Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Restaurant

July 11 2013, Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Restaurant party to celebrate and try different cocktails and wines at the new NoMad. Some of them were just a tad too sweet for my taste buds and others I couldn’t get enough. However, it was exciting to meet some of the winners for the Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Restaurant Issue Celebration. It truly was a wonderful evening - from the beautiful setting to the great wines, cocktails, food and music - what a great showcase and toast to today’s food and wine culture with the finest leaders in the restaurant industry. This year’s list of 100 includes thirty new winners, along with exclusive chef’s recipes, ingenious wine-pairing ideas for the home chef, editorial on important food trends in 2013 and an enticing selection of restaurant dishes diners will not want to miss. Check out the list here:

Here is a recipe to share…..they had more than wine.
DEWAR’S Honeysuckle Sour
1.5 oz. DEWAR’S Highlander Honey
.5 oz. Cointreau
.5 oz. fresh lemon
.5 oz. fresh orange juice
1 bar spoon simple syrup

Method: Shake DEWAR’S Highlander Honey with fresh lemon, fresh orange juice and one bar spoons of simple syrup.


July 3rd, 2013: Got into a discussion with a couple sitting next to me at dinner and want to share with you some vital information that I hope you will never need. See he is a doctor and had to give a lecture on saving lives out of the box. One of the items is #DuctTape. Apparently, after his lecture a doctor (one who was in the audience) was called when a sailor on a sailing trip was hit in the head with a boom pealing back his head. Those on board rejected his idea as it would cause an infection. Well the doctor said I would rather treat the infection than a dead person. What was the controversy all about: using DuckTape to tape the persons head.

Women in Leadership

June 4, 2013 As part of an ongoing “Women in Leadership” series honoring noteworthy Canadian women: Dr. Karyn, an educator, speaker, and media personality, was acknowledged for her wide-ranging work with families and professionals. We mingled in the lovely Park Avenue residence formerly home to Ken Taylor, who was instrumental in the covert “Canadian Caper” operation depicted in the Oscar winning film Argo.

In his introduction, John F. Prato spoke of Dr. Karyn’s work in New York City as being representative of the healthy relationship and strong bond between Canada and the United States, calling her “an incredible part of the Canadian fabric.” Dr. Karyn has taken her deep understanding and used it to build a larger platform to facilitate dialogue regarding parenting and relationships, Consul General Prato noted. Dr. Karyn Gordon: One of North America’s leading relationship and parenting experts, a best-selling author, media personality, motivational speaker, and founder of dk Leadership, Dr. Karyn’s mission is to inspire people to dream their best life and learn the tools and do it! 

Women Entrepreneurs Rock the World

May 8th, 2013 attended “Women Entrepreneurs Rock the World” conference hosted by Angela Jia Kim founder of Savor the Success What an event with take away tips to make you think and grow your business. Simon Sinek-The Power of Why and author of “Start with Why” Stop managing and start leading: was one of many potent remarks he made: Now to get the book. Amanda Steinberg: rejection/disappointment.....what she does is gives herself two hours of intense rejection time to cry scream whatever then moves on. Make sure you are serving a market that can afford you. One important topic was how do you pay yourself from this business? Start with a separate business i.e. a checking account that you simulate a monthly draw. You have to look at money as a game and it is all a numbers game. Most importantly have to address stories we say about money and our feelings. 

National Association of Professional Women (NAPW)

April 26, 2013 “spark ignite your network” organized by National Association of Professional Women (NAPW). And what a network event it was. We were seated at round tables for 8 making it quite easy to connect with the other people at the table in the ballroom at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, which was filled to capacity. Arriving at the event we were given a wonderful bag filled with goodies of empowering items from some of the women owned businesses. NAPW mission is to provide the most advanced forum for members to connect with like-minded professional women. And it did not let you down.

Starr Jones was the moderator and host with the moistest. She reviewed her life history starting out as an attorney and then becoming a co-host on “The View” which catapult her to be a national household word. She is a very personable woman who came up to me after I took her picture and introduced herself to me: “Hi, I’m Star Jones” and I shook her hand and told her my name. It was quick and gracious. Well I was also in the press room.

The ballroom erupted when she walked to the podium. Starr revealed her seven tools to Success:
1. Investigate: what do you want to achieve, what need to get there
2. Initiate: how to plan to change, get it started
3. Insight; self-evaluation, review how failed in past
4. Intuition
5. Intention; focus on results want to have
6. Inspiration: what brings you joy
7. Innovation: take a risk and bust out of the old
Star additionally mentioned to be prepared, focus on future with reinvention and what is the one thing that is self-sabotaging you from advancing.

Arianna Huffington, was just a gracious in introducing herself. It was fascinating to hear about her background and how she started the Huffington Post. One of the key things she believes in is “napping” just like Winston Churchill. It recharges one’s mind and body. What we want to do is change the sold so operate from “abundance”. 

Then after a lovely lunch Martha Stewart joined Star. She briefly talked about her time in jail and how that affected her. Now she is out scouting the country for those who do it themselves in crafts. She found this to be empowering for women as well. Now with so much behind her she is looking for a man and will be going on-line to to put up her bio and see what happens. Wish her lots of luck.

Panel of women included: Lesley Jane Seymour who said “special hell for women who don’t help other women”. We are all in it together sharing mistakes she’s made in the past. How she was sabotaged by a best friend in HR. When she receives something in email/mail/phone message that requires a response from her she evaluates as to the importance of doing it right now.

Desiree Rogers who used to be in the White House said: FEAR don’t allow people to tell you who you are. You truly fail when you give up on self.

Kim Garst whose approach is to collaborate in getting you and your brand recognized especially in social media.

Monique L. Nelson shared how she wound up being a global marketing executive and winning awards.

