Episode 075 -- Write Your Thoughts Down and Meet Magician Victoria Mavis


2-Minute Tip: Write it Down


In the run up to a talk, our minds can go all over the place. Thoughts come and go, and it can get pretty loud inside our heads. It becomes hard to focus on what we need to do and to be present like we ought to be to maximize our success.


One way to deal with this is to write down all those thoughts on a piece (or pieces) of paper. That gets them out of your head and your brain can let them go since you can deal with them later if you choose.


I find this helpful at other times, too, when I get overwhelmed with stress or my mind starts racing. Just write it all down and get on with the things you need to do.


Post Tip Discussion


Victoria Mavis profile picture

Victoria and I talked about this focus and the importance of being present for the audience and in conversation. We also talked about the power of speaking to an audience and the possibilities with podcasting today.

Victoria Mavis is worldwide one of only a few professional female magicians. She started doing magic at the age of 4 and had her first stage show at the age of 7. She has two academic degrees, a background in hypnosis, is a member of the magic circle in Germany as well as Rotary International. She also published her first book in 2017. While performing a lot of mental magic on stage she started getting closer to the real secrets of magic... tools that can improve our lives, bringing us closer to our dreams, break through blocks and even get in touch with quantum physics.


One thing stage magic and public speaking have in common is the importance of being present. A magician uses discipline, focus, and misdirection to create an experience that challenges an audience's perception of reality and tries to interrupt the patterns the live their life with. That requires tremendous effort and skill on the part of the magician. They can't just let their mind wander on stage.


As a speaker you need to be focused on your audience, delivering the message, and driving to your goal of what you want the audience to do.


Relevant Links

Victoria's Website


Victoria on Twitter


Pure Mind Magic Podcast


Pure Mind Magic on Facebook


Was, wenn alles möglich wäre? (Victoria's first book)


How Podcasting Can Change Your Life: Unleash Endless Possibilities (Victoria's new book)


Get Chapter 1 of the new book



Call To Action


  • What do you think of the intersection between magic and public speaking? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Check out the Pure Mind Magic Podcast in your favorite podcast app.
  • Check out Victoria's new book and get chapter 1 here.
  • Write down your thoughts before your next talk.
  • Don't get best…get better.



Check out this episode!


Episode 074 -- Use a Checklist and Thoughts on Crowd Size

2-Minute Tip: Use a Checklist

Everyday, thousands of airline pilots around the world pull out the same task list them read hundred or thousands of times and it out loud to their colleague. Even though they have the whole thing memorized by now, they still refer back to that list to nearly guarantee they don't forget anything. The consequences of failure are huge. Forgetting one thing can cost hundreds of lives and millions of dollars in damage. So the use a check list.


The consequences for skipping a step in your talk are not nearly as serious. No one is going to die if we make a mistake. That doesn't mean we should skip check lists as speakers, though. Working from a checklist as we prepare a talk, pack our bag, and wrap-up an event can make a big difference in our effectiveness. We come across as more professional when we have those procedures in place, and we get to off load some of the cognitive load from our brains. We don't have to remember to not forget things because we can work from the list.


Sample check lists include: 

  • What to pack
    • Luggage
      • Day 1 Shirt
      • Day 2 shirt
      • Pants
      • Workout shoes
    • Presentation kit
      • Projector cable
      • Timer
      • Slide clicker
      • HDMI adapter
      • Tissues
      • Gaffers tape
  • Actions at event
    • Greet organizer
    • Greet AV Tech
    • Check room sight lines
    • Confirm projector works
    • Find rest room
  • Tear down
    • Shut off computer
    • Shut off projector
    • Pack extension cable
    • Pack notes
  • Follow up
    • Thank the organizer
    • Complete event report
    • Follow up on questions you said you would follow up on
    • Submit expense report


I'm sure you can come up with more things for theses check lists.


Post Tip Discussion: Thoughts on Crowd Size


The size of the crowd you are speaking to determines how you deliver your message. It impacts the content and activities that are part of you presentation. It even impacts what you wear to an event.


Some folks might say that the bigger a crowd gets, the harder it is to deliver a talk, but that's not necessarily true. There are different strategies to deploy in a large group versus a small one, and there are different results you can expect. Here are some thoughts of crowd size. Theses are ideas to get you thinking about what you'll do in your talk, but the are not strict absolutes -- merely a starting points that inform your prep work.


