World of Speakers E.89: Laurie Schloff | Create your speaker soup


Average: 5 (1 vote)

World of Speakers E.89: Laurie Schloff | Create your speaker soup

Ryan Foland speaks with Laurie Schloff, a leadership speech and communication coach. She is also the president of Partners in Communication.

In this episode of our podcast series, Ryan and Laurie talk about the recipe to the perfect talk; ingredients that are needed to create the perfect speaking soup and then how to best serve it to your audience.  

One of the key messages in this interview is to sprinkle your talk with the 4 E’s; evidence, example, experiences and editorial. 

Tune in for an interview full of ideas and advice on how to create your speaker soup.

Listen to the interview on iTunes or Soundcloud.

Subscribe to World of Speakers on iTunes or Soundcloud.


Welcome to the World of Speakers podcast, brought to you by SpeakerHub. 

In each episode, we interview a professional speaker and reveal their very best tips and tricks. 

You'll learn to improve your presentation skills, keep your audience engaged, and learn how to grow your business to get more gigs and make more money. 

Here is your host, Ryan Foland. 

Ryan Foland: Ahoy, everyone. My name is Ryan Foland. 

This is the World of Speakers podcast and you are in for a treat because today I have Laurie Schloff. 

And she is the president of Partners in Communication. 

She's a communication coach and a presentation coach, and today she is going to be your coach, she will be my coach as we explore what she can add to this World of Speakers. 

Laurie, good morning, good afternoon, or good night, depending on where you are in the world. 

Laurie Schloff: Hello everyone around the world!

Ryan Foland: How are you doing today?

Laurie Schloff: I feel very blessed. I am from Boston, brr brr brr shiver. I somehow managed to get myself to Florida, so I feel very blessed to be in the warm weather.

Ryan Foland: Well, I am here in what is typically sunny Long Beach, California but it is windy and cold, so I also feel you on the brr-ness. 

But, hey, you know what— weather is a great way to start the conversation. 

Laurie Schloff: It is. 

Ryan Foland: So is a story. 

And so I always like to kick off the show by getting to know a guest a little bit more from a single, standalone moment in your life; a single story that if I was going to talk to you about somebody and they're like, 

"Who is this Laurie person?" 

I'd be like, "This one time—" Fill in the story. 

So what's one story that you can think of?

Laurie Schloff: Okay, so one very pivotal story that told me about myself was when I was a little girl, I'm going to say around 10 years old, my friends and I were Beatlemaniacs. 

Now, Ryan, do you know what a Beatlemaniac is?

Ryan Foland: Yeah, not the bug, but the actual band, correct?

Laurie Schloff: Yes, we were among those screaming girls.

Okay, fast forward— the Beatles had arrived in the United States on February 9th, 1964. 

Well, of course, on February 9th, 1965 it was the first year anniversary of the Beatles' arrival in the United States. 

Well, we decided to go to the nearest metropolis which is Elizabeth, New Jersey, 10 times bigger than the little town we grew up in and we're marching along, it's 4 of us, I'm carrying John and my friend's carrying Paul, and another person's carrying Ringo, big, big posters. 

And I say, "Girls, let's make the news.” 

I march the other 3 little girls into the offices of the Elizabeth daily journal newspaper, probably one in the top 5 of biggest newspapers in New Jersey, walk into the newsroom with all these old guys smoking cigars and I say, 

"We're news." 

And we ended up on the front page of the community news section the next day.

Ryan Foland: All right. 

So a few things we can digest and dissect from that. 

You are definitely a leader, you're in the pack, you have no problem getting yourself in front and in the limelight. 

You're an opportunist to where you see situations unfold and even though you're with the crowd, you're actually leaving a little mini crowd. 

I would assume that these girls were maybe not as gregarious or type A as you but you probably brought them along with you and showed the leadership that brought them along. 

We know you like music, the fact that you love the Beatles gives you a lot of credibility there. 