It was a very informative time and they had women coming from all over the country with a variety of businesses. Some of them were quite unique. 

Me and my moment!  Star Jones  Desiree Rogers, Airiana Huffington

Miscellaneous Thoughts

This article on how to clean your home the holistic and natural way is great:  I personally use vinegar and water to clean and heal so many things.


Wondering where to put your money?  Check out Savings Bonds Series I for another place to park $10,000 a year.... check the fine print for more options.  Series I savings bonds pay a yield that is tied to the Consumer Price Index. Only way to purchase them is through the Treasury Department. 

$58 Billion Unclaimed funds: is some of it yours?  Check out this article:

This is an amazing library:

Starting a business and need resources?  Check out the New York Public Library

Did you know if you are gone from your residence for more than two consecutive months your home owners insurance might not be valid?

Consult an attorney before you take money out of your retirement plans to help pay for your mortgage especially in a foreclosure or short sale.  Retirement plans are a protected class in a bankruptcy.

Have a noisy neighbor?  You might want to read the latest article where a former guest Arline Bronzaft is quoted in the NY Post

If you know any woman currently undergoing chemotherapy, please pass the word to her that there is a cleaning service that provides FREE housecleaning - once per month for 4 months while she is in treatment. All she has to do is sign up and have her doctor fax a note confirming the treatment. Cleaning for a Reason will have a participating maid service in her zip code area arrange for the service. This organization serves the entire USA and currently has 547 partners to help these women. It's our job to pass the word and let them know that there are people out there that care. Be a blessing to someone, and pass this information along. 

Let's Eat Media Event

March 24, 2010 Oh my Gosh went to a "Let's Eat Media Event" and sampled so many products a quick run down:
-Eggland's Better Eggs:  less cholesterol 175 mg vs 213
-Loved the tervis tumbler....excellent way to keep your cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot without burning yourself.
-daelia's biscuits...the almond with raisins that are specially made for cheese....let me tell you I didn't eat these I inhaled them with some farm fresh cheese!
-Then we had a silver of on e of the "Prosperity Cades" oh my gosh...did I have a sugar high at 11:00 a.m....good, but eat an egg first for something.  A company owned by three sisters.
-Keeping snacks healthy were the "Gudernoobs" with only 60 calories, 5g of sugar with an assortment of main ingredients.  Made by
-Due to our visit with Circulon we have a wonderful recipe "Salmon with Mango Salsa" for the grill for everyone to try.
-Then I tried "Brown Butter Sea Salt Cookie" and shared this with the women in the office...they wanted more.  two sisters own this.
-WannaHavaCookie?  So good they look like mallowmars...but the taste is completely different.  Another woman company
-Then we had some new decadent chocolates, delectable fruit jellies and mouth-watering fruit marvels that my taste palette kept screaming for more!  The New WONKA Scrumdiddlyumptious Chocolate Bar is made with bits of scrumptious toffee pieces, crispy cookies and crunchy peanuts wrapped in milk chocolate. The New WONKA Chocolate Waterfall Bar tempts the taste buds with a combination of creamy white chocolate swirled in milk chocolate. And finally, the New WONKA Domed Dark Chocolate Bar is made of rich, velvety dark chocolate topped with smooth milk chocolate drops.  You get the picture....a choco-alcoholics dream.  And they have a contest....sad to say it wasn't my time to win yet!
-Then Dr. Lucy Gibney discovered her son had severe food allergies, she got down to serious business—in the kitchen. Today, Lucy’s gluten-free, allergy-friendly cookies are a delicious alternative for people with or without special dietary considerations
-Then the time savor of all time came from Uncle Ben's Boil-in-Bag Whole Grain Brown Rice...along with some new products.  Check it out for a quick meal for us busy women.
-Temptation Temptation with Pamela's products all these great tasting, all natural, wheat-free and gluten-freed desserts. 


March 2010: Would you believe it....30 years ago Post-it was discovered by accident and started out as a pale yellow.  Now it is thriving with some of the most exciting colors you can imagine and all different formats.  I attended their birthday party "Poptimistic Collection" and was amazed at all the specialty notes sizes and shapes they come in.  My favorite is the laptop dispensers. 

Fran lee

February 13th, 2010 Fran lee passed away...a guest on The Woman's Connection when we first started out in the 1990's.  She had her own program on "How TO" do and fix things.  But she was best known for her 1972 activism on getting rid of Dog Waste. and became law in New York City, we now have the Pooper Scooper Law thanks to her. As Ed Koch once said "New Yorkers can hold their heads up high".  Enjoyed my interview with her and her frankness!!

10 Reasons Why You Should be an Overeater this Thanksgiving

November 26th, 2009:  Leslie Landis thought you might enjoy the 10 Reasons Why You Should be an Overeater this Thanksgiving:

1. Instant gratification saves time.
2. Aren’t we supposed to end world hunger?
3. Why cut pork when the government won’t?
4. Grow the economy and yourself.
5. The U.S.A. can still be No. 1 in something!
6. Excess is a normal American trait.
7. It is good exercise for your jaw.
8. You won’t have to fight temptation.
9. Overeaters get a lot of attention.
10. It sure does taste good.

Enjoy the bounty this holiday brings.

Rusty Kanokogi

November 25th, 2009 I learned of one of my former guests passed away: Rusty Kanokogi.  I first meet Rusty in 1996 and she became a guest in 1997.  As a seventh-degree black belt she is responsible for getting women's Judo in the Olympics.  On the show she demonstrated a couple of moves...and you can be sure I did not participate.   We will miss Rusty as I felt fortunate to have meet her and stayed in contact all these years.  A great lady who leaves us a great legacy!

