Call Today: 630-554-0636

Felicia Slattery

1 2 3 16

The Best of the Oscar Speeches

Not Quite on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, But a Girl Can Dream!

Not Quite on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, But a Girl Can Dream!

At last night’s 86th presentation of the Academy Awards, on the red carpet it was all about the clothes, the jewels, high fashion and “who are you wearing.” During the Oscars TV broadcast it was all about Ellen Degeneres, ordering pizza, taking selfies, and breaking Twitter. Oh yeah… there were some statuettes given out, too.

Today is now all about who wore it best and an analysis of the acceptance speeches. This year there were no big memorable moments like in 1999 when Roberto Benigni after just winning for best actor, was announced the winner of best foreign language film and triumphantly and excitedly climbed up and onto the arms of the seats and seat backs to bound up onto the stage, applauding his audience all the way (video here for that). Yet even so, there were some touching moments and wonderful speeches.

Yesterday, I promised to share the good, the bad, and the ugly of the speeches. Yet after watching, there were no real bad or ugly moments, just excellent and average ones. Plus, if you’ve been a reader for any period of time, you know I tend to be one for focusing on the positives.

So without further ado, here are my awards for The Best of Oscar Speeches from 2014:

Best Tribute to Mom:
Jared Leto, Best Actor in a Supporting Role for “Dallas Buyer’s Club.” Not only did Leto bring his Mom with him to the event, he thanked her in a sweet way by telling her story. He then had the audience’s attention for when he briefly mentioned the political and humanitarian cause, dedicating his Oscar to AIDS patients around the world.

What You Can Learn: Stories touch the heart and capture your audience’s attention and admiration. Start your presentations with a story and you’ll have your audience hanging on your every word.

Best Location to Keep Your Speech: Catherine Martin, Best Costume Design for “The Great Gatsby.” When Martin arrived on the stage to accept her award, she was smart to be properly prepared for the possibility that she might win and had written her speech and stored it safely — inside her brassiere tucked safely where she wouldn’t lose it and would easily have access to it. Go see how she did it with humor and grace.

What You Can Learn: Be prepared. If there is even a slight chance someone is going to ask you to say a few words, know what you plan to say. It’s also OK to bring notes and to keep them in a place you will quickly and easily access them, even if it does bring some fun laughs with it! :-)

Best Collaborative Acceptance Speech: It’s a tie!! Both winners worked on the animated musical, Frozen. The winners of Best Animated Picture Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho delivered their speech, each saying one phrase at a time in order. The winners of best original song was, “Let It Go” also from “Frozen,” music and lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. The married duo clearly were prepared with a fun song-like speech, starting their speech being grateful the names of their fellow nominees they wanted to share rhymed!

If there was any category that could be discussed as having some bad or even ugly moments in awards acceptance speeches it’s this one. There were many collaborations that won Oscars and many of them all came to the stage to accept their awards together. But then, in the limited amount of time given for their speeches, only one person got to share his or her thanks and left the others hanging to shout “thank you!” as the band began playing and they were being ushered off stage. That was ugly (sad) to see.

What You Can Learn: When you’re working on stage with others, find a way to share the spotlight by PLANNING ahead. Don’t hog the moment or allow someone else to not allow you to properly share your gratitude when it counts so very much. Planning in advance requires practice and conversation long before the moment of truth.

Best Sung Speech: In the Best Documentary category, the film “20 Feet from Stardom” won with producers Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen, Caitrin Rogers, but the most memorable part of their presentation came from one of the film’s singers, Darlene Love, who sang her thanks and message, “I sing because I’m happy!” Even at the time of her acceptance – of an award she didn’t win herself – Love made sure everyone remembered her. Watch here.

What You Can Learn: To be memorable, do something to stand out from the crowd. Do something unexpected. Love brought the audience to their feet and you can, too, by daring to be different.

Best Speech That Wasn’t Live: Prior to the BIG telecast last night, Angelina Jolie was given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her work in Africa and around the world and she *almost* made me like her. A little. That’s saying something because I’m not now, nor have ever been, a fan of hers. Yet watching her talk about her mother and humbly accepting her award went a long way to improving my opinion of her and likely the opinions of many others who may have felt about her the way I have. You can see the recorded presentation of that here and watch her reaction from the show last night.
What You Can Learn: Humility and true gratitude go a long way.

Best Use of Imaginary Friends on Stage: Spike Jonze winner of Best Screenplay for “Her.” This may have been one of the oddest and more uncomfortable moments of the night for me watching at home. While accepting his award, Jonze looked to his left and spoke mainly to Robert DeNiro and Penelope Cruz, who had nothing to do with the film, but did present him with his Oscar. He thanked his friends saying they were there with him on the stage, behind DeNiro and next to Cruz. But they weren’t, except maybe in his imagination. What worked was how sincere he was and thanking his friends. Next time, it might have worked a little better had he done it less weirdly. Unfortunately, I could find no video of his speech.