  • Small Crowd (under 15 people)
    • It's probably a meeting
    • A conversational approach works best
    • Interactivity is key
    • Time management can be harder since folks are more likely to pursue tangents and cross talk
    • Group dynamics play a big role
    • They might make a decision
  • Medium Crowd (15-50 people)
    • Likely a class or educational seminar
    • Small group activities are more practical
    • Speaker appears to be an authority figure
    • Sessions can run multiple hours
  • Large Crowd (51-100 people)
    • Presentation is more formal
    • Small group activities are less practical
    • Folks will help you control the room
    • Need to determine if you are addressing all of them or a subset of them
  • Auditorium (100+)
    • Beyond 100 people the crowd tends to blur together
    • Often lights block most of the crowd
    • Allow time for humor to work
    • Timing is critical
    • Clothes should accommodate a mic pack
    • Stage location may be important


The key with any talk is to get the information you need ahead of time so you can bring the right sized talk to the right sized crowd.


Call To Action


  • What's the toughest size crowd for you? How do you adapt to crowd size? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Build checklists for your next talk.
  • Subscribe to 2-Minute Talk Tips for free in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode.
  • Don't get best...get better.


Check out this episode!


Episode 025 -- Meet Aphasia Researcher Reva Zimmerman


I met Reva back in October when I first joined the Young Adult Stroke Survivors group. She is a doctoral student at the University of Washington studying aphasia. She also coordinates the UW student volunteers who help make the YASS meetings function and ensure a pleasant experience for attendees, be they survivors, caregivers, or guest speakers.

We met up last week at the Wayward Coffee House on a bright summer day. I secured a good parking spot on the street. Reva trekked over on her bike and we found some comfy seats in the back. We geeked out about language and the work Reva does while surrounded by Firefly, Star Trek, and Star Wars stuff. This might be my new favorite coffee shop to record at.

Many stroke survivors live with aphasia and struggle to communicate. Speech Therapists, like Reva, help folks recover those language skills, but they also do so much more. They help with memory and cognition. They even help with fundamental human functions like swallowing and breathing. The field is incredibly complex and fascinating.

Did you ever wonder about the difference among aphasia, apraxia, and dyarthria? We cover it here.

Reva's Bio

Reva M Zimmerman

Reva Zimmerman headshot

Research Assistant, Doctoral Student


University of British Columbia, MSc in Speech-Language Pathology

University of Washington, BS in Speech and Hearing Sciences

University of Washington, BA in Linguistics


Reva M. Zimmerman, MSc, CCC-SLP, is a PhD student and research associate on the Clinical TALSA study in the Aphasia Research Lab. She currently serves as a research associate on a multi-site study to create a clinical test of verbal short-term memory in aphasia (PI Nadine Martin, Ph.D., Temple University). She also recently completed work on a study exploring conflict resolution and short-term memory in aphasic comprehension (PI Malcolm McNeil, Ph.D., VA Pittsburgh). Reva also coordinates UW student volunteers for the Young Adult Stroke Survivor group. In her free time, she enjoys chasing her preschooler, dancing, and engaging in activities to uplift students of color at the UW.


Links from Episode 025

Reva M Zimmerman Email 1


Reva M Zimmerman Email 2


Reva's Profile


University of Washington Aphasia Research Lab


Northwest Aphasia Registry and Repository


Wayward Coffee House


Strokecast Episode 7 -- Meet Gerrit Barrere


Seattle Young Adult Stroke Survivors Group


University of Washington Speech and Hearing Services on Facebook


University of Washington
Speech and Hearing Services Blog


Where do we go from here?

  • What did you think about our chat? Let us know in the comments below.
  • If you live with aphasia in the Pacific Northwest, or care for someone who does, check out the Northwest Aphasia Registry and Repository. If you live elsewhere, check with local Universities for research opportunities.
  • Share this episode with a friend, colleague or relative by giving the link http://strokecast.com/reva
  • Don't get best...get better


Image used to evaluate cognitive skills that CurrentlyBill described as 1956

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 073 -- Connect with your Audience and Meet NursePreneur Catie Harris


2-Minute Tip: Connect with your Audience


Often you don't need to adopt a high energy approach and dance around the stage. Focus instead on making a connection with your audience. Share stories. Help them see the things they have in common with you. That makes your presentation more credible and memorable.


Post Tip Discussion: Meet NursePreneur Catie Harris


I connected initially with Catie Harris through the work I do with Strokecast.