Stevie Awards for Women in Business November 13, 2009

On November 13th, 2009 I attended the 6th annual "Stevie Awards for Women in Business" at the New York Marriott Marquis. "Stevies" in Greek stand for crowned, which is produced by a man: Michael P. Gallagher, President.  The gala was co-hosted by FOX News anchor, Cheryl Casone along with Co-Star of The Apprentice and former Executive VP of The Trump Organization, Carolyn Kepcher; quite exciting to hear them close up.  While this years awards were broadcast live over radio there were no camera's buzzing overhead.  Over 300 women from around the world attended and from a pool of over 1100 entrants in 54 categories.  If you are interested in entering the contest sign up here Stevie Awards or seeing who the winners are.

Winner: Women Helping Women Award
Margaret Manning
Reading Room
London, United Kingdom

Lisa Quast
Career Woman, Inc.

Cynthia deLorenzi
Chief Diva Extraordinaire
Success in the City




Top 10 Diva Do's and Don'ts: Home Improvements Projects for Women

Guest blog by Norma Vally

1. DON’T wear loose clothing while performing home improvement tasks. Loose-fitting garments can get caught in power tools, especially saws—a potentially life threatening situation.

2. DO know where the main shut-off valves for all your utilities are located. Women need to know how to turn off the main power sources for the gas, water and electricity in their homes. This is critical in an emergency.

3. DON’T be stymied by a lack of upper body strength. For example, women can gain leverage by extending the length of a wrench—thus requiring less brute strength—by adding a long piece of metal pipe over the wrench’s handle. “Back in Brooklyn, we call that pipe a ‘persuader,’” Norma says.

4. DO mark your project materials before cutting them. The old adage goes, “Measure twice, cut once.” Norma takes it a step further, “Whenever possible, mark instead of measure is even better.”

5. DON’T buy cheap tools. Investing in good tools upfront will save you money in the long run since they won’t need to be replaced. They’ll also save you a lot of aggravation— and not being aggravated is priceless!

6. DO know which direction to turn screws and other fittings. The general rule is, “Right tight, left loose.”

7. DON’T be embarrassed to ask for help from the staff in home improvement centers and hardware stores. They are often retired trades people and can offer a wealth of information.

8. DO organize your work space and keep it clutter-free. Clean up as you work to keep the area safe and free of potential hazards, especially anything that you can trip over.

9. DON’T forget to bring along any old parts that you may be replacing when you go to the hardware store. Norma says, “It’s much easier for you and the sales staff to find replacement parts when you bring in an example of what you’re looking for.” If you can’t bring it with you, try to find a serial or ID number from the original part.

10. DO unplug your power tools when you’re adjusting a part or changing a blade. “Just turning the tool off isn’t enough,” cautions Norma. “Accidents can and do happen, so be sure to always unplug your tools.”

A Second Chance at Life

Guest blog by Senator Sandra Tiffany

A year ago, Nevada Senator Sandra Tiffany never would have thought she would be speaking out about a virtually unknown illness called sepsis. Today, she is taking it upon herself to increase awareness about sepsis and ensure that others receive the same quality of care that saved her life. Sepsis affects nearly three quarters of a million Americans each year. Despite these statistics, which equate to more lives touched than breast, colon/rectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancer combined, sepsis is difficult for doctors to diagnose and few Americans know that sudden, severe, flu-like symptoms may be a warning of a life-threatening condition. 

While traveling in California, Sandra became nauseous and sought medical attention at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. A bacterial infection related to a blocked kidney stone was the source of her sudden change in health. Her condition continued to worsen and after she underwent surgery, she was rushed to the ICU and placed on life support. Finally, Sandra was diagnosed with septic shock and treated with a breakthrough therapy that likely, saved her life. This care approach allowed Sandra to make a full recovery and continue impacting lives. 

Sandra--or Sandee, as her friends call her--is fortunate to have received the kind of care she did. But more than that, Sandee's story can serve as a powerful example to women everywhere. From a professional perspective, Sandee is a strong female politician who is comfortable speaking out on behalf of constituents. Now from a personal perspective, she understands that she was one of the fortunate ones and must fight for others who may not receive the same quality of care she did. 

To ensure that others receive the treatment they need, Sandee continues to promote sepsis awareness. Because of her efforts, The Nevada State Department of Health agreed to collect, track and report sepsis data by regulation and Senator Tiffany proposed a resolution to document these agreements. Because too few Americans even know sepsis exists, patients and their families are prevented from being active participants in health care decision-making. Senator Tiffany's personal story of sepsis has led her to become a driving force in the battle against this silent killer.

Sandee's life-threatening experience made her want to encourage other women to take their health care and their lives into their own hands. She is active in Keep Our Doctors in Nevada (K.O.D.I.N.), an organization whose goal is to keep quality physicians in Nevada through reforming the state's tort laws. As a member of K.O.D.I.N., and an active legislator, Sandee was called upon to help the women of Henderson, Nevada. With less than three weeks notice, the only provider of obstetrics and gynecological services in the area was forced to shut down because the cost of its medical malpractice insurance became too high. Sandee fought tooth and nail to keep the clinic open, calling the state governor and the state department of insurance and persuading them to provide a quote for insurance to the clinic. Even after getting the new quote, the clinic choose to close its doors, but this only made Sandee more determined to reform Nevada medical malpractice and tort laws. She is on the forefront of trying to get these issues passed during this session of the Nevada Legislature.

Sandee is also working on several other women's issues during this legislative session. One issue she is closely involved in is the creation of a scholarship program for college-aged women that would allow them to attend the National Education for Leadership Women's (N.E.W.) Program. The N.E.W. Program is an intensive six-day program where various women leaders speak to college-aged women about the issues facing them, and the issues facing the next generation of women leaders. Sandee is working to get the program $75,000 in scholarships in June 2003 so that more college students can participate in the program. 

