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Lost Mittens & Lost Opportunities: The 3 Little Kittens of Business Emails

I’m sick and tired of getting emails from what I call the Three Little Kittens.

You know the story of the three little kittens who lost their mittens?

Well, those three little losers are also in too much of a rush to hit “send” on their business emails. As a result, they’re missing three factors that make emails useful:

🐱The first little kitten sent me an email and forgot to do any research on me or my business. They made a clumsy pitch that didn’t align with my needs, wants, or values.

🐈 The second little kitten sent a vague email that didn’t have a clear call to action. I didn’t know what to do when I got this email, so I shrugged and moved on.

😹 And the third little kitten? They completely missed out on editing! The email was a wall of words without white space, bullet points, grammar check, or spell check. I wasn’t about to wind my way through that ball of yarn!

Don’t be a little kitten when you send emails. Be a professional.

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Five Little Piggies Wrote Business Emails: And So Can You

The five little piggies were on a mission. They wanted to craft professional business emails that resonated with their recipients! Each piggy took a different approach:

🐷 The first little piggy went to market. It knew its purpose and got straight to the point! Its message was clear and concise. Like five toes, it ticked off five bullet points that led recipients step-by-step through the content.

🐷 The second little piggy stayed home. It wrote a professional out-of-office autoresponder that told recipients when it would respond to their emails, and who to contact in case of emergency. It also provided links to resources for answering common questions.

🐷 The third little piggy ate roast beef. Now that’s a specific personal preference! But was it tenderloin or bottom round? Before writing the email, that little piggy did research to learn more about the recipient’s preferences. Through personalization, they addressed the recipient’s specific needs and concerns.

🐷 The fourth little piggy had none. By the time it got to the fourth pig, it was exhausted. The poor swine’s inbox was swamped. Don’t overwhelm recipients with too many emails, or you’ll teach them to ignore yours!

🐷 The fifth little piggy went wee, wee, wee! A little humor can make your email memorable! Still, it’s a good idea to avoid unnecessary repetition. Make your message clear.

Each little piggy’s email had an outcome. Define your email’s goal—whether it’s generating leads, building relationships, or providing information.

And remember how the little piggies tickled and made you laugh? Inject a touch of warmth and friendliness into your emails.

Who knows? Maybe a playful tone can brighten someone’s day!

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How to Cope with Contrarians in Business Meetings

Mary, Mary. She’s quite contrary.

And we’ve met her in business meetings, haven’t we?

She’s the one who has been voted most likely to say or do something unconventional. She goes against the grain.

So what can we do about Mary?

With her “quite contrary” nature, Mary reminds us that diversity of thought in meetings is invaluable. We actively seek out varying viewpoints. That way, we can get contrasting ideas that lead to remarkable solutions.

In the rhyme’s bells and shells, listen to the symphony of voices in meetings. Encourage active participation, allowing each voice to chime in and enrich the conversation.

Like Mary’s magical garden, meetings can be fertile ground for ideas to bloom. Nurture creativity, diversity, and innovation. Then watch brilliant concepts grow! 🌷

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Crack the Code: 5 Ways Business Presentations Are Like Humpty Dumpty

Once upon a wall, Humpty Dumpty attempted to deliver a business presentation that would leave a lasting impression. As we unravel the tale, we find remarkable parallels between Humpty Dumpty’s fall and our own presentation endeavors.

🥚 Fragile Beginnings! Like Humpty Dumpty’s delicate shell, presentations can make us feel vulnerable. Embrace this vulnerability as an opportunity to strengthen your content and delivery.

🔨 Build a Sturdy Foundation! Humpty Dumpty’s wall couldn’t hold him. Likewise, a weak foundation can topple your presentation. Invest time in research, structure, and ensure your message is solidly anchored.

🙃 Embrace Weirdness! Humpty Dumpty’s odd shape made him stand out. If there’s something unusual about you or your presentation: feature it! Use visuals, stories, and metaphors to make your message unique.

💬 Engage Your Audience! Humpty Dumpty had an audience of onlookers. Connect with yours by asking questions, using anecdotes, or involving them in the conversation. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men have insights!

🔗 Rebuild and Learn! Humpty Dumpty’s fall taught him resilience. Check your speaker evaluations. Embrace your mistakes as learning opportunities. That way, you can refine your approach for future presentations.