Catie has a background in nursing, specializing in neuro patients, like stroke survivors. After working in a clinical setting for years she decided to leverage that experience to pursue other opportunities in transitional care, and now in helping other nurses pursue the next chapter of their lives as business owners. Speaking has played a key role in her career both at the hospital and in her current endeavors.


Theses are the 4 most important lessons to come out of this episode:


  1.  Speaking helps establish your credibility. If you want to be seen as an expert, looking for and accepting speaking opportunities is a great way to do it.
  2. The worst of the speaking anxiety is before you start talking. Once you start, for many folks it goes away. It's one reason I recommend memorizing your intro.
  3. The stories you tell are how you connect with your audience and are the things they will remember most.
  4. Begin with the end in mind. Figure out your goal and build the rest of the talk around that.


Relevant Links



Call To Action


  • What are your thoughts on Catie's story? Share them in the comments below.
  • Check out CatieHarris.com to learn more about Catie and her NursePreneur Training Program.
  • Share this episode with friends and colleagues through email, social media, or text message by sending the the link http://2minutetalktips.com/catie
  • Connect with your audience through storytelling.
  • Don't get best...get better.


Check out this episode!


Episode 024 -- Meet Mark French

Produced in Washington, DC, A Teachable Moment focuses on four local survivors that represent the greater story of stroke in the United States. LAI Video also speaks with loved ones and medical experts to clearly describe the disease, its debilitating impact and the tangible steps anyone can take to reduce the risk of a stroke. The documentary uses contemporary animation to better illustrate the science behind stroke, available treatments and preventable risk factors.

I first heard about “A Teachable Moment” through an article on StrokeSmart.org.   This is a film about four DC-are stroke survivors and their experiences as the go through this life changing event.

The film premiered in Washington, DC, on May 17, and is available to groups interested in hosting a private screening.

If this seems familiar, it's because I talked about this movie back in Episode 014 with Anne Dailey, one of the featured survivors.

This week, I speak with Mark French. Mark is not only one of the other featured survivors. His organization produced the film.

Here is the trailer:


Our discussion included Mark's story, why he made the film, the importance of sharing stories and an introduction to AFib.


Relevant Links

Where do we go from here?


Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 072 -- Use a Big Face and How to Memorize a Speech


2-Minute Tip


Much of the communication we have with folks is non-verbal, and facial expressions play a big part in that.


When we conduct a presentation, though, we lose much of that subtlety because we are further from our audience. Instead of 2 feet away we are 10 or 20 feet away. To make up for that, we need to use much bigger and more dramatic facial expressions. Smile bigger. Open your eyes wider. Exaggerate your head tilt.


In practice it may feel like you are going too far and becoming silly. That's okay. Your probably still not going far enough.


When you use bigger expressions on stage, folks will see you as more lively and will pick up more on your meaning, even if they're not sure why.


Post Tip Discussion: How to Memorize a Speech


Generally -- don't. Don't memorize, internalize. Know your material well enough that you can generate the speech each time you rehearse or give it.


Of course there are some parts you should memorize.

  • Intro
  • Conclusion
  • Structure
  • Quotes.


There are some excellent reasons not to memorize the rest.


  • Lot of work. Rehearsal is a better use of your time.
  • A brain freeze where you go blank is more likely.
  • Getting back where you belong if you lose your place is tougher.
  • You're more likely to sound robotic.
  • It's harder to adapt if something changes at the last minute


That said, sometimes the detailed script matters a lot more, whether that's due to an approval process, legal/financial disclosure, crisis management, or some other reason. Business reason sometimes demand strict adherence to the text. In that case, follow these 8 steps to memorize your talk.

  1. Be one of the script writers.
  2. Don't start memorizing until the final version.
  3. Read the whole thing out loud.
  4. Memorize the structure.
  5. Repeat the structure until you have it memorized
  6. Go paragraph by paragraph, memorizing in pairs - 1 and 2, then 2 and 3, then 3 and 4, etc.
  7. Repeat the whole thing from memory.
  8. Record yourself reading it and play it back in the background to lock it in.


Then you can move on to rehearsals.


Call to Action


  • Don't memorize, internalize
  • If you do have to memorize, what steps do you use? Let us know in the comments here.
  • Use big facial expressions.
  • Share this episode with a colleague and subscribe to 2-Minute Talk Tips in your favorite podcast app.
  • Don't get best...get better.

Check out this episode!


Episode 023 -- Work Analogies

The medical and stroke industries can be complicated places. They have arcane jargon and complicated processes. And that's important. The detailed knowledge and industry shorthand helps folks within the field communicate quickly and clearly with each other to provide the best care possible. It's just different from what non-medical folks deal with.