The N.E.W. Program is only one facet of the programs Sandee is actively involved in as an advisory member of the Women's Research Institute of Nevada. The Women's Research Institute oversees the N.E.W. Program as well as other programs that mentor college-aged women. As member of the Institute, Sandee talks to college-aged women about their individual goals and the role of women in society today. 

Sandee is a mother and a legislator who has been given a second chance at life. She is using this second chance to make a difference in individual women's lives-by instituting model legislation, reforming antiquated laws, and passing her knowledge onto the next generation of women leaders. She is a survivor who knows how lucky she is and says only this, "I've been given a new lease on life and it's made me realize what's truly valuable - living every moment, caring for those I love and doing what I passionately enjoy - making a difference as a legislator." 

A Journey That Changed My Life

Guest blog by Janet Stevens

In the middle of the night on December 11, 2001, I began a journey that would change my life. At that time of night, it took only an hour and ten minutes to get from Danbury, CT, to St. Paul's Chapel in NYC, where I began volunteering one night a week as a massage therapist for the World Trace Center workers, taking care of my private practice during the balance of the week. 

Immediately, a few misperceptions were cleared up - there was a more diverse population at the site than the media had described. There were men and women, young and not so young, from every conceivable background and culture. They were plumbers, electricians, carpenters, teamsters (truck drivers), construction workers, operating engineers, iron workers, National Guards, Coast Guards, construction subway operators (didn't know there was such a thing), sanitation workers, transportation workers, Red Cross volunteers, EMT's and paramedics. And then there were the people that we heard about in the media - the NYPD, PAPD and FDNY. And, yes, sometimes they bickered and fought - brothers and sisters do that, especially when there is the amount of stress that they encountered. These people weren't perfect…however, for the most part, they were good, hard working individuals who had been thrown together for one incredible purpose. And, as best they could, they worked together toward that purpose - to bring closure to those who survived the disaster.

We would feed them and patch them up physically and emotionally as best we could, and they would turn around and go back, sometimes quietly asking a chaplain to walk down with them. We were serving food to about 1,500-3,000 workers every 24 hours, several sleeping in the pews, on cots and mattresses on the floor in the sanctuary and in the balcony. One meal wound into another meal which wound into the next and the next (oh, bacon - it must be morning)…cleaning going on around the exhausted bodies. One would get up and another would slump into the warm bed. One January morning I saw two female construction workers take the only vacant cot in the sanctuary, one sleeping at each end, looking like what I imagine twins would look like in the womb. This little Episcopal chapel held services to honor the many cultures that were represented - Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Native American, Buddhist. For nine months, it was one long day in the chapel. 

One of the O.S.H.A. representatives came in daily on his 15-minutes breaks and would play the piano for his own relief and for the enjoyment of anyone who happened to be there at the time. I sometimes napped for a couple of hours in the balcony after my shift ended at 8 a.m. so that I wouldn't fall asleep at the wheel driving back up to CT. I woke up one morning to hear a police officer who stopped for a couple of minutes and accompanied the piano to "Amazing Grace" - she had a beautiful, gospel voice. One night a musician strolled in at 2:30 a.m., quietly took out his guitar, sat in front of the altar and played for over an hour, packed up and just as quietly strolled out.

The lesson? Just a few feet from where the most evil of what mankind could do burned and groaned were the quiet ministrations of what the most loving of mankind could provide…not perfect, but the best that was inside each of us. We all went into the reservoir deeply and went outside of and past ourselves. It was not for everyone, and no one who went there was left unaffected. And we became an extremely close-knit family. This was appropriately called "radical hospitality".

I didn't dream that I would suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) because I wasn't in the city on 9/11th. However, as we came closer to ending the relief effort, I found myself crying often, sometimes prompted by a construction site in the CT area and sometimes prompted by nothing. As much as I grieved for those who lost their lives that day, my grief was for the workers. I knew what they had seen, the smell that would never be erased, the pain that they were having trouble relieving. Fortunately, I recognized what was happening. I had done simple things to care for myself from the beginning, pampering myself when I would get home from the city on Thursday mornings, talking to a friend who knew just to listen and not to question, getting massage on a regular basis. At times, I felt guilty doing these things for myself when "my guys" were down at the site 12-14 hrs. a day, 7 days a week. But I knew that I couldn't help them best if I wasn't helping myself. 

When the official work ended, I took a couple of months off to rest and get myself together emotionally and physically - and then I began to continue with volunteer relief work on my own. I go in to some of the firehouses once in a while to provide relief for the men there and for some of the workers, police and fire fighters in my own practice in Ridgefield, CT. I am not trying to save the world…I am taking care of myself and treating a number of people who want to be well. I am seeing to my own recovery by now drawing some of the scenes that I saw while I worked in the chapel and writing a book of the stories of what took place there. 

Once in a while, when I host the relief exhibit now taking place at St. Paul's Chapel, a massage therapist I have never met, who also volunteered there, will come in to revisit, and we'll meet for the first time. We'll embrace and weep, smile and talk about what a privilege, an honor, it was to come past the security at the front gate, walk up those front steps and hear someone say, "I knew you'd be here…thanks."

PowerPhrases® for Women: Decisiveness Speech for Better Results

Dressed in a business suit with a brief case in hand, a dark-haired woman stepped up to the counter next to me at California Kitchen and said: 

Can I have a sausage pizza? 
And can I have a coke? 
And will you get me some fries? 

It was as if she was asking permission to place her order. I wondered how she spoke at her business meetings. Here is my guess:

May I make a few suggestions? 
I’d like to talk now, okay?

Or how about with her kids? 

Turn off the TV, will you please? 
Do you mind helping me? 
Can you be quiet? 

I wanted to give her a copy of my book, PowerPhrases®! The Perfect Words to Say It Right and Get the Results You Want

How often do you speak with indecisiveness and uncertainty? Women complain that men do not take them seriously at work. Women complain that their kids only respond to their Dads. This is because women are more prone to use tentative speech.  