So what is your favorite Beatles song?

Laurie Schloff: There's one, I don't know if all of you have heard it, called "Across the Universe," if not, look it up. 

Because the lyrics are very, very beautiful, don't ask me to sing it right now, let's stick to my talents. 

But look that up, "Across the Universe."

Ryan Foland: Okay. Well, hey, that sounds like a good theme for World of Speakers. 

So was my 25 cents psychological analysis on your story pretty accurate? 

Are you the go-getter that I described, does that story represent who you are?

Laurie Schloff: Yeah, you're totally right. 

There is a part of me, I get very excited by being on, maybe it's a shot of adrenaline or whatever. 

Now, folks, I'm not saying I've never been nervous about speaking, I am saying though that when it's working, or when I'm doing TV or a podcast, it's so energizing for me, it's among my favorite moments in my life.

So there you are, you're among my favorite moments in my life, except for when I went to Shea Stadium twice to see the Beatles.

Ryan Foland: Okay, okay, good, good, I'm glad I'm in the top 3. 

Hey, well my goal is to make this episode top 3 of the almost a 100 World of Speakers podcasts that we have here. 

So I want to dive into this energy, this excitement, this rush, this emotional high that you get when you're on. 

Because you help other people tap into that, correct? 

Laurie Schloff: Yes. I help people get to the next level. 

Now, sometimes that means eliminating some of the stress reactions that also was associated with a rush of hormones, but they're the bad kind of hormones that we don't want rushing, so the cortisol, the adrenaline that we interpret as fear. 

So which is another whole interesting thing about the chemical reaction, we can have the same reaction when we're seeing a bear coming to us as when we're falling in love, as when we're about to go on stage. 

So I help people to get to the next level. 

And for people who want to be out there as speakers, look, we're not going to love it each time, we're all going to confess to that, I'm sure you don't like every single moment of every single thing you do, Ryan. 

But I do want my clients to get to the point where number one they love what they're going to say, they love the connection with the audience, and they're pretty darn pleased with their delivery.

Well, that's hard for people. Most people see themselves on video or hear themselves on audio, they basically have a great big, yuck. 

Ryan Foland: Okay, so I've got a little bit of structure now that we can follow based on what you just said. 

You help people love what it is that they're saying, you help people to love the connections that they make, and you hope to help them love their delivery. 

So let's break down each one of those with some key components and specific advice on how anyone listening can up their game. 

Tell me first about loving what you say. 

I thought you were going to say loving what you do, but I like this little spin on it. 

So talk to me about that from an advice standpoint to our listeners?

Laurie Schloff: Oh, okay, I'm glad I had a little twist there. 

Do the words that you use, the structure that you're in, the flow, the transitions, perhaps, and I suggest the interaction give you a thrill?

It gives you a feeling that you know it's right. 

Now, I'm pretty ingredients and techniques oriented so what are some of the ingredients? 

I'm going to teach you, folks out there, the 4 E's. 

The 4 E's are the 4 extras you can add to a talk to make your talk extraordinary, beyond ordinary. 

And these are easy, but remember them, because you want to sprinkle your talk with these 4 E's. 

Ryan Foland: What are real quick, you said it was easy, so is easy number 5, or is that just—?

Laurie Schloff: Thank you, I am always open to revision. 

Ryan Foland: It was funny because you're starting with the 4 E's and then you said easy, so I didn't know if that was the first one.

Laurie Schloff: That makes sense because it even has the E in it. See, I love this collaboration. 

Ryan Foland: All right, so let's get back to love what you say by the 4 or 5 E's, based on how you want to position it. 

Laurie Schloff: Yeah, whatever those are, and they are easy so that is the fifth. 

Alright, first, use evidence— facts, research, statistics. 

So I do want to be in the know, I want to be able to say that 70% of the world's population say that they're nervous about speaking to groups. 

That's a statistic, that's evidence. 

