Presenting for Humans: Insights for Speakers on Ditching Perfection and Creating Connection



Presenting for Humans: Insights for Speakers on Ditching Perfection and Creating ConnectionAs speakers, whether advanced or inexperienced, whether speaking in ballrooms or in board meetings, we all face the same challenges. How do we create compelling, relevant, and useful content for our audiences in a way that they are able to take our messages and use them to transform their work or lives?

How do we engage our audiences and make a human connection, so that they can envision for themselves the possibilities we present and take steps to achieve them?

And what kind of growth and personal development do we have to embrace to get ourselves into the right mindset with the right attitude to support and encourage our audience’s growth?

It’s not as hard as you think to make these shifts and transformations, both for your own benefit and for that of your audience. In fact, it’s as easy as having lunch at your neighborhood deli.

If you’ve ever had a stimulating conversation with a fellow customer in line at the grocery store, you know what I’m talking about. Looking at our everyday experiences and encounters with fresh eyes gives us new perspectives on all aspects of our lives, including speaking.

For me, being open to learning – wherever and whenever it chooses to find me – has allowed me to stretch and expand what I used to think about speaking.

There was a time when I thought the most important things about speaking were artfully using my hands, or impressing people with big words, or heroically avoiding saying “um.” (I will confess here that I was on the speech team in high school, and perhaps some of the habits I learned there needed to be unlearned.) Yes, I thought speaking was all about me.

But presenting is so much more than just standing in front of a group of people and pontificating. It’s so much more than “telling,” or “lecturing” or “conveying information.”

Unfortunately, most of us spend our time in rooms where the presentations have no energy, no life, no engagement, no love, and no soul. We could easily replace the human on stage with a robot, and who would know the difference?

We sit through presentations that are irrelevant, boring, and tedious, and sometimes we feel like the life is being sucked right out of us. As a friend described to me once, pointless presentations don’t just waste our time, they steal our time. I don’t want to spend one more minute listening to a presentation that is going to steal time that I will never get back again, and I don’t want to inflict such presentations on other people!

We are humans, speaking to humans, and we neglect to take the full scope of this into account. We are thinking beings, yes. But we are also feeling beings. We are imperfect beings. We are impulsive and annoying and funny and rude and thoughtful beings. And we are infinitely creative beings.

I want to help you view speaking in a new way, through my eyes and through my everyday experiences, so that you can go apply your life experiences to your speaking and bring your own unique perspective to your audiences.

And whether you’re trying to master this skill so you can make a living at it or just trying to get through those team updates your boss keeps asking you to do, you will find new perspective here.

Presenting for Humans: Insights for Speakers on Ditching Perfection and Creating ConnectionThe book is divided into themed chapters:

  • Preparation
  • Confidence
  • Fun
  • Connection
  • Service
  • Experience
  • Standing Out
  • Mindset

These are the core themes that I teach and coach on, and the public speaking concepts that I find to be most critical to a speaker’s success—in a nutshell, ditching perfection and creating connection!

Enjoy this guide to how lessons from everyday encounters and experiences can make you a better speaker, a more joyful speaker, a more captivating speaker, a more effective speaker, and, most important, a more human speaker.

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“Lisa Braithwaite is willing to talk about the real and raw aspects of public speaking, to offer advice that encourages speakers to reflect upon their craft and rise to meet their potential. Her voice is imperative for anyone who stands in front of others with a message to be heard.”
~Ellen Bremen, Professor, Communication Studies

“Full of practical tips, illustrated by interesting examples. Use it as a reference when the need arises, or read it from cover to cover. Either way, your presentations will be more engaging and effective.”
~Ron Adler, Communication Textbook Author

“Where was this book when I started speaking over a decade ago?! All I can say is better late than never. This thing is packed with tips and insights that will help any speaker take things to the next level.”
~Jason Kotecki, CSP, Artist, Author, and Professional Speaker,

“Here is a powerhouse book of tips, tactics and approaches for audience connection and engagement that simply work. A fantastic book.”
~Lisa Gates, Negotiation consultant, executive coach, and co-founder of She Negotiates

“Even as a professional speaker, I always find gems of wisdom in Lisa Braithwaite’s writing. This book is packed with helpful takeaways, fun stories and implementable techniques to increase your confidence as an engaging public speaker.”
~Gloria Miele, Ph.D., Executive Coach and Trainer,


© Fernando J Tirado 2015

Through individual coaching, corporate training, virtual group programs and live retreats, Lisa Braithwaite mentors entrepreneurs and professionals to deliver memorable and engaging presentations in order to build their businesses through speaking.

Lisa is also a food hobbyist, a tea enthusiast, a vegetarian, a cat lover, a bird watcher, a jewelry maker, an Anglophile, a word nerd, and a fan of crime shows and espionage movies—all potential inspiration for her writing.

She lives in Ojai, California with her husband and kitty.


Book bonuses (look for your access link inside your copy of the book):

Bonus #1:

Debbie Lyn ToomeyGrit: How to Persevere and Move Towards Success by Debbie Lyn Toomey (and her accompanying infographic, below)

Debbie Lyn Toomey RN is a “Health & Happiness Specialist™” and founder of Ultimate Healing Journey.

Inspired by her mission to help people of all ages find and cultivate health and happiness in their lives, Debbie recently published her first book, The Happiness Result!