While she says: I feel pretty good about this proposal
He says: My proposal will increase revenue by 32%

While she says, I don’t think you should be watching TV until your homework is done
He says: Turn the TV off right now and do not even think about turning it back on until your homework is done! 

It is said that men state opinion as fact and women state fact as opinion. Opinion stated as fact sounds judgmental, however, fact stated as opinion sounds weak. PowerPhrases® provide the middle ground where words are chosen to mean exactly what you want to say. Facts are stated as facts and opinion as opinion. Requests are made as requests and instructions are given as instructions. A PowerPhrase® is a short specific expression that gets results by saying what you mean and meaning what you say without being mean when you say it. One of the PowerPhrase® principles is that your words are as strong as they need to be and no stronger. Women often need to up the amperage; men often need to tone it down. 

Upping the Amperage
Kinda, sorta and maybe are Killer Phrases that weaken your message and keep you from being taken seriously. Instead of saying style: you might want to consider, say I recommend.  Instead of saying "I’ll try" say"I will" 

And take those tags off the end of your sentences that make you sound like you are asking permission, like "you know?" And "right?" 

If you are placing an order such as the woman at California Kitchen, do not imply you are seeking their approval of your order! Simply say,  I’d like a sausage pizza, a coke and some fries. 

If you want to make a point at a business meeting, again, do not ask permission; just make your point. Or you can request the floor decisively. Say: I need your complete attention here please. 

If you want the TV off, say it like you mean it. Turn the TV off I'd like it turned off now. 

Back yourself up with action. If they balk-they do it because they have learned that you do not mean what you say. 

If you need help and expect to get it, say so. Instead of asking if they mind helping you (which they probably do mind,) simply say: I need your help.

If you want them to be quiet, don’t ask if they can be quiet, (you know they can if they want to), say: I need you to be quiet. 

Let your voice carry your message. Say what you mean and speak with the decisiveness you feel and you will get more powerful results in the world. 

The Good News about Being a Woman Speaker: How So-Called "Feminine Traits" Translate into Speaker Strengths

Guest blog by Lois Philips, Ph.D.
Author of Women Seen and Heard: Lessons Learned from Successful Speakers

“Listen up. My presentation will change your life.” 

No doubt about it: in order to be successful at work, or in a community leadership role, women must master presentation skills. This is not an easy thing to do because public speaking is a function of the male role, and what we expect men to do. Society encourages boys to become leaders, but being assertive in terms of telling people what to do, how to spend their money, and whom they should vote for (or not) is still a relatively new posture for girls and women. As they move into occupational and professional roles formerly occupied by men only, and see the potential for leadership roles in all facets of life, girls and women don’t have a choice. Women need to be more assertive in finding a “public voice.” The good news is that women speakers don’t need to mimic men but, rather, can capitalize on the very “feminine” traits that society has devalued for centuries. Many of those same traits are speaker strengths. 

“Feminine” behaviors such as “batting your eyelashes,” subordinating one’s interests to others, focusing on conventional standards of beauty, being coy and evasive are media inventions and aren’t what we’re addressing here. Those behaviors don’t help women to succeed in life as people with intelligence and leadership capabilities. Let’s focus, instead, on a cluster of feminine traits that sociologists indicate is a preference for “sociability.” 

In personal conversations, women relate; they don’t dominate. Effective public speaking requires that the speaker is also relating to listeners: empathizing, making connections, solving problems, sharing experiences, and finding common ground. Ask yourself: Do you capitalize on a range of “feminine traits” that can help you to be effective at the podium? Take this self-assessment quiz to find out. 

Reflect on your presentation style. Which of these statements describes you? 

q 1.I enjoy talking with people.

q 2. I am willing to share personal anecdotes and disclose personal information if it will help me to make a point.

q 3.I do worry about what other people think.

q 4.I do like to find out what I have in common with people with or to whom I’m speaking.

q 5.I think about consequences of decisions, and how they might impact other people.

q 6. I appreciate the practical details of everyday life and how things happen.

q 7. I prefer to empower other people rather than taking credit for knowing it all.

q 8. I make things happen through my relationships with people, not (necessarily) through status, position, or power.

SCORING: Give yourself one point for each statement to assess whether you are able to integrate what have been described as “feminine” attributes into your presentations.

q 0-2 Seek opportunities to be whom you are when speaking to groups and audiences. Start by volunteering to be on a panel, speaking to a group of people with whom you are familiar so you can experiment with a “relational” approach.

q 3-5 When you tackle a problem or propose a solution, you’re confident at the podium, expressing feelings, disclosing relevant information, and relating to people in a personal way that makes you able to connect.

q 6-8 Congratulations! Your presentation style effectively incorporates feminine traits; your presentations are thoughtful, you relate to people, and you can personalize dry material. You have the potential to be a leader who can influence others to think differently and take action regarding the extraordinary range of issues facing us as a society. Time to meet the media!

Are my conversational skills an advantage at the podium?

As a result of the female socialization process, a conversational style of speaking will be familiar. Good speakers adopt that off-the-cuff “I’m interested in you, this-isn’t-just-about-me” tone to create a sense of intimacy that people appreciate. In conversation and delivering presentations, curiosity is an advantage. Women know how to keep a conversation going, using segues that bridge from one topic to another with a “That reminds me of ….” and “Has this ever happened to you?” The same skill set is a plus when you address a group conveying an “off the top of my head” approach. People leave thinking, “Now that’s someone I’d like to get to know better.”