The second E is example

Don't bore me and just tell me about fruit, tell me about Kiwis and Kumquats, and pass around that hairy little Kumquat.

So the more specific, the better the example. 

The third E is kind of ramping up a bit from examples, and that is experiences or commonly called these days stories. 

So you're hired for a reason, so you have a point, maybe it's a business point, a motivational point. 

Then embellish it— oh, another E there. 

Embellish it with a story. 

So I don't want to just say, "I help people overcome their nervousness." 

I want to tell a story. 

So last week I worked with a woman who was just promoted to vice president in her growing software company. 

She worked so hard, she was so nervous Ryan, she worked one on one, she worked in a small group, she also listened to a relaxation tape I made for her, and she spoke at a company's virtual dinner last week and the president of the company said it was the best talk he had ever heard in the history of the company. 

Ryan Foland: And that's because she followed the E's, right?

Laurie Schloff: That's an example of an experience, I know this is getting not too easy.

Ryan Foland: Wait, wait, no, that was instead of inception this is Eseption right here. 

Laurie Schloff: Oh, gosh, here I go, he wants to be eseptional. 

Alrighty, so far we have used evidence, used examples, used experiences, like I just told about that software lady who got promoted and she's a superstar now as a speaker. 

And then the fourth E is the word editorial

Editorial means go out on a limb, give a perspective, give an opinion, they're not hiring you for the big bucks or not so big bucks yet to just hear something they can get off a bookshelf. 

Have a point of view. 

So for example, I might say, 

"Some people feel that people who are nervous about speaking lack confidence. Well, I want to tell you it's not true. You can be a very confident person but not the greatest speaker in the world." 

So did you hear what I did? 

That's a Laurie opinion based on my experience. 

So the eccentric actress Shirley MacLaine said, 

"To get the fruit off the tree you have to go out on a limb." 

So don't be afraid to put out your philosophy.

Ryan Foland: Okay, so to love what you will be saying, you're talking about focusing on having real evidence, the facts they can back you up, this is the tree, this is not you climbing the tree, this is just establishing the tree, getting people to believe that there's a tree, proving to them that there's a tree that might have fruit on it. 

Then using examples you can probably tell the story about how someone else climbed the tree or how you climbed the tree, or how you discovered the tree.

Laurie Schloff: Examples are usually nonhuman. 

So they could be a photograph, they could be a demonstration where's the experience and stuff that everyone's talking about, the storytelling is more a human story. 

Does that make sense? 

Ryan Foland: It does, it does, that's a good distinction. 

And then with the editorial, you're up there, climbing the tree on the branch to say like, 

"This is my specific opinion on it." 

So my question for you is, we listed them out independently but I can assume that there's a lot of meddling between them, when an example might also include evidence, you might tailor that example to one of your own personal experiences, and through that, you have an opinion. 

Do you blend them all together in different variants or is it just you look at them separately?

Laurie Schloff: You know, some clients do want a formula. 

So I might say, "In a 15-minute talk make sure you have at least one of each."

Ryan Foland: Okay. 

Laurie Schloff: But you need to feel, "What kind of audience is this, is this more a very technical, logical audience?" 

They may want you to be heavy on the evidence. "Is this some more fun-loving, love to laugh at stories?" 

May be heavier on the experiences. 

But what I guess I could say to everybody is sprinkle your talk with all of these. 

Make sure in your 10 minutes, your 15 minutes, your 20 minutes you've done all the E's. 

Ryan Foland: Okay, now you mentioned audience in there, which is a great segue to talking about how you help people love their connection with the audience. 

What type of process do you go through? 

How do you help people discover, research, understand, and use what they know to implement strategy into delivering a talk?

Laurie Schloff: Well, let's start with some real basics. 

Do you use, for the speaker to ask herself, do you in your talk have stopping points for the listeners to jump in?

Ryan Foland: I would argue most likely they don't. 