What You Can Learn: Try your ideas and material out on real people before doing it on stage. Get someone knowledgeable and who you trust to give you honest feedback. Otherwise that idea that sounded great in your head may not translate as well as you’d like it to in real life.

Best Bi-Lingual Acceptance Speech: Alfonso Cuaron, Best Director for “Gravity.” “Gravity” took home a number of technical awards last night, so when it came to best director, Cuaron was no surprise. What was a refreshing surprise was to see Cuaron, who is from Mexico, deliver part of his acceptance speech in Spanish. Again, there’s no decent video of this to connect to. Bummer.

What You Can Learn: Be true to who you are and people will love you for it.

Best Women-Power Speech: Cate Blanchett, winner Best Actress for her role in “Blue Jasmin.” Blanchett was lovely, funny, and strong starting with tell the standing ovation audience, “Sit down, you’re too old to be standing!” She did a lot of things during her speech well, including thanking her sister nominees, but most notably Blanchett talked about how films about women are not niche and that they earn money – see it here. Let’s hope filmmakers listen to the buzz that’s come from her comments.

What You Can Learn: When you present well, you can share your views in a way that is fun, interesting and will get people talking about you and your cause.

Best Speech Thanking God: Matthew McConaughey, winner of Best Actor for his role in “Dallas Buyers Club.” One of the top acceptance speeches of the night, McConaughey blended emotion, gratitude, humor and fun into a wonderful presentation. Often we hear people thank God in their speeches, but this year there didn’t seem to be as many. So kudos to McConaughey for giving props to his beliefs. He also did a great job in honoring his mother and wife and family, told a great story about how he strives to be his own hero, and ended on a strong note quoting his famous “Dazed and Confused” character, “Alright, alright, alright.” Nice.
What You Can Learn: Many of the lessons from other Oscar acceptance speeches last night apply here as well: tell a story, share your gratitude, and be yourself.

Best Speech of the Night: Lupita Nyong’o, for best Supporting Actress in “12 Years a Slave.” Wow. This first-time nominee and winner blew us away with a perfect example of a beautiful, eloquent and elegant acceptance speech. She thanked the people who made the movie and finished by motivating children everywhere that if they have a dream, it can come true saying, “When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me, and every little child, that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid. Thank you.” This child is inspired and motivated!! I wish I could find video of her entire speech to embed here, but it appears the Academy has made most copies be taken down except what appears to be those sanctioned here. Scroll down to see this heartfelt speech.

What You Can Learn: As you can see from this list of the best speeches at the Oscars, most of were good for one reason or another. What was most striking about this speech is that this young woman from Kenya, who had never appeared in any movie of any kind burst onto the scene doing what she loves, living in her genius, and took home the ultimate award possible in her business. That success story is motivational and exciting to see and to know that when we walk in our own genius the rewards for anyone can be great. Go see more about walking in your own genius here.
I’d love to see in the comments what your favorite speeches were and what moments you enjoyed!

The Devil Is in the Details

Don't let the laundry rob you of your life's purpose!

Don’t let the laundry rob you of your life’s purpose!

As I sit here writing this post I have about 927.5 things on my -to-do list that exists, as of this moment, only inside my head. [cue dramatic dum-dum-DUUUUUM music.] Now stop, before you ask how an item can be a .5 on a to-do list. It is inside my head. So there.

There are piles of laundry that have be to tossed into the washer, then other piles that need to be folded and put away; dinner somehow will sneak up on me if I don’t start thinking about planning what that will look like; my assistant asked me this morning about two different projects we’re working on; I have marketing messages to write and send; people to follow up with; a book of my own to review the edits on; a new book to organize, sort out and add to; volunteer activities to coordinate (although that part is done for the moment, I think!); class content to create; sponsors to find for a couple of events this year… and that’s just today. And I’m wondering if my 6th grader has basketball game tonight, gotta check her schedule. Oh and the taxes to do. Ick.

Note to self: Maybe this is why I should be using Bob the Teacher’s Mind Map stuff... to get all this out of my head…

Yet all those “things” that are clamoring for the attention of my ADD brain [squirrel!] that all somehow have to get done, all that “noise” inside my head reminded me of something as I was showering, when I do my best thinking, that the old adage, “the devil is in the details,” can mean more than what it commonly means.

Most people use the phrase, “the devil is in the details,” to mean that an idea or project or event is fun and exciting and interesting, but in order to pull it off there are a million little things that have to happen in order for the complete idea, project, or event to fully come together. That part isn’t always so fun, thus the usage of “devil.”

Beyond that most common meaning, however, it occurs to me that it’s those same details that can keep you from your most important work. The work you are on this earth to do.