Women appreciate the give-and-take of informal conversation. The speakers I’ve interviewed said that they prefer to deliver an impromptu speech, rather than read from a prepared manuscript. Perhaps this preference for interaction is why women do so well during the Q and A phase, after delivering their prepared remarks. Because women approach “speechmaking” as if it were an extension of having a conversation, they tend to scratch out their remarks on the backs of envelopes or scratchpads, rather than writing out their remarks word-for-word. This casual attitude can backfire as those envelopes are rarely saved, explaining why it is difficult to find a collection of women’s speeches, except perhaps for the most formal Commencement or Memorial addresses or those in the Congressional Record. Are you saving your presentations? You never know when they will come in handy, perhaps published as transcribed or rewritten as an article for your organizational newsletter.

Even in formal communication settings such as a public hearing or a conference, “feminine” qualities can be demonstrated when an outline of key points is used only as a guide so that the speaker can look listeners in the eye, rather than reading from a prepared manuscript Even more than the desire to convey information, the more feminine speaker will want to build a trusting relationship with her audience. She knows that those relationships will serve her well in implementing any proposal she has presented. To make contact with people, and using her notes as a reference point, she will look at individuals in the audience, one key point at a time. And listeners remember what is said when the speaker is looking directly at them as she makes her point.

President Ronald Reagan was lauded for his delivery skills, making each person in the audience feel as if he were talking directly to him or her in a conversational tone. Interestingly, we later learned that a woman, Peggy Noonan, wrote many of Reagan's most outstanding speeches. Her words empowered Reagan with a feminine style of empathy and caring that made an impact, across party lines.

Am I being strategic – or self-indulgent- when sharing personal anecdotes?

Women disclose what they know. Hoarding information? No way? That’s a man’s game. Whether you just discovered a new outlet for designer shoes, the best interest rate for first-time homebuyers, or the cure for cancer, you like to share what you know. It’s what women do. Of course, going on and on and on is never a good idea when listeners are busy people wanting you to get to the point. 

Women have grab bag of personal stories they can use to make an otherwise dry subject come alive for an audience. They remember these stories because they were instructive, occurring at choice points in their lives; as a result they can recall them instantly, and the stories become tighter and more pointed with each telling of the tale. Stories can form the basis for sustaining friendships and family life and are a way of revealing values and character. What better way to get to know a leader than through the personal examples she provides? 

Former Governor Ann Richards has admitted that the years after her divorce were a time when, "I smoked like a chimney and drank like a fish." Through self-deprecating humor, she makes it clear that this destructive time in her life is behind her; she went public with this situation before the press used it to destroy her credibility. Women are comfortable using their life experiences as a strategy for making a point, which works well at the podium. Being candid about one’s imperfections makes the audience trust the speaker as someone who is “just like us.”

Statistics are abstract and often misleading; they don’t do justice to the complexity of problematic situations. Stories help statistics come alive. Describe the economic and social consequences of being a teenage mother when you describe “Mary”. Explain the idiosyncrasies of a family business by describing three generations running “The Chang Restaurant Business.” What does the war in Iraq mean unless you tell us describe the life of a young soldier from our neighborhood. Pie charts don’t help your audience to care about the impact of a particular policy on real people. Personal examples soften up the listeners’ apathy or resistance to changing their point of view.

For example, Susan Lowell Butler was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and initially given a poor prognosis. Using a dynamic presentation style, she speaks to conference audiences, sharing the challenges she faced in moving from diagnosis to treatment. The importance of funding cancer research takes on new meaning when she asserts, “I wasn’t going to be a statistic.” Butler is now an advocate for increased funding for cancer research, and listeners are more likely to join her. Women are more likely to respond to a human face than to the most shocking statistic presented as an abstraction. Do you have a personal story that will support your key points?

Can my relationship skills help me get my message across? 

Political speakers pay media coaches big bucks to learn how to “stay on message,” but this is less important to women who want their message to make sense to their listeners. After all, your listeners are going to be most affected by a proposed change in a way of understanding a problem or taking action. You propose “Elect me!” or “Invest in my product (service)!” In order to achieve your goals, you need your listeners’ buy-in. Staying on message is less important than whether the listeners can relate to you. Will they care? Can they relate to you? Women worry about what other people think, and doing so is probably a good strategy for any speaker.

For example, you may want to speak about controversial issues but cultural obstacles can get in the way of being seen and heard. Television producer Christina Saralegui speaks about breast cancer and gay issues in ways that get people involved because she relates to and respects the Hispanic culture of modesty. As a Hispanic woman, Saralegui wants to build bridges when she explains, “We’re all parents and we have the same problems. I try to appeal to the common denominator…. everyone is in this together.”

Should I worry about what other people think?

Maybe it's true that women tend to worry more than men do about what others think, and conventional wisdom indicates this anxiety impedes women’s ability to be decisive leaders and make those tough decisions. Interestingly, twenty years ago the groundbreaking book called “In Search of Excellence” pointed out that the best managers walk around the office and find out what people are thinking and feeling. No big news to women; we’ve always operated that way. As a result of caring about what others think, women speakers are more likely to have learned about the audience beforehand to know what they’re getting into. Knowing what people are worrying about allows the speaker to be better prepared for what might be asked during the Q and A. No need to operate in a vacuum before making a decision. Good leaders have always known this and, as a result, their presentations have been more effective in persuading people to join with them.

Before discussing something as complex as, for example, the new Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 which provide guidelines for oversight of Corporate Boards, a speaker will want to know about her audience’s level of sophistication. Did anyone in the audience lose their pension as a result of recent scandals? Are they worried, confident, or in denial? Women speakers know how important it is to meet with members of your audience before a presentation to scope out their interests, needs, perspective and sophistication. Schmoozing with people during a break in the meeting or conference can help the speaker gather anecdotal material and test her position. Will it fly? Can she explain complex terminology in everyday terms? 

What do I have in common with my listeners? 