Bonus #2:

Kelly’s Free Gift

Kelly Cochran Swanson is a motivational speaker and master storyteller. She has a special “choose your gift” option, depending on whether you’re interested in stories, motivation or knowledge! Personally, I chose her ebook “You. Your Story. Make An Impact. Where the Art of Story Meets the Business or Persuasion.” You also have a choice of an a variety of PDFs, audios and videos. Enjoy!

Bonus #3:

52 Weeks of Gratitude by Lisa Ryan

Lisa Ryan is an award-winning speaker and best-selling author of eight books.

Focusing on strengthening workplace culture, improving employee engagement, and initiating gratitude strategies (“Grategies”) for personal and professional transformation, Lisa’s down-to-earth approach and willingness to share best practices have proven to be a winning formula for her national and international audiences.

Bonus #4:

Darla LeDoux’s Retreat Revenue Map

Darla LeDoux is a ‘recovering engineer’ who was called to the world of coaching and transformation through what she now knows to be divine guidance.

Darla believes that intimate retreats have the power to heal and transform beyond 1-to-1 work or information alone, and are precisely what’s needed in the world today. She’s on a mission to make it easier for intuitive entrepreneurs to make money through retreats, and claim their place in the global awakening.

Bonus #5:

Working Through the Jitters, by Tammy Whitten

Tammy is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Certified Family Life Educator, providing online classes; face-to-face seminars and presentations; individual and group coaching programs; and individual, couple, and family therapy.

Using simple steps and a down-to-earth style, Tammy helps women, couples, and families to find the personalized approach that works best for them. Instead of focusing on deficits, Tammy helps her clients to improve on their strengths, and to let those work for her clients to give faster success.

Bonus #6:

Jason Womack’s 4-Part Free Video Training Series:Find More Time, Get Beyond “Stuck” and Finally Achieve Your Dreams.

Jason Womack is an international speaker, productivity coach, and author of Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More. He provides practical methods to maximize tools, systems, and processes to achieve quality work/life balance.

Jason has worked with leaders and executives for over 16 years in the business, military and higher education sectors. He thrives on working with people who know they have more to do in life. These are the kinds of people who are already motivated and want help in achieving all that they’ve set up as goals for themselves.

Bonus #7:

Kerri PomarolliKerri Pomarolli: FUNNY IS MONEY – There is profit in punchlines

Kerri Pomarolli, Hollywood comedian and motivational speaker has been seen on The Tonight Show 29 times, Comedy Central and many more.

She’s a humor coach for speakers of all levels. She’ll share with you her step-by-step guide on how to infuse humor into any presentation.

Bonus #8:

2017 Stronger Leader Goal Setting Workbook, by Gloria Miele

Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D., is a leadership development and executive coach, trainer, consultant and speaker who has been helping people reach their goals for over 25 years.

Gloria uses a strengths-based approach to bring out the best in individuals and organizations by identifying and leveraging the values and talents that create and sustain success. She also offers coaching and training programs to develop strengths-focused, emotionally intelligent leaders in health care, nonprofits, and higher education.

Bonus #9:

Jason Kotecki’s #Notarule Manifesto
A revolution is underway and you’re invited to be a part of it. The way we’ve always done things is no longer the way we do things. In times of great change, we naturally fall back on the tried and true to maintain a measure of security. But although the status quo may feel safe, it’s the most dangerous place to be. This manifesto will help you identify and break rules that don’t exist that may be holding you back so that you can take advantage of new opportunities to innovate and thrive.

Jason Kotecki is a professional reminder-er and permission granter who moonlights as an artist, author and speaker. He enjoys Star Wars, soft t-shirts, and brand new tubes of paint. He and his wife Kim (a former kindergarten teacher) have made it their mission in life to help people break free from Adultitis to build better lives, businesses and teams. Jason works with organizations to beat burnout and become more innovative by breaking rules that don’t exist.

Bonus #10:

Jess Pettitt’s “Head, Heart or Action” quiz and downloadable Conversation That Matters worksheet

Waiting to be “good enough” stops people and organization in their tracks on the way to success. Good Enough Now isn’t about not striving for excellence, but getting over our excuses so that we can begin to try. Through a background in stand-up comedy and professional speaking, expert facilitation skills, and well-tested adult education consulting, Jessica Pettitt guides groups to challenge assumptions, engage in tough conversations, move past excuses, and get things done NOW.

Whether you need diversity training, a social justice workshop, policy development, or high level change or crisis management consulting, Jessica Pettitt propels people from vision to action.

Bonus #11:

How to Be a Person of Unshakable Confidence Under Any Circumstance, by Paula Gregorowicz

It can be terrifying to put yourself out there as a business owner. You’ve already invested your heart and soul (and maybe even your family’s financial security) to pursue this endeavor and …

Now you have to do what??

Prospect for clients, speak in front of groups, make the sale, network, do a video, and the list goes on…

If you want to feel unshakable confidence in any circumstance, you’ll want to grab this short video (10 minutes).

Paula G helps service-based business owners take charge of their time, technology, and profit so they can build a sustainable business and meaningful life.

Bonus #12:

R. Michael Anderson’s The Procrastination Toolbox, a five-minute inspirational audio recording you can listen to any time with 15 fast techniques to get yourself moving.

R. Michael Anderson, MBA, MA teaches leaders how to lead others – as well as themselves – from a Soul-Centered perspective, leaving the ego behind, and stepping into their true purpose. As a best-selling author, radio show host, and contributor, he spends his time teaching others how to lead from their most powerful place: their soul.

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For a signed copy, click here to order…