When our brains and our lives are filled with the mundane, the “hurry up and get this done and move on to the next thing,” the minutiae of life, it’s so easy to forget that each us has a gift from God to share with the world; and in fact, we likely have many gifts. Yet, sadly, none of those gifts, our true genius, can be shared with the world if our brains and our laundry baskets are overflowing.

Now, that’s not to say you should chuck your to-do list, wherever it may be (on paper, on your smartphone app, or in your head) and remove yourself from all responsibilities. In fact, I suggest the contrary. Find a system that works for you to get all that “stuff” done and carve out time in your busy life to spend some precious time thinking about, working on, learning about, and doing things that will matter in 20 years. Because if you don’t carve out the time, soon 20 years will have come and gone and you’ll wonder what you did with the time.

Don’t believe me? What day is it right now as you read this? Ask yourself what you did in the past 7 days since the last time you were on the same day of the week. It’s likely you accomplished a bunch of small things. For example, if the laundry doesn’t get done, we have no clean clothes to wear; if the groceries aren’t purchased, dinner doesn’t get on the table; if we don’t interact on Facebook, the world could come to an end. But what BIG things were you able to get done that will impact the legacy you leave the world?

The devil can be in the details, because it’s those very details which are stopping your flow and not allowing your genius to shine through and stopping you in your tracks from sharing your gifts with the world.

For some, it means they don’t even know or remember why they are here. If you are alive and have breath in your body (something I don’t take for granted after surviving lung cancer), you have a purpose, gifts to share and serve the world with, what can be referred to as your unique genius. You simply have yet to discover it because of those darn “details.”

For others their unique genius is evident, but it’s those daily details that stop them from taking the time to truly develop those gifts. It’s like receiving a beautiful rosebush for your garden, but neglecting to water and fertilize it, allowing whatever weather comes to take care of it because you’re too busy. It may survive because it was planted where it belonged, but it will be neglected, and not grow to it’s full potential, and possibly never bloom. You must make the time to develop your genius.

Finally, for a few, they have found a way to carve out time to develop and appreciate their genius and gifts, but allow those daily devil’s details to stop them from sharing with the world. When you don’t, you waste your precious gifts keeping them to yourself, as if you a hoarder of blessings not willing to allow others in to experience your light. We are here to serve others with our gifts and you’ve got to deliver those gifts to the people who need them most.

It’s time to get your life on track for the greater things you are meant to do.

If you’re ready for that, join The Genius Factor today. Don’t let the devil throw the details in your way so you never get to bring your essence, light, gifts and true genius to the world.

Today I’m Throwing It Down: Passive Income Challenge

I love *real* roller coasters like the Tennessee Tornado at Dollywood, but not the entrepreneurial kind. Yuck.

I love *real* roller coasters like the Tennessee Tornado at Dollywood, but not the entrepreneurial kind. Yuck.

I’m tired of it!

You know that crazy roller coaster of entrepreneurial income? The one where you feel like a millionaire rock star one month and a pauper the next? The one when you work like a wild person and make a ton of cash (hopefully) but then when you don’t (or can’t) work you have to start scraping for coins in the couch cushions, at the bottom of your purse, and in the seats of the car? Roller coasters I LOVE, but THAT one, well it’s long time to get off.

The thing is it doesn’t matter how long or short of a time you’ve been in business. It doesn’t matter at what point of income you feel like a prince(ss) or a pauper. We all know the feeling. And if we’re being honest, it happens far too often.

So OK, for a minute, let’s say you’re a smarty pants and you’re thinking, “I make more than enough money speaking/coaching/consulting/serving clients. I have no idea what you’re talking about Felicia.” Good for you. And here’s the thing — ask yourself:

What happens in your business on the days you don’t work?

Or if you’re in a day job, and you take off? Maybe the kids are sick, or you’re feeling under the weather yourself (you knew you shouldn’t have gone to that hole-in-the-wall restaurant!), or maybe you get diagnosed with something serious and have to take off for more than just a couple days. What happens with your business then?

You likely don’t make money, that’s what.

If you’ve ever struggled through that, you’ll certainly agree that feeling like you *have* to work with clients, be on stage, or show up “or else” is not a fun way to live.

I learned that hard lesson last year when I had to take almost 6 months off work throughout the year because of serious health challenges. And I found out the hard way I still had  some work to do.

Well, I’ve found the answer.

Actually, I’ve found 21 powerful yet simple ways to create passive income streams so on those days when you can’t (or don’t want to!) show up to work, you can still bring in cash! AND the great thing is because of my relationship I’ve built with David Perdew, the founder of NAMS where he’s had me keynote speak twice and teach on his faculty time and again, he’s given me a “super secret I’m the only one doing this right now” coupon code so you can get access to it all – valued at almost $200 – for FREE!  Just use coupon code: FSPassive.