A conversation in which people relate to one another’s concerns about what really matters is how women learn, strategize, and plan and share resources. Jargon, acronyms, and spreadsheets are guaranteed to put people off. We’ve all been a member of a family, we’ve all worked, been to school, paid taxes, earned licenses or credentials. Find that common ground and hold firm but keep the connection as simple as possible. As former Governor Ann Richards said, “Explain the issues in language your mama can understand,” and people will pay attention. Consider levels of education, work sophistication, parenting, age, socioeconomic factors. Are you managers or support staff? Prefer people to products? Find that common ground, or you won’t have a leg to stand on when your listeners competing interests, the upcoming coffee break, or the fascinating person seated next to them draws their attention away from you- the presenter.

The “relational” approach to public speaking is more engaging than the “talk at” approach to which we’ve grown accustomed. The latter is not how women typically communicate. Talking “with” is more like it. “What’s on your mind?” we ask, and then we can take it from there in linking our topic to those concerns.

Why brag about myself when I can brag about other people?

Women tend to be unassuming and self-disclosing, perhaps to a fault. Modesty, by definition, means freedom from conceit or vanity. Considered a feminine virtue, modesty can be appealing to audiences when they realize that a speaker is admitting that she's new at the leadership game, particularly when she says, "I'm human, I can make mistakes, and I don't know everything, so let's figure this tough problem out together." That's quite different from the speaker who masquerades as open-minded when listeners know a proposal is “a done deal.” Arrogant speakers think they have an edge on knowing more than anyone in their audience. That approach may have worked in the old days, but audiences today deserve more credit. Everyone sitting in front of you is an expert in something. Modesty assumes a position of mutual respect: people appreciate being respected by the “expert” at the front of the room.

Some speakers forge ahead with a canned speech, no matter what the audience's unique perspective or demographic composition might be. In a post-Enron era of scandals at the top, audiences want to hear from new leaders who are outside the system, and women leaders will certainly have a fresh take on a range of social and economic problems. 

More often than not, women brag about their staff or other volunteers instead of their own accomplishments. What’s wrong with sharing recognition? A more modest approach can be appealing to listeners, particularly if they are among those being applauded. Taken to extremes, modesty can backfire, but still, let’s take the middle ground, and leave grandiosity and posturing to men.

Are the practical details of everyday life important to my listeners?

Women haven’t had access to great wealth so they tend to be more practical and can paint various scenarios for their audiences. Since women speakers of diverse backgrounds share a perspective that lies outside of “ the establishment” (historically populated by white males), they can draw attention to situations that are often ignored. Women tend to become advocates for change in areas that directly affect their everyday lives. It’s not just health care; it’s a question of “How can my mother—and yours—pay for her prescription drugs on a fixed income?” It’s not just employment in general; it’s a question of “How can I fund my small business?” It’s not education in general, it’s “How can I get my school Board to fund after-school programs?” It’s not just the issue of affordable housing, it’s “How can I qualify for my first homeowner’s loan?” It’s not just safety, it’s “What will it take to install more lighting in our parking lots?” It’s not just the issue of child-care, it’s “How can we as parents organize high-quality, affordable childcare for employees in our corporation?” If women don’t address the more practical details and implementation of broad policy issues as they affect us in our daily lives, who will? 

Think it's impossible to make dull, dry, technical and financial talks more relevant to the lives of families and women? Women speakers are more likely to give hard, cold statistics a human face because they see numbers in terms of human equations: A equals B. 

Architects who design complex buildings are the first to admit that “God is in the details.” Present a visionary plan and people immediately become anxious about the future. They wonder: How do we implement this new product or service? What are the steps? Who will be affected? How long will it take? What compromises will we have to make? As you present the blueprints for change, know that listeners are more willing to help you if they know what they’re getting into and presenting the practical side –including attention to details - mean fewer surprises later.

Can my relationship skills help me to gain credibility as a leader- i.e., as “the voice of authority?”

Good speakers—and this is true of both men and women—aren't aloof. They know how to build relationships with the audience before and during the presentation. At the podium, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Dole share anecdotes about people they’ve met that illuminate how policy and legislative decisions play out in everyday life. Hillary talks about her mother’s experience growing up unloved and poor, and how she, in turn, became committed to improving the foster care system. Liz Dole walks the room “Oprah style” and gets up close and personal. Each professional speaker has staff members help him or her learn about their audiences. 

You can do the same thing by making some phone calls beforehand and after your presentation to build and maintain relationships. People create momentum around the change efforts you are proposing but people don’t go out of their way for people they can’t relate to. Whether attitude or behavior, change doesn’t happen overnight. A dynamic presenter builds new relationships with like-minded people who come up afterwards and ask, “I liked the way you presented your case. Where do I sign up? I want to work with you on this.”

Women today don’t just want a level playing field or a seat at the table: they want to be at the head of the table or at the microphone. Feminine attributes and qualities such as relating, disclosing, and caring—coupled with an outsider’s point of view—ensure that dynamic women speakers are seen, heard, and remembered.

[1] Excerpted and adapted with permission.

The Power of Intuition

Guest blog by Judith Orloff, M.D.

I'm a psychiatrist and intuitive in Los Angeles. What I do isn't my job. It's my life's passion. With patients and in workshops, I listen with my intellect and my intuition, a potent inner wisdom that goes beyond the literal. I experience it as a flash of insight, a gut feeling, a hunch, a dream. By blending intuition with orthodox medical knowledge I can offer my patients and workshop participants the best of both worlds. 

Now, listening to intuition is sacred to me, but learning to trust it has taken years. I've described the details in my memoir Second Sight which is meant to assure anyone whoever thought they were weird or crazy for having intuitive experiences, that they are not! This brief synopsis gives you a taste of the book. 

