Critical Speaking Skills for Leaders

In this, The Faces of Business, Rosemary Ravinal, Public Speaking Coach and Media Trainer, Rosemary Ravinal (RMR) Communications Consulting, talks about the critical speaking skills leaders need to maximize their effectiveness and performance.

In this, The Faces of Business, Rosemary Ravinal, Public Speaking Coach and Media Trainer, Rosemary Ravinal (RMR) Communications Consulting, talks about the critical speaking skills leaders need to maximize their effectiveness and performance.

Rosemary has held on-air and high-level communications roles for companies such as Univision, MSNBC, Discovery, Sony Ericsson, and A&E Television. She has developed her speaking skills through decades of practice as a corporate spokesperson and media personality in the U.S. mainstream, Hispanic, and Latin American markets.

Rosemary is a virtual and in-person C-suite speaking coach who helps leaders master the art of public speaking to facilitate inspiring presentations and authoritative interviews that improve careers, companies, and lives. Rosemary uses her extensive experience in media, communications, and public relations to help leaders develop the critical skills necessary to shine on the physical and virtual stages.

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Damon is pleased to welcome Rosemary to the Livestream. He highlights why business leaders critically need speaking skills.

While talking about her three-decade-long, full of challenges journey, Rosemary says she wanted to be a broadcast journalist in college. But her speech impediment—stammer—rendered her underconfident. She could not speak live or in front of an audience.

She, however, got interested in journalistic writing. She became editor of the newspapers for both high school and college and “developed a love for communications.” She graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism.

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She started her career as a public relations officer and continued for six years. Additionally, she worked for corporate communications for quite some time. She had a dream to buy an apartment in Manhattan, New York City. So she went that route.

Even when she started doing radio in college, her speech anxiety never went away. She still remembers the pressure of error-free speech and “no room for the deer in the headlights thing.” Similarly, she remembers when she could “speak fluently and fluidly.” She believes that speaking fluently has been life-changing. Rosemary reveals that as a corporate coach, she has always enjoyed getting herself and others ready to talk with confidence and clarity.

She has the “privilege to work for companies like A&E Television, History Channel, NBC Universal, Telemundo, and Univision. Regarding work ethics, she has never worked for a company whose values she didn’t support in some way.

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She worked for Sony Ericsson. Twenty years ago, they launched a waterproof, water- and impact-resistant phone. It was meant for the construction trades and workers. They could use the mobile phone in rugged and wet places. The device worked as promised. She believed in the product and its makers. Sometimes, manufacturers make hyperbolic claims about their products which is “a cause of discomfort” for her. Damon aptly sums up that “the amount of sales language” and promotional strategy vary from company to company.

She also talks about her working experience at various media outlets. She came across actual events, science, nature, “and things that enrich our lives.” She calls it “infotainment.”

Additionally, she shares glimpses of Univision and calls it “fascinating.” It is the largest Spanish-language entertainment company in the world. “There was always something interesting to discover, talk about, write about, and publicize.” The programs were unique and distinctive. There were so many different personalities and new talents.

Damon asks her what makes her a better coach to help business leaders speak better. Rosemary discloses that she is both a reasonable observer and a receptive listener. On top of all, she is a visual learner. “I hear people saying dumb things.” She believes that people form opinions about us based on our first seven seconds of contact. They notice our presence, appearance, demeanor, and energy. Most importantly, “we need to understand each other.”

Unlike commonplace areas, verbal communication is far more critical in business. We use speaking skills in day-to-day communication in the workplace. Through speaking, we give and receive instructions, inspire followers, convince investors and keep employees happy, valued, and respected.

Underscoring the value of speaking, she says we can write about things all day long. But, when someone talks to us about those things and looks us in the eye, it “hits the nerve of comprehension.” In other words, “it’s the empathetic way of communicating to the brain through the heart. So the heart is the best way to get to the brain.”

In the same fashion, through honesty, authenticity, and originality, we can impact our listeners. Business leaders benefit from her help in improving the quality of their ideas, emotions, and sincerity that they put into their communication and the clarity of their messages.

In a one-on-one conversation, we must curate ourselves carefully and be watchful for how we are perceived because “everything speaks to who we are.”

She talks about filler words at length. She considers these words lazy speech for two reasons. Firstly, filler words are unnecessary. Secondly, they convey nothing. Phrases like “I mean,” “you know,” “it’s like,” and “I’m glad you asked that question” carry nothing meaningful. “It’s unnecessary noise.” She regrets that these fillers are becoming normalized now.