I’ve worked hard this year to develop more passive income streams, but after diving deep into the content David Perdew and my friend Nicole Dean, another faculty member at NAMS, have created and that you can get for FREE but only through tomorrow, is that I still have a long way to go and much more passive income to gain!

**Challenge Alert**

Today, right now: I’m throwing it down. Let’s build our passive income streams together!

Yes I know it’s the holidays. Yes I know it’s a busy time. And that’s exactly WHY you should seriously consider joining me in this challenge. When you’re busy and want to be doing fun things away from your business or want to put your head down and write your next book or create your next speech, you still want (and need) money coming in. That’s what passive income will do for you.

So together – let’s get it going. I’ll be posting my progress here on my blog and I’ve even made a dedicated Facebook group to support anyone who wants to join in the challenge with me.

Be sure to pick up the Found Money passive income workshop to get some ideas and get started. The original price of $197 is a great investment into your business but as I said, I managed to clinch a great deal for you as my valued customer.

For a limited time, you can have it at zero cost but hurry.

Go to this link then download and devour everything!

This offer goes away for good on December 8th.

If you miss this one, you are likely to find yourself in exactly the same position as you are now. Let’s change that and make money while we don’t work!

Add your comment below to let me know you’re in and join me on the Passive Income Challenge for Speakers, Authors, Consultants & Entrepreneurs Facebook group to keep accountable and bring in more passive income!

How I Won a $16,000 Prize Package

Felicia Slattery at Wallaby Web Design video cabin retreat

At the cabin reaping the rewards of my video – and making more and professional videos, too. This was my first time using a teleprompter!

Funny story, really…

A few months ago, out of the blue I received an email from someone I’d never met, Nathan at Wallaby Web Design, inviting me to participate in a contest. All I’d have to do to win the $16,000+ prize package was make a 5-minute or less video explaining why I should win and submit it by the end of the week.

Being a competitive person, I was up for the challenge. I had visions of using screen capture video to show my messy website, many pages of disorganized info, and tons of content collecting virtual dust. Except that week, I was headed to speak at a multi-day event, and one of my presentations was scheduled at the last minute, so I was busy preparing. Still, I didn’t want to miss a chance to win something as cool as the package they were offering, so one evening in my hotel room while at that event, before running out to meet a few of the other speakers for dinner, I turned my laptop camera on, spoke directly to the camera, and shot what became my winning submission.

Because it had to be less than 5 minutes long, and my actual recording was 5 minutes, 41 seconds, later that night (waaaay later), I was forced to  edit the video to get it under time. At that point I was tired and you may know my infamous lack of technical skills anyway – holy rough cut, Batman. I ended up cutting words right in the middle – what a disaster!

Yet as I write this I’m on a plane headed to an exclusive lodge in ski country outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. There I’ll spend the next three days working on my business, shooting videos for my website, and getting hands-on help from expert online marketing professionals. I get to do this four times with the lodge stay and all meals included.

I’m also in the middle of making major changes to my website and blog with a new logo, totally new design, new pages, new everything.

Over the course of the next 10 months I’m going to have 36 landing pages made just for me, complete with video, written copy, opt-in forms, follow-up emails, and even gorgeous custom graphics.

This is the prize package I won, valued at more than $16,000. I’m getting ALL of it – plus personal private coaching – FOR FREE.

How did a TERRIBLY rough cut video end up winning a $16,000 contest? At first I thought maybe mine was the only entry. But it turns out my video was just one of many entrants. The reason I won was because I was able to communicate my message – what I wanted to say to win – from the heart and speak to my “audience,” the folks putting on the contest.

I did it with nothing more than a simple “talking head” or “direct to camera” video.

Video is a powerful tool for your business, no matter if you’re trying to win something or sell something, and we’re just in the infancy of seeing video do its thing online.

If you’re not yet using video, and want to know how, the absolute easiest way to start is by simply turning on your camera and talking. If you don’t know what to say or how to say it, that’s where I come in.

I’ve created a Speaking on Video Boot Camp where we’ll spend just 3 days together getting you in video-making shape. And by the end of the three days you’ll even have your first three videos DONE. Can I get a woo-hoo?!

You can learn more and register at the Speaking on Video Boot Camp registration page, but there’s one more thing you need to know.

In honor of winning the prize package I did, and because I’m headed to Salt Lake City, Utah this weekend to reap some of the rewards of the prize package, I want to offer you a special deal. When you visit the page, enter coupon code “Utah” (without the quotation marks) and you’ll save $50 on the upcoming program, which is already 50% off what I originally sold it for. It’s just my way of sharing the video-making love.

Go see more right now because that coupon code is only good for as long as I’m in Utah – til Monday. Then come on back to watch this poorly edited, yet winning video submission! (You will laugh.)