Because it's a speech and they don't think of it as a conversation. 

So tell me more about that.

Laurie Schloff: Okay. 

I think you want stopping points at least every 5 to 7 minutes, I think the research shows especially, gosh, with the virtual communication, people are either multitasking or not paying attention, so make them want to pay attention. 

I could say, "For the next few minutes I'm going to talk about the 4 E's. Now you're going to have questions because this is all coming at you at once, I want each of you take out paper or your iPad, whatever and write down the question that you have."

So you want to get them mentally involved. 

If you don't have time for them literally to ask a question at the stopping point, at least say something mentally engaging. 

For example, "I'm going to stop for 20 seconds now. I'd like each of you to think I just shared the 4 E's, examples, evidence, experience, editorial. In your mind tell yourself what are you already good at, which of the E's are you strongest at?"

Ryan Foland: I like it and you know what I would call that Laurie?

Laurie Schloff: What, tell me?

Ryan Foland: Pulling the E brake.

Laurie Schloff: I love it! I love it, we can have an E brake. 

So, the whole point here is, I think it's the Chinese proverb, 

"Tell me something I'll forget, show me I'll remember, involve me and I understand." 

A couple of thousand years old maybe? 

So folks, get back to the interaction part. 

I think when we're starting out as speakers we're so focused on, "Is it good, am I good?" 

And we do sometimes forget to leave the time, leave the space for the listener to get involved.

Ryan Foland: I agree with you and I come from a family of educators. 

I work in higher education, I teach, I love the process of learning. 

Because for me teaching is a learning experience.

But one thing, I don't know if it's as old as that awesome proverb, but the concept in education is, "I do, we do, you do." 

So as a teacher, I'm going to show you how to do it and then I'm going to come over at your desk and I'm going to work with you and we're going to do it together. 

And then I'm going to step back and then you're going to do it by yourself. 

So it reminds me of that concept where, "I do, we do, you do." 

I always try to remind myself of that in classes and working with people in mentoring and even coaching.

Because if you show them, then they won't necessarily get it, right? 

They may forget it, per your proverb. 

And they might be too scared or not know how to do it by themselves, so working with them just to make sure they feel comfortable and then you push them out of the nest and hopefully, they'll fly kind of concept, right?

Laurie Schloff: Right. 

And I want to ask you a question because you interview so many different people. 

Do you feel there is a trend more towards interacting with your audience, whether it's virtual or in person, or do you feel pretty much people are still giving the whatever it is— 20-minute talk, 30-minute talk straight? 

What have you found?

Ryan Foland: I think the tendency is to default to what is considered normal, natural, and as it has been.

I think there is a reluctance for some people to move into this New World for fear of technology and how it works. 

But there is a movement and pushing towards that interaction.

I sold a talk to an organization recently and they were sharing with me that one of the prior speakers was not open to having a breakout room and I'm like, 

"Well, this is a good thing because I use breakout rooms," and they're like, "Oh my gosh, thank you so much." 

So using a breakout room, I even think using the chat. 

So for me personally, I'm very chat friendly and chat happy.

I am encouraging people to participate in the chat, I'll call people out by name in the chat and that's a way for me to check-in. 

And as you said, or I said for you it's the E-brake concept, right? Checking in with them. 

I think that the tools and technologies allow for that type of interaction but I still think there's this slow adoption to that. 

And anytime that you're doing something outside of what you are used to, then you shake a little bit. 

And so I think it's never been more important to have that engagement and that feedback because you're the screen, you don't see them in person, you don't actually know. 

Laurie Schloff: So maybe since people have to warm up to the idea of this connection with their audience, their listeners, maybe a good first step is to get your thing done, love your talk. 

But then, very important step 2 is how can you work it so there's maximal engagement for your topic? 

And you just mentioned things that we all have to learn if we haven't and they're both pretty easy, the chat box so I could say, "Hi there everybody out there," in whatever speaker's land. 