But is it really all that different? What I'm finding in my personal experience is that it has a lot more in common with my own field of Adult Learning & Development, sales skills training, and brand evangelism.

For example, the corporate training field and the PT, OT, and Speech fields are all focused on helping folks develop or relearn skills and abilities. We're all working to rewire the brain so the learner/patient can do things they couldn't do before. The therapists rely more on rote memory and process repetition than the corporate trainers due, but it seems like there's an opportunity to study how best practices in each field can help the other.

The ADDIE model is the traditional way instructional designers build learning content.It also applies to the way medical teams put together treatment plans for rehab.

A -- Analyze the opportunity.

What are we working with? What do we want to accomplish? What are the current capabilities of the learner/patient? What resources/limitations do we have to work with? How much time do we have?

D -- Design the program.

Based on the analysis, what sort of program is most appropriate? When and where will we deliver it? What tools will be part of it? What content will we include?

D -- Develop the content/plan.

Assemble the content and build the list of exercises and procedures. Who does what when? Build out the details of the plan

I -- Implement the plan.

Execute the training or treatment plan.

E -- Evaluate the results.

Did we achieve the results we set out to achieve? Did the different elements work the way we wanted them to? What did the learner/patient think? What worked well and what didn't work well? What should we do differently in the future?

It's not just the training model that overlaps with the medical field. It's also the sales model.

My OT the other day talked about "affordances." An affordance is what something does for you. For example a chair might be made from metal or vinyl and that could be the physical description. That's not the important part, though. What really matters is what the chair affords you the opportunity to do -- to sit and rest.

I had never heard that term before, but in sales we talk about the same concept -- benefits. When selling computers, I teach people not to focus the the processor and RAM. That stuff doesn't matter. Focus instead on what that product does for the customer. How does it benefit them? How does it make there life better? How does it help them solve a problem or make their life better? That's the stuff that actually matters. The specs just support that.

When it comes to therapy, I don't really care about my finger extensors. What I care about is being able to open my hand and release my grip on command.

I don't care about my quads or my hamstrings. I care about being able to get myself someplace quickly, easily, safely, and painlessly.

I care about what those muscles afford me the opportunity to do. I care about how they benefit me.


I recently launched a Strokecast page on Facebook. You'll find reposts of these episodes and blog posts there. I'm also publishing Facebook Live videos there for more off the cuff discussion.

Check it out here and click the Like button.

Here's a sample: https://www.facebook.com/StrokeCast/videos/241473476461024/

Hack of the week

One challenge when I'm I'm running errands or getting coffee is that I have only one functional hand, and it's usually holding my cane. If I need to pick something up, where do I put my cane?

I picked up a cane clip that I move from cane-to-cane depending on my mood. You can find the one I uses here (affiliate link).

It makes it easy to hang my cane on my belt, waist band, or even pocket so I can pick up my coffee at the counter and carry it to my table without dropping my cane in the process.

Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 071 -- Zoom In and Read Ted Talks: The Official Guide to Public Speaking

2-Minute Tip: Zoom In


With you present during a webinar, there are lots of things to consider. I talked about several of them way back in Episode 014.


This week, I add to that list by suggesting you zoom in the web cam tighter on your face. This will block some of the clutter in your background and it will make it easier for the camera to focus and get the exposure right. Plus it helps emphasize the personal connection folks try to achieve by being on camera.


That doesn't mean your face should fill the entire frame to the edges; that would be creepy.Too many presenters pull back too far, though.


You can see my example in the Facebook Live videos I've been doing for me other show. Take a look here.


Post Tip Discussion: Read Ted Talks: The Official Guide to Public Speaking


Chris Anderson, the owner of the TED conference wrote this book of advice for TED speakers. While we shouldn't try to turn every speech into a TED Talk, there is still a lot of good advice in here that long-time listeners of this show will recognize.

  • It's not about you.
  • It is about your message.
  • Bad slides are worse than no slides.
  • Know your goal.
  • Practice and rehearse.


Those all appear in the book(affliate link) in various incarnations


The book also contains stories and anecdotes about past TED speakers. Some named and some (mercifully) unnamed. There's also some history of the conference and how it evolved the way it did.


It's an entertaing and informative book. Check it out from your library, or order from your favorite bookstore (affiliate link).


Call To Action



Check out this episode!