Like the fractured tale of Humpty Dumpty, business presentations present a story of vulnerability, balance, learning, and connection. Crack the code, and you won’t leave with egg on your face!

By the way – where in the nursery rhyme does it say Humpty Dumpty was an egg?

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Presentation Lessons from the 3 Little Pigs

When it comes to public speaking, are you a straw, stick, or brick presenter?

Once upon a time, there were three little pigs—business presenters on a mission to captivate their audience and secure their success. Each piggy had a different approach, though:

🐷 Pig 1 – the Straw Presenter: The first pig built its presentation hastily, relying on flimsy straw. Similarly, some presenters rush to put together slides without a solid foundation. Result? Their message collapses under scrutiny.

Lesson: Lay a strong groundwork—research, structure, and refine your content.

🐖 Pig 2 – The Stick Presenter: The second pig opted for sticks to build a presentation—sturdier but shaky. Likewise, some presenters focus solely on data and facts without weaving them into a compelling narrative.

Lesson: Infuse your data with stories, creating a memorable and relatable experience.

🐽 Pig 3 – the Brick Presenter: Ah, the wise third pig! Building with bricks, they crafted a robust presentation. These presenters strike the balance—strong content, supported by engaging stories, visuals, and delivery.

Lesson: Invest time in crafting a well-rounded presentation that leaves a lasting impact.

🐺 The Big Bad Wolf: The big bad wolf huffed and puffed, trying to distract the little pigs from their mission. In the same way, some audiences may try to challenge you.

Lesson: Anticipate questions and objections. Be ready to address them confidently and keep your presentation on track.

Your own story begins… Build your business presentation with care and watch it withstand any wolfish challenges!

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How to Bop with Bangin’ Diction

I strolled into my bank, ready to do some business. Little did I know, my diction was about to create a delightful moment!

As I approached the bank teller, I said:

“Since the Fed raised interest rates again, it would behoove me to open a money market account with a higher interest rate. Hence, I’d appreciate your assistance.”

The teller busted out laughing. She was all, “Behoove! Hence! Haven’t heard them two in a while. I’m surprised you could say ’em without stretchin’!”

So I started using the bank counter as a ballet barre to stretch while discussing interest rates and account options. Madonna played in the background, and we both started bopping while the teller conducted my transactions.

We got into the groove, boy, just her and me.

Though my word choices and head bops brought amusement, it got me thinking about the power of diction in business communication.

And Madonna bops. I also thought about old-timey Madonna bops.

Here’s what I came up with:

Vogue, vogue, vogue!
Your diction is your word choice. You can elevate your message and captivate your audience using the right words at the right time. You can convey authority, build rapport, and make an impression. Strike the tone!

Papa Don’t Preach! And while a varied vocabulary is fantastic, consider your audience’s familiarity with certain words. You don’t want to sound too highfalutin when you’re hobnobbing with the hoi polloi.

Ray of Light! Choose words that precisely convey your message and evoke the desired emotions. Simple words can pack a punch, too.

Human Nature! A little humor adds charm and relatability. A well-timed wordplay or witty phrase can create memorable connections.

Express Yourself! Use words that reflect your personality. Be yourself, and your audience will appreciate the authenticity. “Behoove” and “hence” tumbled out of my mouth without forethought, but if they aren’t your bailiwick, it’s not got gonna land well.

Words can shape perception, influence decisions, and even evoke laughter. So, let your diction shine as you craft business communication that informs, inspires, and entertains!

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Ditch Your Slides: Draw on the Power of Whiteboard Talks!

I went to a business meeting in a small conference room. The presenter whipped out a PowerPoint deck and started presenting at us.

It was odd. There was a whiteboard right behind him. Instead of presenting at us, we could have enjoyed a convivial and interactive whiteboard chat.

If you automatically think, “I must PowerPoint at people” instead of “I must reach people,” — it’s time to switch the default setting in your brain! Step away from your PowerPoint slides and embrace a blank canvas of possibilities!

Instead of PowerPoint, consider delivering a whiteboard talk (or chalk talk) for your next presentation. Here’s how a whiteboard talk can make a real impact:

1️⃣ Showcase Your Personality: A whiteboard talk allows you to showcase your genuine self. You foster a sense of connection and authenticity by speaking directly to your audience. It’s an opportunity to engage personally, capturing attention and building trust.