If everybody could write in the chatbox, how many talks you'd like to do to be paid for this year? 

Now pretend there are 20 people. Everyone just quickly types. 

Ryan Foland: Yeah. And then you could read them off, you're like, "Johnny wants to do 20, Mary wants to do 5. Holy moly, that's a lot, Ryan, okay we need to talk."

Laurie Schloff: I love it.

Ryan Foland: You know one thing that I find works, and this is easy when it comes to the technology, is it if you live as a speaker on grid view, you have a choice of how you are seeing the audience. 

And so the more faces I can see better. 

And you can see the real-time reactions and I'll call people by name, or if they're doing something I'll be like, 

"Hey, it looks like John you're onto something here, huh, I can see." 

And then they laugh and other people see them. 

So if we get trapped behind the speaker view, you only have a few boxes. 

So I really enjoy having as many faces as I can see and that's an easy sort of check-in.

Laurie Schloff: Right, and this is great. 

Also because a lot of people are shy about participating you can say at the very beginning, 

"I'm going to want some volunteers." 

Or I'm sometimes very cautious, I might say to my client, 

"Let's get a few volunteers teed up here." 

Because I want to make sure that we definitely have volunteers and she will send me a list of volunteers. 

And then the breakout rooms, yeah, maybe you have to practice just a teeny bit at the beginning in addition to people liking chatting with each other without being watched by the whole group. 

It also gives you a little rest time to reflect a little on how it's going.

Ryan Foland: Yep and what's nice with the breakout rooms, you can actually jump in and just peek in and check in with people so that they feel like they get a little bit of that private one on one time, and when you come back to the group you can say, 

"Well, I was in the chats," and you can bring examples that wouldn't have otherwise been highlighted.

Laurie Schloff: Yes. 

And so you folks who love the speaking part you think about maybe giving up a bit of that so you can say, 

"Okay everybody, we're going to go on with the ease in a minute, but first let me hear from one volunteer from each of the breakout groups." 

And I want you speakers to believe that that's really going to add value and they'll like you and appreciate your work even more in most cases.

Ryan Foland: Yeah, I love it. 

So in order to connect with people, you're throwing on the E- breaks every once in a while, to check-in and incorporate them with it. 

So you also said you help people love their presentation, you help people love their delivery. 

Tell me about the caveats around that and why maybe we're not as nice to ourselves as we should be, and how as a speaker you overcome that and you break through that to get to the next level?

Laurie Schloff: Yeah, well first I'll validate that it's kind of hard to lake ourselves, and I don't know, what that's about?

I do know from an audio point of view, we do hear ourselves differently than other people hear us and that's because we hear ourselves through the air but also through some skull vibrations. 

And since you're not inside my skull, I hope not, Ryan, that's creepy, you hear me differently than I hear me, but without getting too philosophical, if a tree falls in the woods kind of thing, I believe the way you hear me is what I have to pay attention to.

So that's why recording myself helps me to know how my audience hears me. 

A little secret, you might have already done this with yourself, Ryan, just imagine that person is someone else, that way you can say, 

"Oh, he's too loud, he's too soft, he's too crazy." 

If you're objective about it, it helps. 

So one of the reasons I like the virtual world is it's very easy to record yourself and listen back. In the olden days, we had to get out 92 pieces of equipment in this big fat video. 

Ryan Foland: Right.

Laurie Schloff: That was crazy. Anyway.

Ryan Foland: So we hear ourselves differently. 

But there is value in looking at ourselves and hearing ourselves objectively.

Laurie Schloff: Totally.

Ryan Foland: What do you say to those people who are just more introverted in general? 

I've gotten pushed back when I give speaker tips and then people are like, 

"Well what about for those people who are a bit more introverted?" 

Do you think that people who are introverted they have a harder time accepting their delivery and being proud of what it is? 

Or is it just doesn't matter everybody is just critical to themselves?

