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!