homeless people?

"One in five transgender people in the United States has been discriminated against when seeking a home, and more than one in ten have been evicted from their homes, because of their gender identity." (National Center for Transgender Equality) Do trans people know your organization exists and can help them?

👉🏼👉🏼 Do you serve survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence?

Trans people can also be survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence. Do they know your hotline is available to them?

👉🏼👉🏼 Do you offer services to veterans (service dogs, career counseling, financial or legal counseling, food, housing, healthcare, etc.)?

There are many MANY trans veterans. Do they know they can come to you?

👉🏼👉🏼 Are you looking for volunteers or mentors?

Do LGBTQ+ and trans people know they're welcome to volunteer for your organization?

🫥 You might be serving clients who are not "out" or are under the radar, but that doesn't mean YOU should be under the radar about your support for them.

📢 Does the community know what you do? (Not just your most well-known program, but all of them?)

📢 Does the community know who you serve? (Not just your most visible client, but all of them?)

📢 Do the people who NEED you know you exist?

If your board, staff and struggle with clear, concise and powerful messaging about what you do and who you serve, reach out!

My clients are 🔨nailing🔨 the process of growing their visibility in the community (and their ) through speaking and outreach!

Photos from Lisa Braithwaite - Public Speaking Coach's post 11/28/2022

While I celebrate both Hannukah and Christmas, I grew up with Christmas and still have a few of my oldest handmade ornaments.

I made this one in junior high; I'm sure you've seen similar ones, or even made your own!

It's a tiny🐭mouse tucked into a blanket inside of a walnut shell, and it's been hanging on every tree, real or fake, big or small, since about 1978.

Even though I love the few ancient ornaments I have, I also appreciate an occasional new one, like the one I was given today for volunteering at the library bookstore in Ojai.

It's in the shape of a heart, with an illustration of bookshelves on both sides. So appropriate for the volunteer work I do, and the fact that I love books!

All of my ornaments have stories! Even if I just picked them up at the post-Christmas IKEA sale, my ornaments all have a purpose and a reason for being in my collection.

The year my nieces got married, a couple months apart, I decided to go through my ornaments and pass along any that no longer had meaning or relevance to me.

Some were too big for my now-tiny tree. Some just didn't fit my style. One was too frilly. One was too plain.

I hope that my nieces were able to incorporate some of them into their trees, and fit their styles and personalities.

So maybe as you move into 2023, you'll look at your presentations the same way.

What parts of your presentation need to be retired? What no longer fits? What have you moved on from? What has changed about your message?

And might I have an offering that will help you as you apply speaking as a tool to grow your business?

In a 🥜nutshell (you knew this was coming, right?🤪), the Black Friday weekend specials will be going away very soon, so here they are again:

🌟Speaking Roadmap Virtual 1:1 Retreat - only 3 spots available - use by February 28

🌟Speaker Proposal Hacks Pack

🌟Slides that Sparkle PowerPoint Cleanup Service - only four spots available - use by February 28

🌟My Little Black Book: behind-the-scenes business resources - just one buck!

Grab your favorite now:

P.S. Do you have a childhood ornament that's one of your favorites? I'd love to see it!


➡️The solution (points if you can figure out what this means):

"We listened to our customers and created a new platform of service deliverables to meet their needs and wants. We continue to produce revenue from speeches and seminars, royalties, products, contract training, coaching and consulting, but by adapting how we went to market, we developed some innovative ways to deliver our services to meet the changing needs of a different marketplace."

➡️The results (more points if you can understand the results):

"Responding to the needs of a new marketplace, we were able to provide insights, experience and expertise in our new vertical content areas of entrepreneurship and negotiation, beyond our core competency of sales training."


This was from an article written by a professional speaker, geared toward professional speakers, on how to grow our businesses.

In other words, written by a professional *communicator.*

🤔Maybe impressing the reader was more important to him than actually SAYING something.

🤔Maybe he really talks that way all the time and needs some serious training in plain language.

🤔Maybe he was trying to come across as a "very important businessman."

Whatever his intentions, his communication failed with me.

The article was a big snooze. I didn't learn a single thing. It made him look pompous and out of touch with his audience.

Please: Speak and write plain English to your audiences. If you use an industry acronym, jargon or expression, explain it.

Make the assumption that people don't know what it means; go ahead and explain it.

Your audience, adults with big egos and fears of looking foolish, may or may not know what it means and will be too embarrassed to ask.

But beyond that, be 🔪RUTHLESS🔪 with your content and make sure your words are saying something. Make sure your words MEAN something.

It's unfortunately WAY too easy to give a presentation that sounds completely generic and unoriginal, based entirely on business , and that has absolutely no impact on your audience.

Is that what you want? To give a that has no impact except to motivate them to leave the room as quickly as possible?

🗣️Speak a language they understand. Connect with them, tell stories, use examples, them.😮🤨😛😖

Don't put them to sleep or make them feel stupid by forgetting that you're a human speaking to humans.

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