2️⃣ Amplify Engagement: Whiteboard talks invite active engagement from your audience. As you draw or write in real-time, it sparks curiosity and encourages participation. The dynamic experience breaks the presenter-audience barrier, fostering meaningful interaction and dialog.

3️⃣ Visual Storytelling: The simplicity of a whiteboard can be a powerful storytelling tool. Use it to visually illustrate your narrative, creating a transparent and memorable journey for your audience. Combining spoken words and visual cues enhances comprehension, making complex ideas more accessible and powerful.

4️⃣ Flexibility and Adaptability: Whiteboard talks provide the flexibility to adapt on the fly. You can adjust the pace, dive deeper into specific topics, and respond to real-time audience questions or insights. This adaptability creates a dynamic and tailored presentation experience that resonates with your listeners.

Presentations are not limited to slides alone. Reimagine the way you captivate your audience!

If it’s been a while since you delivered a chalk talk, it’s time to give it a whirl!

Laura Bergells teaches classes and workshops. Hire Laura.
Or you can take Laura’s communications and public speaking classes at LinkedIn Learning – Free to LinkedIn Premium Members!

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Expressing Fears of Wild Boars, Roller Coasters, and Public Speaking

I was walking through the woods when a wild boar with red eyes and huge tusks stumbled out of the brush. He was panting furiously when he stopped to glare at me. We were about 8 feet away from each other.

I froze in my tracks.
He stared at me.
I stared at him.
He panted furiously.
I was as quiet and still as a rock.

After a minute, he snorted and dashed back into the brush. I stood there for another 5 minutes, not moving at all.


There are different ways we express fear, aren’t there?

When you’re on a roller coaster, you might start screaming as you make a drop. That’s your body’s way of saying, “Holy moly, what a thrilling experience!”

It’s a mix of adrenaline, excitement, and perhaps a touch of terror. Plus, screaming on a roller coaster is socially acceptable behavior. In fact, it’s almost expected!

When you face a menacing boar in the woods, it’s probably a good idea to freeze in your tracks and be as quiet as possible. They can easily outrun and tear you to pieces if you start screaming and running.

Now, let’s focus on how we express fear of public speaking. When you’re up there, facing a sea of faces, it’s a different environment than facing a wild boar or a roller coaster. You’re not soaring through the air at high speeds or staring down an animal that could easily tear you to bits.

Instead, when you’re on stage, you’re baring your soul through the power of expression. Your fear of public speaking is undoubtedly genuine, but screaming or freezing on stage might not be the best approach to captivate your audience!

Screaming is excellent for roller coasters. It won’t get you any attention. It’s socially acceptable and part of the fun!

Freezing is great for facing wild boars. It can prevent you from injury or death.

But neither freezing nor screaming are great ways to express yourself when standing in front of an audience! Instead, we rely on other forms of communication, like speaking clearly, using body language, and engaging in storytelling.

The good news is that you can manage your fear of public speaking with breath and body work. With practice, you can improve your presence. Public speaking is a skill that can be learned, honed, and refined over time.

So, let’s work on our stage presence, shall we? And if you ever find yourself screaming on stage, we might need to reevaluate your delivery techniques!


Laura Bergells teaches classes and workshops. Hire Laura.

Or you can take Laura’s communications and public speaking classes at LinkedIn Learning – Free to LinkedIn Premium Members! 

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How to Repurpose Content for Maximum Impact: The Power of the Story Arc

How can you tell one story across different channels without losing its essence or impact?

It can be so frustrating! You want to repurpose that story, but each platform has different requirements and audiences!

The answer is to start with the arc! Create a story arc to adapt your story to different formats, lengths, and audiences.

What’s a story arc?

A story arc is a structure with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It’s called an “arc” because it has a rising and falling action. The arc follows a clear progression of building up events and emotions and then winding them down toward the end.

The story arc can help you craft a compelling and coherent narrative that can be easily modified for different channels and audiences. For example, you can use the same story arc to create a blog post, a social media post, a video, or a podcast episode. You can also adjust the length of your story depending on how much time and attention you have from your audience.

How to create a story arc:

To create a story arc, you need to identify four elements:

  1. The Hook: Grab Your Audience’s Attention

    The hook is an opening sentence or paragraph that grabs your audience’s attention and makes them curious about your story. It should introduce the main topic, problem, or question that your story will address.