 

Networking Tips – Just Because You Have My Business Card Does NOT Mean I Want to Be On Your List

business cards stackThis morning I’m seriously re-considering my use of business cards and happily handing them out when people want to connect with me.

Once again I was added to another mailing list because “at some point our paths have crossed.” I promptly unsubscribed.

Yes, I can use a different email address on my business cards, have a VA check that list, come up with multiple formats of cards with and without email, etc. But why should I have to do all that?! Here’s the key lesson: Just because you have my business card does not mean that I’m even in the market for what you sell.

I once had a sales guy I know pretty well tell me that’s what the point of networking and meeting people is… to get their cards, add them to his list, and then they get to learn more about him. My point? No it’s not. It’s about building relationships and honest connecting.

Here’s a better way: You want me to subscribe to your email marketing list? Send me a personal invitation from you telling me where we met and suggesting why, based on our conversation, I might be interested in what you share via email. Include a link to where I can sign up and let me decide for myself. Otherwise, when you’ve added me to your list simply because we crossed paths, you’ve alienated me before I even get a chance to know you and there’s almost nothing you can do at that point to make me want to connect with you. As author Scott Stratten of UnMarketing commented on my Facebook rant about this very topic today: “People need to have opt-in newsletters, not opt-out.”

Thank You For The Miracle.

Felicia Slattery cancer survivor

Just hours after surgery, the day I received a miracle.

Felicia Slattery cancer survivor

Me a couple weeks ago with my soon-to-be 95 year-old Grandmom, whose genes of strength and longevity I’ve luckily inherited for certain!

Dear Friends:

As I write this I have tears of humility in my eyes and my heart is  overflowing with gratitude.

Today is a joyous occasion for me.

One year ago today I received a miracle. And it was because of you.

I was cured 100% of lung cancer.

It happened through my amazing medical team and the miraculous part came about from the power of prayer. Sharing this story is my way to say thank you and perhaps, if you are battling something in your life: illness, addiction, heartache, you will feel inspired and hold onto hope for a miracle to cure your life, too.

After many months of x-rays, tests, and two bronchoscopies (a procedure that did a look-see down my windpipe to the outer region of my lung), stemming from a serious case of pneumonia that never fully resolved, and a negative biopsy of a tumor found at the entrance to the middle lobe of my right lung, I was diagnosed with adeno-squamous small cell lung cancer on September 20, 2012.

Suddenly I was in a medical whirlwind that those who have ever received a cancer diagnosis know all too well. Seemingly endless tests from CT scans, MRIs, bone scans, blood tests galore and more gave way to appointments with specialist after specialist all sharing their take on my challenge and some gingerly sharing horrible things like “5-year survival rates,” which for a never-smoker, non-asbestos-exposed, no-other-typical risk factor case in a young 42 year old female, were pretty good at about 80-85%. I did meet with this one jerky oncologist who, before examining me, and barely opening my file told me the others were either lying or idiots and I had only about a 60-65% chance of living to see my 47th birthday. He did so in front of my worried father, who carted me to every single one of those visits. You’ll be happy to know, I never saw that oncologist again in my life, and had I not been pre-occupied with cancer, would likely have written a strongly-worded letter to someone in charge. I wanted honesty and truth, but above all I wanted and deserved as a human being COMPASSION and EMPATHY.

I knew family and friends were praying for me. And I decided to set up a private Facebook group for those close to me so I could update my status from one appointment to the next. I chose social media because most of my family and friends were there regularly anyway and it was easy for me to “check in” at hospitals and so forth, add photos, and more.

After all those visits I quickly weighed my options, chose a surgeon, and scheduled my surgery for the day after what could have been the final speaking gig of my entire career. Then I had an odd sense of feeling relieved and at peace. I knew, somehow, that everything was going to be okay.

Next is when the miracle of YOU happened.

The night before surgery, nervous yet calm, I sent out a plea to my community of subscribers, my blog readers, and my social media friends and followers, numbering close to 30,000. Here’s what I wrote:

“If you’re the praying type, please send up a prayer for me and the surgeon (Dr. McAfee) that all goes smoothly, is easy, and painless. If you’re more of the visualizing type, please visualize the IV going in the first time easily and my body healthy and complete. And if you’re of the sending good energy type, I’ll take all the good vibes you can muster!”

That short request led to an avalanche of prayers and positive energy from friends and people around the world, in 22 countries, most of whom I had never met in my life. I was added to church prayer lists, lifted up in Facebook prayer warrior groups, and thought about in the private hearts of people around the world. I’m in tears now as I remember it and so grateful for every single one; I can never know how many people even paused for a moment, but I know it all led to my own miracle.

lifelicia Slattery cancer survivorThe next morning as I was prepped for surgery before dawn, I silently wept, afraid most of the terror of the IV going in. You see, I’m what they call a “hard stick” and have had occasions where more than a dozen nurses, doctors, and EMTs took over two hours just to run one IV with more than two dozen attempts – each a painful stick of a needle and then some digging inside trying to find access to a vein.  Much to my shock and horror, I not only had to have one IV run that day, but because of the multiple medications and various procedures, I needed TWO – one in each arm. I had held it together pretty well over the past couple of weeks, not because I felt the need to hold it together, but because I really was simply working through the process of what needed to be done, but that news was enough to bring the tears forth.  My husband was in the room and one of my best friends texted me comfort.