Episode 022 -- Meet Craig Martin, The Online Busker

A few weeks ago, I was visiting the Reddit Stroke forum (r/stroke) and saw some posts from The Online Busker. I checked out his site, and thought his music was great so I invited him on the show.


Craig was a professional musician and guitarist before his stroke. He made a nice living playing in the bars and restaurants of Portugal and Gran Canaria. He moved to the Spanish mainland and began teaching English in Salamanca. When his stroke happened he had to make some decisions.


Craig worked to relearn how to play guitar. He adopted several strategies, including the use of double-stick tape. You can see the results in this video, and you can see a whole lot more over at OnlineBusker.net


During our chat, Craig also talked about one of his more popular videos with some tips for playing guitar after a stroke.You can check that out here.

Craig wanted to help others with his music. On his website, you can tip his virtual guitar case. Half of all the funds he raises there go to the World Stroke Organization.

One thing that has made Craig successful in recovering as many of his abilities as he has is that he set a goal of producing and publishing his performances. The public goal of doing that creates a level of commitment to others that means you HAVE to do the work. That approach drove him to practice, rehearse, and record.

Links from Today

Hack of the Week

Craig, born in Manchester England suggested using cell-o-tape to tape a pen into your writing hand. It can be a great way to start writing with an affected hand.

In the US, I believe cell-o-tape would translate to Scotch tape. I imagine referring to Scotch tape in the UK would be more complicated.

This also makes the appearance of spell-o-tape in the Harry Potter novels more sensible.

Where do we go from here?


Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 070 -- Speak about your Fire and Meet Dr. Melissa Bird


2-Minute Tip -- Know the thing that lights you on fire


Melissa Bird explains that the key to success is to know what lights you on fire. When you know that fire and can speak to your passion, it becomes so much easier to let your voice through regardless of the audience size.


But how do you figure out what your fire is if you don't already know? Here's where I think pen and paper and a quiet corner or coffee shop can help.


Give yourself 15 minutes and write down the answers to these questions. Don't worry about getting it "right" or making it presentable. All you want is ink or graphite on paper.

  • What do you talk about with friends?
  • What do you post about most on social media?
  • What angers you most in the news?
  • What is your go-to advice for folks?


Odds are something you are passionate about will be on that list.


That's great for personal stuff, but I know most folks want to improve their speaking skill at work and prefer to keep politics and life issues separate because they may not be directly related to your quarterly sales presentation or negotiating skills seminar. That's fine. Simply at "at work" to each of those questions and the exercise will still help. It will help you identify the issues at work you most need to speak about.


Post-Tip Discussion


Melissa Bird HeadshotMelissa Bird, PhD, MSW is a passionate feminist whose education in social work has led to a career advocating for children, women, and their families. She is a fierce believer in social justice advocacy and preparing women for leadership roles in politics. She has a wealth of experience working with policy makers, community leaders, and other stakeholders to improve access to reproductive health care for women, men and teens.


As a writer, professor and fiery public speaker, Dr. Bird creates the genesis for a new brand of leadership. Her words awaken revolutionaries, trailblazers and powerful innovators in the quest for justice. When she’s not building her public speaking Empire, she can be found reading trashy novels, drinking fine whiskey, playing mom to three delicious humans, and loving her punk rock scientist James Thomas Kelly.


I met Melissa Through Melanie Childers who you heard from in episode 68.



Melissa's experience with speaking began with dealing with tremendous speaking anxiety in high school, in front of an audience of 15 other students. A great teacher helped her through it and pushed her to succeed, providing the basic tools she needed for success.


Melissa would later go on to speak at political rallies to audiences large and small, to conferences for social workers, and to anywhere she could share message of social justice or finding your voice.



We also talked a lot about Facebook live. Melissa regularly uses the platform to connect with her audience and to work out ideas and thoughts she may want to talk about in the future. It's a fascinating platform that frequently draws a larger audience than expected.



The discussion has me thinking about ways to incorporate Facebook Live into 2-Minute Talk Tips and Strokecast. After show, anyone?


Links related to this Episode



Call To Action


  • What do you think about finding your voice or working things out through Facebook Live? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Would you like to share your literal voice? Leave a message at 650-TalkTip (650-825-5847)
  • To share this episode on Facebook or the social media platform of your choice, click the icon below, or just copy and paste this link: http://2minutetalktips.com/birdgirl
  • To learn more about Melissa's work or to work with her, head on over to birdgirlindustries.com.
  • Make sure you speak about the topics that light you on fire.
  • Don't get best…get better.


Check out this episode!