Rosemary sheds light on the pause by calling it “a moment of grace.” It is a moment that commands attention. Because when we stop speaking, people get curious and think that a big statement is about to follow. Similarly, pausing to take a breath attracts people “like a magnet.” In addition to a moment, the pause is “a magnificent device” used as a divider.

That also can give us time to pivot to a different topic. In other words, we pause if we want to change the subject or divert back to our main point. Moreover, it is a beautiful way to defuse heated conversations.

Meanwhile, the guest talks about her client’s post-transformation satisfaction. The transformation, in her words, is an ability to deliver our message confidently and without fear under all circumstances.

She also guides her clients in improving their body language, smiling, and tone of voice. She can better teach these things because she successfully worked through the stammer. She feels she’s adding value to her clients’ lives. “So you’re giving them a gift.”

She defines brevity in mathematical terms. She mentions that at a virtual workshop, Dorie Clark, one of the foremost business thinkers of our time, shared something significant. Brevity comes from a structure that consists of twenty-seven words, with delays, delivered in nine seconds, and containing three ideas. It is a potent structure.

She says we have nine to ten seconds to make a mark in a one-on-one conversation. Our brains process it efficiently. The magic of the number three allows us to remember. And, the 27 words are what you can say comfortably within those nine seconds.” Brevity is golden. And most people err on the side of saying too much.

She gives an example of a structure she explained above:

Climate catastrophes are costly. They’re affecting the waterfront and half a million homes. Much work remains to undo the damages caused by Hurricane Ian along the Gulf Coast. (27 words; 3 ideas; 9 seconds)

The conversation ends with Damon thanking Rosemary for her time.

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Rosemary Ravinal, Damon Pistulka


Damon Pistulka  00:00

All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And we have an incredible guest for you today, we have rosemary Ravenel with RMR, AR M, AR communications. And, I need some of the help. We’re going to be talking about critical speaking skills for leaders. Rosemary, welcome.


Rosemary Ravinal  00:23

Thank you, Damon. So excited to be here. Yes.


Damon Pistulka  00:27

Well, I just want to say and we were talking about this before, before we got on live, it’s I’m just honored to have you here today, rosemary, your background and in the things that you’ve done. It’s just going to be so much fun talking today. And just happy that you’re here today honored.


Rosemary Ravinal  00:45

I’m honored because I know you have a big following. And I’ve been watching this, this podcast and your LinkedIn lives. And I know that your content is always relevant.


Damon Pistulka  00:57

We like to have fun, and we like to share interesting people’s knowledge is really cool. And today talking with you about critical speaking skills for leaders, I think is a fitting topic for the audience that we normally speak with. Because in business, people are always trying to figure out how do I communicate better? How do I really get my message across, and we’re going to talk about that. But we always like to talk like to start by talking about your background. So let’s talk about your background a little bit. And what really brought you to where you are today and helping people improve their speaking skills.


Rosemary Ravinal  01:38

It’s been a long journey here, several decades, I won’t say exactly how many, more than three decades. The path I took was like I wanted to be a broadcast journalist when I was in college, but I had a stammer. So I wasn’t all that confident, speaking, live, or speaking in front of an audience. I’ll get back to that in a moment. So I discovered writing, I discovered journalism in high school and in college, I was editor of the, of the newspapers for both high school and college and developed a love of communications.

I graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism. But I took an easy way into business through public relations, which was a six year paid better. You know, I this is the time when you leave home, you want to have my I wanted to have my own apartment in Manhattan, New York City, you know, big time, independence and such. So I went that route. And I stayed pretty much in the public relations, corporate communications world for quite some time. And with some detours into media, but I wasn’t really ready to do that, because I still had this speech impediment. And I was able to work through it.

As a matter of fact, through broadcasting is when I started doing radio in college, I realized that when that microphone is hot, and I’m speaking into it, there’s no room for error. It was like, No, the deer in the headlights thing. Okay, you’re on? That’s it. You got to do it, you got to do it. Yeah. And there’s, and I remember the first time I did it, and when I was able to speak fluently and fluidly.

I was like, Yeah, I can do this, I can do this. But then I went back to my old patterns when I was not on air. But it showed me that that I could, that maybe there was just a little switch in my head that I needed to have to flip to be able to summon the clarity that I needed in order to do broadcasting the one fit and not if it came also with a voice coach who helped me understand how to take pauses, how to take a breath into a difficult word, and how to break up sentences into shorter phrases that would allow me to then get ready for that next set of sounds and to do them without stumbling.

Wow. Yeah. And after that, I went into I had the privilege to work for companies like Avon, which is now matura at&t, end History Channel, NBCUniversal, Telemundo, and leading into my most recent corporate job, which was head of public relations, VP public relations for Univision network, which is the Spanish language media company.