As I was wheeled into the surgical waiting area, away from my husband now, alone with strangers who would soon be cutting into my body, I tried to relax (as if) and focus on the various instructions, repeating my name and birthdate to at least seven people. The next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery area and my surgeon telling me what she had found.

Similar to most cancer surgeries, when the doctor removed my tumor and lymph nodes, each was examined while I was in the operating room to make sure nothing else needed to be removed and to once again verify the specific diagnosis. That’s when they found something curious – and miraculous.

a picture of lung cancer

A picture of cancer. The top left are the open, clear and healthy airways of my left lung. The top right and bottom two images are of my blocked right airway leading into my right lung – the tumor.

What was only days before diagnosed from an actual tissue sample as “small cell adeno-squamous lung cancer,” suddenly became something different.

At this point in the story, you should know there are three categories of lung cancer: small cell with its variations, large cell with its variations, and something so rare it’s barely ever mentioned called muco-epidermoid. In fact, in a 20-year study at Harvard University Cancer Centers, exactly 12 cases of this muco-epidermoid lung cancer were diagnosed and treated. Of those 12, not one person died, the cancer never spread, and it never returned. So my diagnosis from a much more lethal small-cell type of lung cancer almost certainly requiring radiation and chemotherapy, to something that became a relatively easy “cut and paste” job requiring only occasional follow-up, was the miracle I received that day.

It’s all thanks to you, my community, my family, my friends and the power of prayer.

I could go on and on, but I’ll save that for my next book. :-) For now, as always, I like to provide a few take-away lessons for you, dear reader. So here’s what you can do when you find yourself in a life-challenging situation:

  1. Build Your Connections Before You Need Them: I’m not getting on my “public speaking rocks” soapbox, but I will tell you most of my connections, and eventually the prayers and support, all came because those people saw me speak either in person or virtually through the Internet.  However you do it, build your network and nurture your relationships because someday you may need an army of people to reach out to.
  2. Kick the Negative Ninnies to the Curb: Stay away from people, even doctors or other specialists and experts who don’t support you or treat you how you want and deserve to be treated. Period.
  3. Surround Yourself with Loved Ones and Let Them Circle the Wagons: There is virtually nothing family and friends can do for you medically, if that is your challenge, so they often feel helpless. Allowing them to do for you in any way they physically can while you take care of yourself, rest, and recover is a gift so they feel useful and as if they are contributing to your wellness (because they are!) while at the same time giving you the time and space to heal that you desperately need.

With that, I’d like to end with a song that is uplifting that I love listening to. Mandissa thinks you’re an over-comer and I do too! And from the bottom of my LUNG I thank you gratefully for the miracle.

Open Letter to the COO of Delnor Hospital

how to communicate with customers during constructionNote: My Mom is pretty sure I’m a lot like Taylor Swift. If you do something that upsets me, you’ll not end up in a song, but in a speech, book, and/or blog post as an example of what NOT to do. Here’s an example from my day today. I wrote this and sent it in the mail because the COO’s fax contact information is not readily available.

An Open Letter to Robert Friedberg, Chief Operating Officer of
Delnor Hospital, Geneva, Illinois

Robert Friedberg
Chief Operating Officer
Delnor Hospital
300 Randall Road
Geneva, Illinois 60134

October 2, 2013

RE: Patient Complaint

Dear Mr. Friedberg:

Imagine for a moment that your wife, [name omitted but can be found online], had to make her way to Delnor for a procedure. Yesterday, you would likely have reminded her that the main entrance to the hospital is closed, parking can be a nightmare, and to enter the hospital, it’s probably best to park on the north side because that’s where the entrance is now located. She might have been concerned about whatever health issue was bringing her to the hospital, but it wouldn’t be compounded by the stress and chaos of confusion around where to go and how to get into the building.

I wish I had that same “insider information” this morning. But instead I had to learn all that the hard way when I arrived at the hospital today and tried to find an entrance – any entrance – to the hospital to arrive on time for my appointment to get a CT scan as a follow up to the muco-epidermoid lung cancer I mysteriously contracted last year and had cured by the amazing Dr. Mollie McAfee.

Going to the hospital for most people is stressful enough, or in some cases happy and exciting with the birth of a baby, only to be met by the torn up parking lot, then have that stress exacerbated by severe lack of signage and less-than-friendly staff giving vague directions, and a less-than-empathetic receptionist … I’d be hard-pressed to recommend anyone go to Delnor hospital for any procedure.

