Graphic by Mary Long

When I was asked to design a workshop to empower team members to engage in healthy self-promotion internally at Google, I was already aware of the inherent challenges that keep individual contributors from raising their voices — especially women.

My work with professional women has shown me first hand all the ways women limit themselves with self-doubt and silence. Not speaking up — about our achievements, our abilities, our ideas — is a major reason we are still woefully underrepresented in positions of leadership. Why do we hold back? Why is it so important to change this bad habit? …

Why it’s the Secret Weapon for Persuasion

Delivering a storytelling workshop at General Assembly, San Francisco, image by author

“I need a story like yours.”

I had just given a talk to a group of entrepreneurs in San Francisco where I opened the discussion with story, as I always do. A member of the audience approached me and said he wanted to transport his listeners the way I had transported mine. He felt the shift in the room when I shared my three minute tale before launching the workshop, and he knew the science.

Research by Paul J. Zak, PhD has shown that character-driven stories cause the brain to make oxytocin, the neurochemical known to trigger cooperation in others…

Presenting on why timing matters in the Virtual Presentation Skills Bootcamp.

One of the most important skills to have when running a remote presentation is the ability to get your timing right so you keep people engaged. People may show up with the intention to pay attention, but there are just too many temptations when working from home. We’re texting, emailing, cooking…you name it. If our camera’s off, we’re off the hook. But don’t let that be an excuse to give a meh presentation. Here’s how timing plays a role in getting and keeping attention virtually.

All those little clicks add up.

Unless you’re lucky enough to have a moderator helping…

Presenting on the importance of transitions in the Virtual Presentation Skills Bootcamp.

The way we give presentations has changed. No longer can we rely on our in-person charisma and presence to engage the audience — if we even had that in the first place. Instead, we have to communicate and connect through a screen. Whether you’re a C-Suite executive or a first time manager, here’s what you need to consider if you want to slay your next virtual presentation.

Multi-tasking has become a sport.

Before you sit down to craft your presentation, you have to get honest with yourself that there will be very few people who will be sitting at their…

“Before you get to a new story, you have no story.” — Michael Margolis

The last time I went to see my shaman (a.k.a. 21st century Northern California therapist), we spoke again about purpose. He told me I’d been circling mine for years like a moth to a flame, getting a little bit closer to finding meaning with every turn. Sound familiar?

He told me about how in many villages in Africa before a child is born, a shaman divines the child’s natural gifts and shares them with the community. That way as the child grows up, its elders can…

In previous posts I talked about why everyone needs to nail their elevator pitch. In this post I’ll continue with more reasons why getting it right matters.

Career Switching

A confident, personal elevator pitch can help you land a job in a new field. What many forget when preparing for an interview is that they’re sitting down to talk with another human being. Human beings relate to stories more than resumes, especially when they are honest about the struggles they’ve had in the past or have now. …

In a previous post I outlined why everyone needs to nail their elevator pitch. In this post I’ll continue where I left off: how to connect the different parts of your personal story so it feels cohesive.

The way to do this is by figuring out your through line.

A through line is a connecting theme or plot in a movie, play, or book. Just like in the movies, our lives have connecting themes. When we step back and look at the experiences in our lives, the through line becomes clear. It’s in this process of connecting the dots for…

“So what do you do?”

We all dread this question — at parties, at networking events, even at work. It feels so awkward to summarize your entire life and purpose in a short answer. Of course we want to make a great first impression. What should we say?

Having an original, authentic elevator pitch is rare, and it’s essential for communicating who we are and what we bring—both in the workplace and beyond.

An elevator pitch is your personal story. It demonstrates what you care about. It shows vulnerability and expresses emotion. It’s an honest description of what you’ve done…

You may think brand building is the domain of the uber creative in the gold-walled office in NYC, but the reality is you don’t need to wear snakeskin skinny jeans at church to stand out. Here are three basic steps to start you on the path to creating an unmistakable company signature.

“The art of marketing is the art of brand building. If you are not a brand, you are a commodity. Then price is everything, and the low cost producer is the winner.”

— Philip Kotler, Professor, Kellogg School of Management

Know Thyself

I know it sounds new-agey, but…

We had gotten to a point in our rehearsals where we had a show that was presentable. All nine of us were hitting our cues, there was some spectacle, and moments of wonder were starting to come through. But I couldn’t shake the niggling question: what is this all about?

We had crafted a piece of entertainment, but we still hadn’t nailed a WHY. Why were we making this? And the longer I couldn’t answer this question, the more I felt what we were creating was gimmicky and trite. …

Rebecca Williams

I help people tell stories.

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