Episode 021 -- New Stroke Basics

As Emilee said last week, no one plans to have a stroke. When it does happen it's scary and complicated. In addition to the medical stuff, there's also the bureaucracy around finances and family roles that get turned upside down.I see a lot of questions and topics coming up on online support groups on Facebook, Reddit, and other places. I want to talk about some of that stuff this week to provide some reassurance and a base of knowledge from which folks can then ask more specific questions.

If anything I say, conflicts with the professional medical advice you receive, listen to your doctor -- not that guy on the internet.

As a caregiver with a stroke survivor you have to remember to breathe and take care of yourself. Emilee talked about that last week, and Dr. Lorig talked about it the week before.

After a stroke the brain is damaged. The only question is how damaged it is. Early treatment for a clot-based stroke can minimize the damage and speed up the recovery, as we saw with Anne Dailey in episode 14. In my  case, I was outside the window for clot treatment so I still have more physical limitations.

Regardless, the brain is traumatized. It may have been starved of blood or drowned in blood. It's swollen. It may have have had a cable run into it from the thigh. The hospital environment is new and stressful. Parts have gone dark. Systems have gone off line. It's likely swollen in the skull.

It may take hours, days, or weeks to know the full extent.

Because there are so many variables in stroke from person to person and in each brain there are quadrillions of nerve connections that can be impacted, every stroke is different. Just like every person is different. Drawing comparisons between stroke survivors is likely problematic. There are some things we can keep in mind, though.

Sleep is more important than ever. When we sleep, the brain doesn't shut down. It cleans up and rebuilds. It's like closing the freeway at night for major construction. A stroke survivor will often need more sleep than before, especially in the immediate aftermath of a stroke. 

Some folks may struggle with sensory processing. When they're not able to filter out most of the data we filter out every day, too much sound and too many people and too much light can be overwhelming and exhausting. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor talks about this experience in her book, "My Stroke of Insight." It a great read for survivors, and it's probably even a better read for those around the survivor. You can find it here (affiliate link) or at your library.

Emotional Lability or Pseudo Bulbar Effect is also a thing many stroke survivors deal with, and it can be scary to those close to them. I talked about this with Gerrit in episode 7. It manifests as crying at the slightest emotional reaction or laughing at completely inappropriate times. Just because a stroke survivor is crying, though, doesn't mean they are sad. They might be, or they might not. It's just a physical reaction to the brain working hard. Sometimes in PT sessions, I would start crying as a result, even though I felt perfectly fine. Sometimes it lasts weeks. Sometimes longer. Medication can also help

After stroke, recovery starts immediately. It may not be fast or easy, but it does start. The key is to focus on the work. it takes thousands of repetitions to relearn a skill. There's a community to help.

Connect with a local support group, or find an online group. There are a bunch of Facebook groups and even a group on Reddit. There are several stroke support podcasts, too. Most groups welcome both survivors and caregivers.

More than 800,000 folks have a stroke each year in the US. You are unique, and your stroke is unique, but you're not alone.

Hack of the Week

Dycem (affiliate link) is a rubbery-plasticy material that is one of the Occupational Therapist's best friends. There's no adhesive, but it's super sticky. You can find it on Amazon (affiliate link), in OT catalogs, and probably medical supply stores. You can usually ask your friendly neighborhood OT for a piece and they can likely hook you up.

I use it most often for yogurt. The problem with eating yogurt one-handed is that the container slides around whenever I stick the spoon in. So I lay a piece of Dycem on the table, put the yogurt on top, and it doesn't slide around. Really, it works great for anything I don't want sliding around.

It's washable, too. I've been using the same 8x8 piece for more than 6 months now.

If you want to make it pretty, you can even use fancy scissors to cut patterns into it, and make sticky doilies or snowflakes.

Where do we go from here?

  • What was your early experience like as a stroke survivor or caregiver? What do you wish you knew early on? Let us know in the comment below or click here.
  • Consider picking up a roll of Dycem for yourself, or ask your OT.
  • Share this episode with someone else who may find it helpful. Tell them to go to strokecast.com/newstroke.
  • Don't get best...get better.


Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 069 -- 3 Tips and Meet Pradeepa Narayanaswamy

2-Minute Tip: 3-Fer


This week's tip comes from our special guest, Pradeepa Narayanaswamy and is a 3-pack of tips.