So I stepped out of that to do what I’m doing now because I’ve always loved to do coaching of executives. I had an opportunity to do live television network at in the early stages of MSNBC when there were countries Peter’s around a table and we would gather to just talk about the news of the day with no prompting, no script, no advance notice. And we would just chatter away about, you know, what do you think rosemary? What do you think Damon?

And it was great training, it was Yeah, to spring prom to speaking on steroids. And I love so much I went on to do some local television Public Affairs programs in New York, and then worked a great deal as a, as a spokesperson for many companies where I was the really the corporate representative, you know, with the media, and looking back at my career, and I’ve always enjoyed getting myself ready and getting other people ready to speak with confidence and clarity. And with influence, you know, because sometimes people you hear people talking and they’re saying making sounds, but they’re not really bringing anything of value.


Damon Pistulka  05:56

Yes. It’s I just thinking through of your some of your career as being a spokesperson for companies, I bet that there are some really fun times when you are a spokesperson. And then there probably were some difficult times when you’re a spokesperson. So do any of these great or challenging times stick out in your mind over the years where you had to get up in front of a microphone and, and it was like, This is so cool, we just, you know, landed on the moon kind of thing, or we just, you know, had had something that wasn’t great happening?


Rosemary Ravinal  06:41

You know, Damon, it’s 5050. Most of the time, I would need to speak the script of the employer. So it was already written for me or I, or I had had a hand in shaping it. And that wasn’t very gratifying because I sometimes didn’t believe 100% in what I was being asked to talk about. Yes. And those are times when you sort of keep your ethics but you’re you compromise your integrity, just a little bit.

Yeah, yeah. I never worked for a company whose values I didn’t support in some way. Yeah, yeah. So that’s where I drew the line. But sometimes I didn’t necessarily agree. Or if I was asked to say that, you know, this, for example, I’ve worked for, for Ericsson, for Sony Ericsson, in the early days of mobile telephony. And sometimes, it was a house. For example, one thing comes to mind when we were this sounds like the dark ages. It wasn’t that long ago was 20 years ago, that we were launching a waterproof water resistance, impact resistant foam.

That was meant for the construction trades, you know, for workmen for work people write they would be rugged enough to get wet, wet would be you know, drop on a brick. And, and I did a media tour about showing how this phone was it was big, and it was orange and was like this big, you know, it was like, Yeah, and it was so rugged, you could drop it into a bowl of water and he was still work. Well, sometimes, the test didn’t quite pan out, because it didn’t work when you took it out of the water and tried to make a call. And it was funny because it I believe in the product. I knew that technology was a little bit early.

Now of course we laugh at that, because, you know, it said that the mobile phone world has just skyrocketed into the, the galaxies. But the but those days were given still a lot of skepticism, you know, and we were making bold claims about the product being waterproof. I mean, it went on to launch it to market. It wasn’t a huge, resounding success. Because shortly after, of course, as soon as soon as Apple got into the picture, I mean, it was just there was a whole totally different ballgame, right?

There are some companies that didn’t survive, including Erickson in the US just too much competition. But in any case, it was one of those moments where you say, Okay, let’s put this in the glass of water and or the bowl of water and then you take it out and it doesn’t work. But most of the time, it was sometimes making claims and being very, sort of hyperbolic about this being the best and the only and you know the total solution to something when there was still you know, a little bit of, of margin that maybe it didn’t work as well or maybe there were others that we would and so there was a little bit of discomfort for me.

But there were other times like working for History Channel For example, the programming is so rich and so bad. malleable and so, you know, uplifting, that there was always so much unknown history and personalities and places and moments in time that were just really energizing to, you know, to talk about. So it was a mix of things. And I think that’s just consistent. I mean, I think we’re, I was fortunate to be able to work for companies whose messages and whose principles I really value and respect. But there are times of people in my industry, we don’t always get that chance.


Damon Pistulka  10:31

Yes, yes, I bet. Yeah. Yeah, I’m sure. Because the amount of sales language that goes into these promotional in this, this spokespeople have to have to convey it’s, it varies greatly from company to company. But you did bring up something about the History Channel and discovery and in a&e, when you’re working there, what really, what really? Did you like the best about that kind of environment where you’re really, I mean, that’s, that, to me, is just an educational thing. And as the channel says, discovery, did you really take to that because of that kind of environment? Or?


Rosemary Ravinal  11:16

Well, yes, yes. Yes. The nonfiction part of it, you know, we’re talking about, about events, about science about nature, and things that bring really enrich our lives. It’s, it’s entertainment is infotainment, to some extent, but it is, it gives people something that they didn’t have before. Yeah, as opposed to just sort of keeping us entertained and busy, our brains busy for a period of time, it actually leaves you with something? That’s a good point. And that to me, is television or media worth consuming?