I grew up in Beverly Hills the only daughter of two-physician parents with twenty-five physicians in my family. From age nine, I had dreams and intuitions that would come true. I could predicts illness, earthquakes, even the suicide of one of my parent's friends. This confused and alarmed me, as it did my parents who were entrenched in the hard-core rational world of science. At first they tried to write my intuitions off as coincidence. Finally, though, after I dreamed my mother's mentor would loose a political election--which to my horror, came true--she took me aside and told me, "Never mention another dream or intuition in our house again!" I'll never forget the look in my dear mother's exasperated, frightened eyes, nothing I ever wanted to see again. So from that day on, I kept my intuitions to myself. I grew up ashamed of my abilities, sure there was something wrong with me. 

Luckily, I've had many angels in human form who've pointed me to my true calling as physician. In the sixties I got heavily involved with drugs in an attempt to block my intuitions out- obviously not something I'm recommending to you! Following a nearly fatal car accident at age sixteen when I tumbled over a treacherous 1500 foot cliff in Malibu Canyon, my parents forced me to see a psychiatrist. This man was the first person who ever "saw" me--not who he wanted me to be, but who I was. He taught me to begin to value the gift of intuition, and referred me to Dr. Thelma Moss, a intuition researcher at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. She was to become my mentor and guide to developing my intuitive side. 

While working in Thelma's lab I had an amazingly specific dream which announced, "You're going to become an MD, a psychiatrist, to help legitimize intuition in medicine." When I awoke, I felt like someone was playing a practical joke on me. I'd never liked science, and I was bored around all my parent's doctor-friends. I was a hippie living in an old converted brick Laundromat with my artist-boyfriend in Venice Beach, working in the May Company's towel department. (I've had a great love of towels and sheets since!) The last thing I envisioned doing was medicine. But because I was beginning to trust my intuition, I enrolled in a junior college just to see how it would go. So one course became two, became fourteen years of medical training--USC medical school and a UCLA psychiatric internship and residency. 

The irony was, that during my medical training I strayed far from the intuitive world again. Traditional psychiatry equates visions with psychosis. Working in the UCLA emergency room, I'd keep seeing psychotics who were wheeled in screaming, strapped to gurneys, accompanied by cops with billy clubs. These patients professed to hear God and to be able predict things. They also felt their food was poisoned, and that the FBI was on their tail. No one tried to sort through this mishmash of claims. Typically, patients would shot up with with Thorazine, hospitalized on lock-down inpatient units until their "symptoms" subsided. Seeing this so many times I doubted whether it was safe or appropriate to integrate my intuitions in medicine. 

When I opened my Los Angeles psychiatric practice in 1983, I had every intention of it being traditional; I'd use medications, psychotherapy, but I didn't intend for intuition to play a role. My practice was extremely successful. Since I was a workaholic and also loved helping people, I had twelve hour days, though very little personal life. But then I had a heart-wrenching wake-up call that changed everything. It was an intuition that a patient, on antidepressants, was going to make a suicide attempt. Because she was doing so well--nothing supported my hunch--I dismissed it. Within a week she overdosed on the antidepressants I'd prescribed and ended up in a coma for nearly a month. (Had she not survived I would've been devastated.) The hardest part, though, was that I thought I'd harmed her by not utilizing a vital piece of intuitive information. This was intolerable for me. From then on, I knew, as a responsible physician, I had to integrate my intuitions into my work.

After this episode, my journey to bring intuition into my medical practice began. I didn't know how I'd do it, but I put out a silent prayer to the universe to help me. Soon, I began meeting people, more angels, who showed me the way. Gradually I grew comfortable with my intuition, set out to write "Second Sight." This took me seven years to complete because I had so much fear about coming out of the closet as an intuitive. I was afraid of what my physician-peers would think, that they'd mock me or blackball me from the profession. My mother warned, "They'll think you're weird. It'll jeopardize your medical career." Ah Mother: I loved her, but thank god I didn't listen. Finding my voice as a psychiatrist and intuitive has been my path to freedom. 

Sure, there's a risk when you stretch yourself, but the rewards are enormous. Now, I'm blessed to travel around the country giving workshops on intuition to auditoriums full of extraordinary people--health care professionals and general audiences alike--who long to embrace their inner voice. I'm heartened to see that many physicians are eager to deal with patients in the new way I offer. Recently I gave an intuitive healing workshop at the American Psychiatric Association convention, a annual gathering of the most conservative psychiatrists in the world. I'm pleased to report the response was wonderful. 

I'm sad to report that my mother didn't live long enough to see this. In 1993 she died of a lymphoma. But, on her deathbed, she decided to tell me our "family secrets." She told me, "I want to pass the power onto you." I was astounded to learn that I came from a lineage of intuitive healers on her side of the family--my Jewish grandmother who did laying on of hands in a shed behind the pharmacy she and Grandpop ran in Philadelphia. East coast aunts and cousins I'd never met since I grew up in California. Also, my mother, herself, had a strong inner voice which told her how to treat patients for over forty years. She'd listened to this voice and secretly used her innate healing powers to keep her lymphoma in remission for many years. "Why didn't you tell me?" I asked her. She said simply, "I wanted you to lead a normal, happy life, not to be thought of as weird like your grandmother was." Oh Mother... I'll always be grateful for what she shared, but, still... she'd waited so long. Even so, I believe in the wisdom of the paths we've been given. Mine has been to fight for what I believed in despite what my parents or anyone said. An invaluable but rugged lesson in empowerment. 

These days, no matter what I'm going through, especially when my heart is torn in a million pieces my intuition has sustained me. I hope that my journey in "Second Sight" can help you. One thing I'm certain of: if you follow your intuitive voice, you can't go wrong. Stay true to it. Intuition is about empowerment, not having to conform to someone else's notion of who you should be. It's about being true to yourself, and all the goodness that comes from that.