Laurie Schloff: Oh gosh, the introvert / extrovert piece is very interesting in a number of ways. 

So there has been a movement to help people who feel more reserved, let's say the ones who might not want to speak up in a group to feel more proud of themselves because they have other things to offer. 

Then the other side of it is as a coach, I'm asked to help someone. 

And I guess I have to get their buy-in because if they want to stay quiet there are consequences in American business for staying quiet but that's their choice. 

As a coach, I'd have to say why limit your career? 

It is a good skill to work on being out there, speaking more in a group, and I actually help people with that. 

What I'd like to do now if this is good with you, is list some of the ingredients for good delivery, how you look, and your visual image. 

Would that be good?

Ryan Foland: That would stir my appetite if we put them all into a pot and boil them and then feast.

Laurie Schloff: Okay. 

So these are the ones rising to the top. 

The first one is going to be different than what you've heard. 

The first one is what's called fluency. 

Fluency is the smooth flow of words. It's a person who is good with words, in terms of what they've chosen and the structure, but it's also the smooth flow. 

So for example, I could have a really good idea, but I need that smooth flow. 

You have to feel like I'm in control of the rhythm of it. 

So that's number one, the smooth flow. 

Number 2 with how you sound is what's called vocal variety. 

What that means is in American English, one word in each phrase stands out. 

Ryan, for you and me it's easy. 

This is kind of what we do for a living, we use our voice as a tool, but for a new speaker, a new speaker may easily sound like this and she thinks it's okay but it's not really okay, it's not really okay because to get attention you better do something with your voice. 

So please remember that everyone, one word per phrase has to jump out. It jumps out with volume. 

And it jumps out with pitch. 

Ryan is a great host, he's smiling he's so modest.

Ryan Foland: No, I know, yeah, I mean it's just a little uptick, pick up my attention right? 

No, there's actually a lot of research and studies around the fact that if you are monotone then you are less interesting and it's just all kind of blends in together. 

But I totally agree with the vocal variety. 

Laurie Schloff: So we could give— don't blush anymore because you've really turned red.

Ryan Foland: Yeah, I'm already, it's difficult for a ginger to get flush because then we just you know. 

Laurie Schloff: So everybody, the simple sentence, "Ryan is a great host."

So I am going to pause, you say to yourself, say it 3 different ways. 

"Ryan is great, Ryan is a great host," okay, I am going to pause for 5 seconds. 

Ryan Folan: I see what you did there, you just threw the E-brake on and got everybody involved.

Laurie Schloff: Yeah, except what about dead air on a podcast? I could be in trouble now?

Ryan Foland: I like it. 

I think it gives a little bit of space for people to think. 

But I like that exercise of taking one sentence and saying it in 3 different ways and you'll be able to tell that there is a difference. 

So throwing a little vocal variety into the speaker soup is key. 

What else we got in there? We got fluency, vocal variety?

Laurie Schloff: All right, I'm going to go into what people see for a minute. 

Should we assume people are on Zoom lately? 

Ryan Foland: Yes.

Laurie Schloff: Okay, let's just assume that, and I know that people are pretty much just hearing us. 

So I'm going to talk about what people see and you might have to imagine it. 

So people are evaluating whether they like us or not, whether we're competent or not, pretty much from the neck up words, in other words, the facial expression always matters, but now it matters more than it used to. 

Now what's weird about it is until things change, you have to pretty much look at the camera.

Ryan Foland: Yes, making eye contact with that camera.

Laurie Schloff: Yeah, we're all becoming like TV broadcasters in a way. 

And it's hard to fake a smile, but I kind of would rather you fake it than not having it at all. I want this to be there, so without again being faky faky, it's an upturned mouth, slightly widened eyes, they say if it's a genuine smile this actually crinkle, sorry about that ladies, crinkles crow's feet at the side of your eyes. 