I was not the only one lost and confused while trying to get to a destination inside your facility this morning. I was followed closely by several elderly people trying to find their way to appointments and simply an entrance into the hospital. Cutting through the cafeteria or going all the way back to the car to drive around to the other side of the building, all with no signage are not acceptable options.  There we were marching through the labyrinth of your parking lot trying to make our way to a front entrance that turned out to be closed, being told by a surly construction worker in broken English that the only way in was to walk back through the parking lot another 250 yards and go in “that door over there with the green roof.” They all have green roofs.  Seriously.

All of this confusion could easily have been remedied. I was on the phone yesterday with someone from your staff who called to confirm my appointment. At that time she could simply have mentioned as part of her script that the hospital is undergoing major renovations, to park around the north side of the building, and enter at the temporary entrance on the north (or wherever) side, and to arrive with enough time to allow for the limited parking as a result of the construction.  Of course that didn’t happen.

Further, the signage in the parking lot and inside the building for construction-related detours is either abysmal or non-existent.  Posted just inside the entrance off Keslinger Road is a small sign with so many directions on it, is impossible to read with traffic following behind, construction vehicles in the way, and the disorientation of the chaos. Why are there not signs posted outside every single entrance with an arrow that say, “Hospital Main Entrance During Construction – This Way?” Why is there not a single LARGE sign with the only two necessary directional lines on them “EMERGENCY” and “MAIN ENTRANCE DURING CONSTRUCTION?”  Why are there not ANY easily visible signs at that entrance directing visitors where they should park to enter the building?

I run an international communication consulting practice based out of my home in a nearby suburb. As a best-selling author and award-winning speaker, my clients from around the world pay me to find these communication challenges and suggest easy, quick, and low-cost alternatives to fix them. It seems your organization values good communication, based on the accolades for your nurses posted throughout the hospital. As a patient and a professional, I hope you get this right. Each day that passes is a challenge for your visitors and patients alike. I wonder how many dozens have experienced what I have but instead of alerting you, simply told everyone they know that Delnor is awful?

Respectfully,

Felicia J. Slattery, M.A., M.Ad.Ed.

————————————————————-

To my blog visitors: Have you ever written a complaint letter to the leader of an organization? What results did you get, if anything? We shall see if I hear anything. I’ll keep you posted.

Public Speaking Scams: Too Good To Be True

scamOh dear reader.

If I were to tell you about the tale of international intrigue and scams of epic proportions – into the hundreds of thousands of dollars that I personally know about – your head would be spinning. Mine is.

This week I was fortunate to NOT get caught into such a scam, but I was on the phone with the scammer himself all the way from Thailand, where he says he retired at the ripe old age of 28 after selling software he created for a multi-million dollar “8-figure” sum. The reality is he’s been defrauding people for years and had to move to Thailand likely to evade the law and certainly to escape his true identity; I met his alter ego /pseudonym / alias this week.

How I came to be on the phone with this scammer, who thought he might actually have an opportunity to rip me off by talking me into giving him $6,000 was through a trusted colleague who himself was scammed by the same guy, along with many other smart, upstanding business people.

What the scammer didn’t know is he never had a chance with me and my money. Here’s why.

I not only never heard of him, but I couldn’t find anything on the Internet about him, either; not in any country where he supposedly lived and worked. My skepticism is best explained by this quotation from the late, great motivational speaker, Jim Rohn:

“Women have an incredible ability to pick up on emotional signals. For example, there are some wolves that are so clever they have learned to dress up like sheep. Man says, “Looks like a sheep. Talks like a sheep.” Woman says, “Ain’t no sheep!”” — Jim Rohn

One look using a free tool we all have access to – Google – and I knew that scammer dude ain’t no sheep. His alias didn’t exist anywhere in the world or online until June of this year. Suddenly as of June 2013 he had a bunch of social media accounts – none with even ONE photo of him (and really that’s just lazy scamming because anyone could grab a stock photo dude and pretend it’s them); every web page site and press release said the same exact 2 paragraphs. And there was nothing online about him that he did not write or put out himself.

This particular scammer was trying to use me as an entry into scamming other speakers around the world. I wasn’t about to let THAT happen. However, he had fooled other speakers and professionals I know personally. Smart people. People who want to trust others. People who are successful because of the relationships they’ve built and the action they’ve taken. People you would never imagine falling for such a scam. But when you’re the mark of a con man, you almost never see it coming until it’s too late.

