Commitment

Shannon Polson

With Connie you get a committed, engaged professional who is also just a wonderful person, and so I think that combination is a really special one.

Connie was recommended to me by somebody who has years and years of leadership coaching. I do professional corporate motivational speaking and had just booked a couple of very big clients, increasing the amount of speaking that I was doing. I wanted to be sure that I was doing it as well as I could. I was excited to have the opportunity to work with her.

Connie is the consummate professional. She has a calm demeanor and was very encouraging and supportive through the process. She did a great job establishing rapport and then giving direct, candid feedback while still being encouraging. And, though I’ve done a lot of speaking, she brought up a number of ideas that were easy to implement, extremely helpful, and I’ve taken them forward into every presentation that I’ve done.

For example, she has a great visual model for how to think about the structure of a presentation which I found helpful. Another strategy helped ground me in the delivery of a presentation and connect even better to my audiences.

She understands the requirements of a business audience. And her experience as a professional actress is relevant to any speaker because speaking really is a form of acting. She is able to relate to people and assess their needs easily because she has worked with such a wide variety of clients.

She is able to pull out the most effective, most impactful things that can help a person in their work. For example, I usually speak about leadership and grit from the women’s military perspective, as an Apache helicopter pilot – a very different background than I imagine she has worked with. I so appreciated how she jumped right in and was able to help me make it better.

She seems to truly enjoy people and presentation. I don’t think you get really great at something unless you love it, and so that combination is a pretty spectacular one.

I have taken her feedback into every presentation that I’ve given. And I would say the overall impact is that I have greater confidence. I’m performing to my potential, and able to deliver to my clients what it is that they’re looking for.

Connie is committed. For example, she came back to me several times with emails after our sessions saying, “Hey, I was thinking about this again,” or “I looked at this video again and this is something else I’d like you to think about.” So that kind of commitment, I think, is pretty wonderful.

Five words to describe her: Engaging. Focused. Thoughtful. Experienced. Committed.

http://linkedin.com/in/shannonhpolson

Confidence

 Andreas Braendle, CIO at Milliman

“I decided to work with Connie because I wanted the confidence to speak professionally in front of big audiences.  I wanted to get better at public speaking.

Connie is definitely a very nice person. She’s very easy to interact with, socially very skilled. The heart of what I benefited from is she gave me the comfort that there was not something wrong with me. That these are actually skills you can train and learn and that there is a learning curve. And the more you practice, the better you get. Just that message alone was very helpful.

She was able to share what works, what doesn’t work, combined with video recording of my performances and analyzing them together. With her experience as an actress and all these years as a consultant, it was really helpful that she could point me to those key aspects like breathing, like how I stand. What do I do with my hands? It’s simple things. Simple physical things can have a huge impact in those settings.

It got better every time. I got better at speaking. In just the last few months, I have had fairly large events. I spoke in front of hundreds of people each time. I could assess my performance, and that was clearly an impact. The main thing she was able to teach me was that there is this physical aspect to it, so basically how I breathe is how well I will perform. That was really the key thing, the breakthrough. And the moment I consciously realized that and started focusing on my breathing, things immediately got a lot better.

Every time we schedule a session it is always a week or two before my next speaking engagement, and that works out really great. So I feel a lot better prepared.

And then it’s fun to see the progress I’m making. Her impact showed immediately. And people also told me that I got better.  Every time my boss was in the audience, he told me, “you’ve gotten a lot better the last few months, a lot more comfortable.” That’s good to hear and I attribute a lot of this to what Connie has been able to tell me.”

http://linkedin.com/in/andreasbraendle

Insight

Michael Birt, PhD

Senior Advisor to the Academy for Healthy Longevity with the HIMSS/Personal Connected Health Alliance

“What Connie is above all is an excellent listener. She’s very insightful, really pays attention and has a way of re-articulating it that brings it all together. She provides plenty of opportunity to explore new ideas with her. Connie comes across as a consummate professional. She has lots of examples and materials to support what she’s doing. She has a special intelligence about communicating that makes her very effective.

What she’s also very good at is helping build a deeper communication package. Together we explore what I’m trying to say, articulate it, communicate it in an effective and elegant way. She’s good at content generation as well – slides, metaphors, images, and a full set of communication elements.

She’s a professional speaker in her own right. She clearly speaks from that professional basis when she’s providing support. Her materials and her insights are always very useful, to the point and supportive. She has a good way of being honest without being negative. Just very straightforward, which I like a lot. She’s very good at being able to do what she’s suggesting so If I’m having a problem with something, then she shows me.”

Impact on him: “Working with Connie has given me much greater confidence so that as I do my presentation I’m very clear what my objectives are, and much more confident that I’m meeting my potential. The other impact is that I seem to be overwhelmed with speaking engagements now. She warned me this would happen.”

Five words: “Insightful, effective, creative, practical, and very congenial. She’s a nice person.”

http://linkedin.com/in/michael-birt-5822122

Authenticity

Carol Criner, Vice President

Strategic Accounts, HCL Technologies Ltd.

Carol Criner Portrait“Connie has never approached working with me as if she’s trying to make me become someone else. She has always been so effective that way. I actually started working with Connie because I wanted to engage with audiences the way I thought others connected well. Her approach with me over the years has been to help me get clear and confident in my strengths. I’ve learned to elevate my personal stories of me so that I’m bringing “my best Carol” into an event. I no longer focus on trying to act like other speakers. as opposed to trying to be like how I think somebody else does it better. This shift has been really valuable. Through this work, I am comfortable simply being myself. I’m also much better at listening and taking the cues from the audience.

What I appreciate about Connie is her unique experience. Her background – being an actress, success with many different kinds of professionals, and her personal commitment to elevating women internationally. These elements of her background are visible through her work.

When I think about Connie, I’m reminded of the many sessions where she’s recording me, she’s encouraging me to try something new, and she’s bringing her unique life experiences into each session. Connie frequently shares examples of how women engage in other countries. She sends me videos of TED talks from leaders in the Middle East or Europe. She also will a variety  of exercises to help with breathing, etc. Connie is constantly evolving. Her commitment to learning inspires me to do the same.

I worked with Connie for the first time twelve years ago. When I met her I was just starting to speak publicly. I was uncomfortable and nervous. I simply did not know how to engage audiences. Fast forward to where I am now. Now I’m not afraid. I think actively about new speaking opportunities. Connie has transformed me into more of a natural speaker. That’s quite a gift! I have tools now that help me feel centered and comfortable.

She cares. She’s very experienced. She’s a very good speaker herself. She is a constant learner.  She’s interested in where I am at any given moment.  She is not thinking of me as a transaction. All of those things make her uniquely qualified. When I work with Connie I get time with someone who wants me to succeed.

When I’m preparing for an important presentation I practice with Connie. Frequently when I’m thinking about a major presentation that I’m doing or how to engage with audiences, I will start with ‘how do I make sure all the things about me that break down – like my voice gets shaky or I get nervous – how do I make sure I control all the physical things that get in my way?’ Connie helps me chip through that and really focus on the audience. She’s constantly getting me to think about that. She says ‘You’ve got to push through and think about your audience.”  I’ve learned to shift from “what do I do with myself?’ to ‘How do I really make sure I’m landing that conversation well and connecting with that audience?’ Those things weren’t intuitive to me at first and maybe for a long time.

Five words to describe Connie: Credible. Very caring. Very enabling. She’s got a tremendous amount of life experience. She’s able to tell stories she leverage to help me think about what I’m facing.”

http://linkedin.com/in/carolcriner