    For this blog post, the hook is the first line.
    “How can you tell one story across different channels without losing its essence or impact?”

  2. The Challenge: Create Tension and Emotion

    The challenge is the main obstacle or conflict you or your protagonist faced in your story. It should show what was at stake, why it mattered, and how it emotionally affected you or your protagonist.

    For this blog post, the challenge is “It can be so frustrating! You want to repurpose that story, but each platform has different requirements and audiences!”

  3. The Solution: Show How You Overcome the Obstacle

    The solution is the outcome or resolution of your challenge. It should show how you or your protagonist overcame the obstacle, what you learned, and how you changed.

    For this blog post, the solution is:

    “The answer is to start with the arc! You’ll want to create a story arc that you can adapt your story to different formats, lengths, and audiences.”

  4. The Takeaway: Share Your Main Point or Message

    The takeaway is the main message you want your audience to remember from your story. It should relate to your purpose, audience, and channel and include a call to action if applicable.

    For this post, a solution might be “Start with the arc!”

Use the Story Arc as Your Building Blocks

Once you have these elements, you can use them as building blocks to create different versions of your story for different platforms. Let’s use this blog post as an example:

  1. The Hook: Use it to create a headline or an Instagram caption

    I riffed on the hook to create the headline for this blog post. I might also use it for an Instagram caption or a Twitter post.

    Blog Title: “How to Repurpose Your Stories for Maximum Impact: The Power of the Story Arc”

  2. The Challenge: Use it as a video/podcast teaser

    If I was going to create a YouTube video teaser or a podcast episode, I might start by riffing on the challenge.

    Video Intro: “You want to repurpose one story across a variety of platforms, but dang it! Each platform has different requirements and audiences! What are you supposed to do?”

  3. Solution: Use it as a case study, LinkedIn post, or presentation

    If I was creating this blog as a case study or an instructional presentation, I might go straight to the solution:

    “To repurpose content that you can easily adapt to different platforms, start by creating a story arc. Here’s how…”

  4. Takeaway: Great for titles, rallying cries, and tweets

    I can always use a takeaway as a conclusion, a call to action or a rallying cry. I might even do a simple tweet on Twitter.

    “Want to repurpose content more easily? Start with the arc! Here’s how:”

By creating a story arc, you can more easily repurpose your stories for multiple platforms without losing their essence or impact. You can also create a consistent brand message across different channels and audiences, which can help you build your authority and reputation online.

I think you can see how this blog post is going to end! I’ll give you a final rallying cry for repurposing content:

Start with the arc!

Laura Bergells teaches public speaking and business communication classes and workshops. Hire Laura.

Take Laura’s communications and public speaking classes at LinkedIn Learning.  – Free to LinkedIn Premium Members! 


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How to Hook Your Audience: In Medias Res

Picture this: You’re on stage, telling a story about the night you became a criminal. You say:

I’m lying in wet grass behind a cow barn. I just vandalized a property. Two angry men are hunting me down. My heart is pounding. I’m thinking, ‘I’m a mom of two. What am I doing here?

Boom! You’ve got your audience hooked. They want to know more. They’re on the edge of their seats.

You’ve also just used a storytelling technique called in medias res.

What is in medias res?

In medias res is Latin for “in the middle of things”. It means starting your story in the middle of the action, instead of at the beginning.

Why use in medias res?

En medias res can make your story more exciting and intriguing. It can spark curiosity and suspense in your audience. It can make them wonder:

  • What’s going on?
  • Who’s the speaker?
  • How did they end up in this situation?

Then, you can go back to the beginning and fill in the gaps.

How to Use In Medias Res

You don’t have to use in medias res for every story. Sometimes, it’s better to start at the beginning and build up to the climax.

But if you want to add some excitement to your story, try starting in the middle. Here are five tips for using in media res effectively:

  • Choose a moment that’s dramatic, surprising, or funny.
  • Make sure it’s relevant to your main point or message.
  • Don’t give away too much information at once. Keep some mystery.
  • Use sensory details to make the scene vivid and realistic.
  • Let your audience know that you’re safe and that everything turned out okay.

Experiment with in medias res and see how it changes your stories. You might find that it makes them more engaging and memorable!

Laura Bergells teaches public speaking and business communication classes and workshops. Hire Laura!

Take Laura’s communications and public speaking classes at LinkedIn Learning – Free to LinkedIn Premium Members!