But I want you to practice looking happy to be there unless of course you're giving a eulogy at a funeral I mean there are always exceptions. But please know it now, let's riff on that a little bit, a variety of facial expressions. So I don't want to be in one pose.

Ryan Foland: The first thing that came to my mind was emojis. 

And the fact that you have all these different emojis, even the facepalm, the shoulders up, the shrug, the this and that. 

So I don't know why but as soon as you were talking about this I went to emojis. 

So you could probably go look at emojis on your phone and practice most of those faces because that's really like human emotion. 

Laurie Schloff: I love it, that's actually a very interesting training program you got right there.

Ryan Foland: So imagine this, you have emojis up and you're on a Zoom call with someone, and then you pull up the emoji as your background or as your image or just a shared screen, and make that person mirror it. 

There are only like 6 major emotions. 

Fear, disgust, anger, happy, that kind of stuff, but there are so many nuances and everyone's used to emojis, we speak in emojis, your face is an emoji.

Laurie Schloff: I like it, I like the way you whittle things down to the essence. 

Ryan Foland: Well there's nothing more difficult than making things simple. 

And people forget that simple doesn't mean easy, but that's why I'm so excited about the rabbit hole which is speaking and how deep this soup goes because there's always the fine tweaks and whatnot. 

I don't know if you've ever had any construction projects, but the finish work is the hardest, anybody can slap up some framing and throw some drywall on there and just get it up there, but it's the finish work that is so different, the difference between a multi-million dollar job and somebody just hacking it together. 

So all the finish work. Facial expression is a finish work. 

Laurie Schloff: That's another great analogy.

Ryan Foland: For me, it brings it back to what you said initially which is your voice is a tool, speaking is a tool. 

So if I were to give you a hammer and not tell you what to do with it, is that being unauthentic? 

No, like here's a hammer, here are the parts of it, here is how you sway it, make sure you hit the nail on the head. 

And then you actually practice the tools.

So using a hammer authentically insinuates that you know what a hammer does and how to use it.

Laurie Schloff: Right. And all of you who are eager to be sought after as speakers and I know you're all very, very motivated, you want to actually have the things that we're talking about, sort of in your brain, it's like your communication computer and you're able to. 

And you know, people like Ryan, and you can help people with this, you're able to say, "Oh, my vocal variety was good but my facial expression I need to ramp that up." 

I want you to be able to look at things in terms of specific tools and then put it together in terms of creating your total toolbox. 

That's sort of your responsibility. 

Ryan Foland: I love it. Let's finish up the soup here. 

We've got fluency, we've got vocal variety, we've got facial expressions, what else is in the soap? 

And then I'm getting hungry, we're going to have to then run to the kitchen and go get this after the fact.

Laurie Schloff: Absolutely, now that we have the recipe. 

Okay, so this is a question I want to ask you first, Ryan, which is how are you candidly feeling people are doing with their visual image on Zoom, etc? 

Do you feel when they're actually doing a presentation that you're feeling like it's professional?

Ryan Foland: It totally depends. 

I'd say yes and no. 

I've seen people who have not good lighting, not good cameras, not a good setup and not framed properly and I think it does take away from the message. 

There's a bit of authenticity which is fine to not have a perfect setup, but if I'm giving a talk I’ll dressed up in a suit and I'll have my light shining and I'll be like I'll duplicate as much of a stage or as possible. 

I actually use a wireless mic and I stand up and I have my whole stage to work with, but those are just the additions that help me bring it back to what I know is most powerful, which is you as a person communicating to other people.

Laurie Schloff: Right, so I thought maybe given in the past year people in my field have been asked a lot about some of the essentials. 

One is you said framing, so just very quickly make sure you have an equal amount of space to your right and your left when you're teaching on Zoom, have about 3 inches above your head, so we call that headroom, in terms of lighting you want to be aware of having lighting in front of you, as opposed to glare from behind, and test your audio. 