  1. Wear comfortable clothes. That doesn't necessarily mean loose. It means clothes in which you feel comfortable and powerful.
  2. Practice power poses and do vocal warm ups before going on stage. You can check out Amy Cuddy's work for more details on poses. For vocal exercises, go ahead and make sounds and loosen up to get comfortable. You can even step into the bathroom before you speak to do this. Bonus: you may end up with an entire public restroom to yourself as you make theses sounds to loosen up.
  3. When someone asks if you're nervous, say instead, "I'm excited." Even announce on stage how excited you are. The body responds similarly to nervousness and excitement so embrace the mindset that best prepares you for success.


Post Tip Discussion: Meet Pradeepa Narayanaswamy


Pradeep Narayanaswamy headshot

Pradeepa is a corporate trainer, speaker, and fertility coach whose mission in life is "to help men's women's, and couples' infertility journey suck less."

 We talk about how she group up in the public speaking world, first learning by watching her father, and later being coached by him when she entered the world of competitive speech. She developed a natural rhythmic style that came through as we spoke. It's one of the things that makes Pradeepa a compelling speaker.

 She brought those skills to her new found passion as a fertility coach. This is not a journey anyone seeks out. It's the result of her own, long struggle with infertility. She talks about the details and heartbreak of these struggles over at the Biz Babes with Soul podcast.


Conferences have played an important part in Pradeepa's evolution from developing new skills and understanding around the importance of listening to giving her an opportunity to experiment with branding and publicly embracing her new identity.

 We also talk about the challenges of talking about a subject many folks don't want to talk about publicly, and how Pradeepa benefited from doing just that.

So take a few minutes this week, and get to know the fascinating Pradeepa Narayanaswamy.


This week's links



Call To action


  • What are your thoughts on this week's episode? Have you found yourself speaking about taboo subjects from stage? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Check out Pradeepa's site for more information or to learn how you can work with her.
  • Do you listen to 2-Minute Talk Tips on an Apple device? Visit the Apple Podcasts store to leave us a rating or review
  • Don't get best...get better.


Check out this episode!


Episode 020 -- Meet Emilee Mason

This week, I talk with Emilee Mason. Emilee was one of the OTs I worked with when I was in the hospital. She's one of the folks who helped me get my arm moving again and helped me develop some of the new life skills I would need, like how to get into the shower.

We met up at a local Starbucks (I should figure out how to get them to sponsor this) and had a wide ranging conversation that covered topics like:

  • What is OT?
  • Motivating patients
  • Dealing with unruly patients
  • Caring for caregivers
  • What happens when a medical provider becomes a patient


Hack of the Week

If you have trouble with using a wash cloth in the shower, try an oven mitt instead. Instead of trying to grip it with the affected had, simple slip your hand into it so you can still bathe with that affected hand.


Where do we go from here?

  • Do you want to hear more interviews like this? Let me know in the comments below.
  • If you listen on an iPhone or other Apple device, you can help the show by heading over to the Apple Podcast store and leaving a rating or review for Strokecast.
  • Try using an oven mitt if you struggle to hold a wash cloth.
  • Don't get best...get better.


Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 068 -- Raise Your Energy and Meet Melanie Childers

2-Minute Tip: Raise Your Energy


One of the most powerful things you can do to conduct an effective presentation is to raise your energy and dominate your stage. There are a lot of ways you can do that. You can channel your inner Lady Gaga or try running in place. Regardless of how you do it, a high energy level will put you in a position to let your message burst through.


Post-Tip Discussion: Meet Melanie Childers

Melanie Childers Headshot

Melanie is a coach focused on helping progressive women run for political office or other wise change the world through advocacy. Her own experience surviving cancer helped her chart this new path to make her world a better place.

We have a wide-ranging discussion this week that covers topics like confidence, focusing on a message, the challenges women face in running for office that often men do not, the nature of neuroplasticity, depression, suicide, authenticity, and mindset to name a few.

I first encountered Melanie through Lyn Henderson's Inside Knowledge podcast. It was a great discussion so I had to invite her on 2-Minute Talk Tips.

As I spoke with Melanie this week, Mario Porreca 2 weeks ago, and next week's guest, one theme that comes through is the importance of controlling and choosing your mindset. To be successful, you first have to believe you can be successful. The other common theme is the importance of authenticity -- of sharing a message you can believe it. When speaking from the heart, the discussion is less about yourself, or, rather, your ego. It let's the audience more fully experience your story.

We mentioned a number of resources this week. Here is a collection of those links.



