by Jini Stolk

We all do a lot of public speaking, and we’re not all born to it.

I was lucky enough some years ago to “win” a session with leadership and communications trainer and coach Donna Goodhand at a Theatre Passe Muraille fundraiser. Donna has a stellar acting resume and had been on the board at Passe Muraille. She coached me through some of my first and most important fundraising presentations and calls.

Her advice was invaluable. At the risk of entirely blowing my cover, here is a copy of my very personal and informal notes from those first sessions with Donna. Even now I try always to follow her advice, and I know a meeting is in the bucket if I catch myself shrinking in my seat, fiddling, mumbling or clutching my hands.

The inimitable Harvey Schachter reviewing The Credibility Code by Cara Hale Alter in Globe Careers says that you have to look credible to be credible: confidence and presence are essential presentation behaviors, indicated by a strong posture, a strong voice, and strong eye contact. I would dismiss this sort of “self-improvement” advice out-of-hand, if it weren’t so closely aligned with Donna’s teachings which absolutely, without doubt, work.

It’s amazing how strongly our voice and confidence flows through our body’s pose and posture. (But I guess any good actor could teach us that…)

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