Public speaking scams abound, sadly. So here are a few tips to protect yourself:

  • When someone wants to make any kind of “deal” with you beyond a “normal” fee for goods or services be on guard from the start. Caveat emptor, my friend.
  • Ask questions. Lots of questions. Any business person not willing to answer your questions about how they work, their background and experience, isn’t worth working with anyway, and is a warning sign that you could be dealing with a scammer.
  • Ask for references and then CONTACT the references.Usually a quick email is all you need or outreach on social media with a simple message.
  • Learn how to search and what to look for online. Don’t assume testimonials on a website are real or from real people. If someone is claiming an international presence and references a specific country, go to Google and first search “Google Australia” then when you get to that country-specific Google search site, search for the person’s name.  Type in the person’s name and the word “scam” or “rip off” and see what comes up.
  • Get a contract. Even though most scammers will write in loopholes, you can start to protect yourself if you decide to go forward and the person ends up being a con artist.

And finally trust your gut. If any part of you feels like something isn’t quite right, then don’t do it. Sure you could be passing on something that might have been amazing, but it’s much more likely you’ll save yourself the headaches and heartaches of a really bad decision to work with a really bad person.

 

3 Ways to Refresh Your Speaking

StartIf you’ve ever done any speaking or taken a course on using speaking to market your business, do you remember how excited you were? Many of my clients have taken classes in creating and using a Signature Speech(TM) to share their messages with the world.
Many of us, myself included, often learn a skill and jump in with both feet at the beginning. But then life and work momentum kicks back in and pulls you in the usual other directions and suddenly, you have less time than you’d hoped for that thing you were so excited about.
It’s ok. It happens. And here’s what you can do about it.
If you need to refresh on your Signature Speech(TM) or any speaking, here are 3 tips to get you moving again:
  1. Recommit.  You know speaking is powerful and you’re ready to make that happen and get on more stages. Recommitting to speaking means taking specific actions like setting some time aside to reach out to meeting planners, update your materials, start telling people you’re a speaker, and plan your marketing after your speech.
  2. Practice. If it’s been a while since you’ve done your speech, pull it out and practice it a few times beginning to end. Make any necessary changes based on new services you offer or current events in your industry.
  3. Start Fresh. You may be in a different situation than you were when you originally took my Signature Speech(TM) training or discovered speaking. Or you might have something totally new or unique you’ve come up with in your business that people LOVE that has nothing to do with your old speech. Maybe it’s time to write a new one. If it is, pull out your Signature Speech(TM) course content and put together a new speech.
If you’re thinking of refreshing your speech, this week I’m doing something I’ve never done: holding an intimate event where I’ll be writing speeches live, on the spot, for the attendees. You may not be able to get there or by the time you read this post, that event could be long over, but whatever you do, if you know for a fact that speaking is a powerful way to spread your mission and your message, find a way to get it rolling for you. Of course I’d love to help you. But in the meantime, I’d love to hear in the comments below about your powerful message and how you help people.

Public Speaking – You Could Be Boring If…

Photo Courtesy of Kurt Scholle.

Photo Courtesy of Kurt Scholle.

Do you ever wonder if your audience is as excited about your speech as you are? Or maybe, are you secretly worried that you might be boring your audience to tears?

The first step to get past being boring is to admit you are a bore on stage. But how can you know for sure? Here are a few obvious, and maybe even less-than-obvious signs:
  • Sleepers: Some people have incorporated so much movement and activity into their lives that when they are forced to sit still, like during your speech, no matter how fantastic you are, they literally collapse and fall asleep. That’s more about them than it is about you. But if you have more than one person looking groggy as you speak, you could be boring.
  • Otherwise Engaged: If your audience members are sneaking glances at their phones, zoned out, arms crossed, looking around the room, and not listening to you or your message, you could be boring.
  • You Don’t Ask for, And Don’t Get Any Response: If your entire speech is one-sided and could be delivered the same exact way by video, you’re missing the point of having people there in person. With a live audience, you have the opportunity to ask questions, elicit feedback, even – gasp- ask them to stand up and move a little. If you deliver a monologue and never even ask for so much as an occasional head nod, you could be boring.
Lately I’ve been thinking about this as event season is gearing up again and we’re all bound to be stuck listening to boring speakers. Let’s make sure we’re not part of THAT group!!!
Making sure you’re not boring is just one benefit of having a proven Signature Speech(TM) working for you in your business. I invite you to come to my 1-day only live event, I’m calling Signature Speech(TM) Shazam! That’s on Friday the 13th of September, and I’ll be writing 13 speeches for only 13 participants – and I’m guaranteeing all 13 people will walk away with their speeches DONE that day. Jump on board right away so you secure your spot before it sells out (and it will).
And I promise you one thing: it will be anything BUT boring! In fact, I can promise you’ll laugh, you’ll have fun, and you’ll be productive. Now THAT’S a good day!
So back to being boring… have you ever had to admit you were being boring? What did you do about it? I’d love to know your experience in the comments below.

1 2 3 16
Connect with Felicia
Archives