Call To Action


  • What are your thoughts on running for office or otherwise using public speaking to change the world? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Check out Melanie's website and services at The Enlightened Bad-ass.
  • Do you know someone who might benefit from this episode? Share this link with them: http://2minutetalktips.com/Melanie
  • Raise your energy before your next talk.
  • Don't get best...get better.



Check out this episode!


Episode 019 -- Meet Dr. Kate Lorig

This week, I talk with Dr. Kate Lorig, about her new book, Building Better Caregivers.
Image of the book cover for Building Better Caregivers

I learned about the book from Dr. Danbi Lee, an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Washington, and a contributing author, through our work with the Seattle Young Adult Stroke Survivors group.

The book is a collection of tools to help caregivers more effectively care for both survivors and themselves. The resources and advice are accessible and practical.

It covers a wide variety of topics including:

  • How to run a family meeting
  • How to ask for help
  • Different types of mobility aids and adaptive gear
  • Understanding behavioral issues
  • Exercise
  • … and much more.

Some of the advice that sticks out most for me is that to support a caregiver, don't just ask what you can do to help. Instead offer a specific form of assistance.

Kate has been working in this space for years and through the Self Management Resource Center has put together a number of programs around Building Better Caregivers. She even work with the Veterans Administration on an interactive, online program that Veterans or their caregivers should check out.

Here are the assorted links and resources we talked about this week.

Buy the book https://www.bullpub.com/catalog/Building-Better-Caregivers
Dr. Kate Lorig on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Lorig
Dr. Kate Lorig at Stanford https://profiles.stanford.edu/kate-lorig
Building Better Caregivers Program https://www.selfmanagementresource.com/programs/small-group/building/
VA Building Better Caregivers Program https://va.buildingbettercaregivers.org/
Self-Management Resource Center https://www.selfmanagementresource.com/
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging https://www.n4a.org/

Hack of the Week

Some of the best tips are also the simplest. Kate reminds us to simple breathe. When the stress starts to build and situations start to become overwhelming, it can be surprising helpful to just take a moment, take a few deep breaths, and recenter yourself. It won't solve the problem, but it will help put you in the right mindset to solve the problem.

Where do we go from here?

  • Check out the book for yourself or pick one up as a gift for a caregiver you know.
  • If you are a caregiver, prepare a list of tasks ahead of time that you would like help with so you're ready when someone offers assistance.
  • If you want to help a caregiver, offer specific assistance.
  • When things get stressful, breathe.
  • Subscribe to Strokecast in Apple Podcasts, the new Google Podcast App, or wherever you get your podcasts.
  • Don't get best...get better.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 067 -- Poll the Audience and the Power of Limits

2-Minute Tip: Poll the Audience


A simple way to increase audience engagement and inter action is to poll the audience. Ask them if they've had some sort of experience, like dealing with a tough customer or a misunderstanding with a boss. You already know the answer (probably) so you can use that to lead right in to your next point.


When you poll the audience be sure to tell the how to answer. Do you want the to say, "Yes!" Or do you want them to clap? Or do you want them to nod silently? If you don't make the choice for them, you never know what you'll get. 


A great choice is to ask them to raise their hand. And demonstrate this behavior when you ask for it. This way you get them moving physically plus you get points for using gestures.


Post Tip Discussion: The Power of Limits


People often think they want total freedom, and it's a nice idea. In reality, though, we do our best and most creative work within constraints or within limits. Those limits force us to make the best use of an available workspace. Instead of infinite options that are impossible to sort through, we have finite ones from which we can make our best selections.


When preparing a talk, the most important limit is our goal. By defining our goal, we establish the framework all our other topics must fit into. If a point we think we want to make doesn't support our goal, it's gone. Get rid of it. It's irrelevant to our topic and will only waste everyone's time. Plus the audience will think the speaker is rambling and boring.


Other important limits on our talks include the environment we will speak in. It's why we need to ask things like:

  • Where will I be speaking?
  • Who will I be speaking to?
  • How much time do I have?
  • What AV gear is available?
  • When will I be speaking
  • …and much more.


Too much choice is problematic. In Robert Cialdini's book Influence (affiliate link), he talk about a jam selling experiment. When a store increased the varieties of jam customers could choose from, sales went down. When they took away choices, sales went up.


Too many choices paralyzes us. We are afraid of making the wrong choice. Of being embarrassed. 


Working within certain limits empowers us to do our best work.


Call To Action


  • What are your thoughts on the power of limits? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Share this episode with a colleague and ask them their thoughts about limits. Or about Madonna.
  • Poll the audience during your next talk.
  • Don't get best...get better.

Check out this episode!