So of course that's very important for what Ryan and I are doing today, in fact, it's all that matters. 

So make sure you have professional sound and professional lighting. 

As far as clothing, make sure that there's a contrast between the color you're wearing and the color of the background, and of course, make sure that you will feel your background represents you. 

I've been lucky lately, I've told Ryan, I'm lucky enough to be in Florida as opposed to my hometown of Boston, I just feel blessed that I'm here. 

And I wanted to do and have done a lot of my coaching out on the porch, but part of me is going, 

"Should I feel guilty over everybody who is stuck in cold weather, hate me?" 

So these are the kinds of things seriously that you do always have to take into account when you want to appeal to people.

Ryan Foland: And I think the message is that whatever speaker soup that you're putting together you're going to have your own spices that you add into it and so there's no one recipe and once you throw those in there and you let it sit on the stove for a while, some of the stuff will boil off, you'll find the core things that work. 

But I do believe we all need to try and sip on the different elements and keep tasting until we find something that works for us. 

And when you find what works for you, you can be yourself, you can be authentic, you can love what it is that you're going to say, you can love the connection that you make and you can love whether you actually are truthful about being nice to yourself, you can love your delivery. 

So, Laurie, this is a lot of great info to literally digest. I don't know if I'll ever put my E- brake on in my car without thinking about this moment and every time I stop and try to check in I'll think of just putting the E- brake on as an emergency to stay connected. 

But you know, as we wind down here, do you have any final thoughts for our listeners when it comes to your sage advice in this weird dynamic world where things are digital?

Laurie Schloff: Well there is a big, bad elephant in the room which is fear and nervousness. 

And though we didn't get into it at this time, maybe we can another time. 

I have a lot of respect for nervousness, there are some quick things you can do, but in general, it's slow going. 

You progress, you become less nervous with each success, and each talk you do well. 

I'm very excited, Ryan, because SpeakerHub is sponsoring an online self-directed platform that I created called ‘Conquer Your Fear of Speaking’, and that should be out within the next few weeks, so everyone can look for it.

Ryan Foland: Awesome. 

And if somebody wanted to connect with you and understand how you can help them get to that next level or get to a stage or get comfortable to get to that stage, where do they find you and what's the best way to contact you?

Laurie Schloff: I would say Partners in Communication Inc, that's where everything gets done,

Ryan Foland: Okay. So hey, this has been fun, it's been great to reconnect after a while and I'm looking forward to digesting a lot of the stuff we sit here today and creating my own speaker soup, and going from there.

Laurie Schloff: Okay, enjoy the soup.

Ryan Foland: Thank you, and if you want to make your own speaker soup and you want to showcase that soup online, you can go to, you can create your own profile where you can showcase the different spices and the different elements of your dishes that you serve up.

And at the same time, you can search for call for speakers so that you can get connected with stages and then bring your soup and serve it to them. 

If you want to learn more about me, I'm easy to find online, you just go to

And Laurie, I'll thank you once again for being a guest here on the World of Speakers and sharing your cooking secrets with us all.

Laurie Schloff: My pleasure. Keep speaking for success everyone.


A bit about World of Speakers

World of Speakers is a bi-weekly podcast that helps people find their own voices, and teaches them how to use their voice to develop a speaking business. 

Connect with Laurie Schloff:

Did you enjoy the show? We’d love to know! Leave us a review on iTunes by following this link.

Listen to more interviews with expert speakers.


Average: 5 (1 vote)


See also:

  • World of Speakers E.104
    World of Speakers podcasts

    World of Speakers E.104: Vivian Acquah | Play the PR Game

  • World of Speakers E.103 Laura Sicola | Mastering the 3 CS
    World of Speakers podcasts

    World of Speakers E.103 Laura Sicola | Mastering the 3 C's

  • World of Speakers E.102
    World of Speakers podcasts

    World of Speakers E.102: Gordon Bufton | The Coin Flip Strength