Damon Pistulka  11:54

Yeah, that is true, because it is it does leave you with a little bit of value after that after it’s over. So as when you’re at Univision, what were you doing at university? Because I mean, in this just, Univision is such a huge, huge business. What was interesting there for you,


Rosemary Ravinal  12:16

oh, it was always fascinating. It the business is fascinating, is the largest Spanish language entertainment company in the world right now. With this acquisition of a fella visa, the Mexican giant of content. And the, there was always something interesting to discover, to, to talk about to write about to publicize, there are, you know, tons of programming that are unique and distinctive, there is there are so many different personalities and on your talent, you know, who each have their own quirky, you know, demands and understanding them and helping them be more successful. It’s conveying the performance of the other network compared to their competition.

There’s really a whole world of, of interesting people and content and challenges every day. So I was in charge of public relations for the entertainment division. So basically, what you saw on here except for news, that was a different division. Wow. That’s, that’s something.


Damon Pistulka  13:25

Cool. So as we move forward into today, I mean, you enjoyed the news, you enjoyed being a spokesperson, what really flipped the switch? Or, or how did you kind of come into I want to help individuals, be better communicators, better speakers.


Rosemary Ravinal  13:50

Because I observe I’m an observer of, of these kinds of things. I listened carefully. I watch. I’m a visual learner. And so I watch and I hear people saying dumb things. And I’m saying to myself, why couldn’t that have been said differently? And I understand from not only practice and working in the business, that what you say matters, how you say it matters. People form opinions about you about me about anyone based on the first seven seconds of contact with you. And it’s not only what you say and how you say it, it’s all of you.

Your presence. It’s the visual of the appearance, the demeanor, the energy, and all these things. No one really teaches us now if you’re if you are an actor, and you’ve done stage work, and of course, that’s something that that comes with your craft.

But in in the business world, we typically don’t learn these things. Maybe we’ve been part of a debate team and we learned some speaking skills there. Uh, but I’m talking about the day to day communication in the workplace, the kind of communication that builds trust that, galvanizes teams, inspires followers that convinces investors, right, that keeps employees happy, and valued and feeling valued and respected.

And, and connected, and, you know, community having a clear purpose of how you serve a community, all these things are really best transmitted through the human voice. You can write about it all day long, but it’s when someone gets up to actually talk to you about that and looks you in the eye, whether it be the virtual eye, or the in person eye, that’s when it really hits the nerve of, of comprehension. It’s the empathetic way of communicating to the brain, in through the heart.

So the heart is really the best way to get to the brain. And that’s been proven through neuroscience. So if you impact someone with honesty, with authenticity, with your personality, and you don’t have to be the most eloquent, articulate, well spoken person, I mean, that helps. But it’s is the quality of your ideas, and the emotion and the sincerity that you bring to the communication and the clarity of message. That’s something that has to be consistent the clarity of message and the intention that you are applying to what you’re communicating.


Damon Pistulka  16:36

Yeah, clarity of message. Yeah. That is something well, and I really, I really love to hear you say that you don’t have to be the most eloquent speaker, because that’s me. But you know, I think, too, you said a couple things. Brevity in and don’t say dumb, this is what I took from it. If you can reduce the amount of dumb things you say along the way, it will definitely help.

And, and I think we, when I listen to people talk or listen to myself, do a little bit of video, you kind of get to you think about this, and you see yourself talking, you realize that we fill in gaps, we say things when we don’t want a lot of time spent thinking maybe really what we want to be doing or we shouldn’t be doing. So what I mean, when you’re talking to people one on-one, what are some of the common things that you see that you go across the board? This is one of the things I see commonly that people can usually we should start working on.


Rosemary Ravinal  17:52

I thought you were well I think you’re baiting me into talking about filler words. I’m gonna go there and in I wasn’t but that’s good. Are you asking one on one on one is as important as one to 1000 In a way, it’s, it’s even more important because you have an intimacy that happens. There’s this proximity that exists that you don’t have when you’re on stage addressing a large audience or you’re on a video call.

However, let me let me condition what I just said, on video, it’s much more immersive, because you and I know that people watching right now or watching on replay will be able to do full screen, okay, look for you know, a pimple on my nose, or Kailyn my teeth, you know, looking because we were seeing each other in an immersive manner that’s not possible in person, you’re not going to get right up to someone’s face when you’re a person. That’s a breach of etiquette and that’s invading someone’s personal space. But on video, we can do that with sort of incognito.

So we have to be ready to be seen in all these different ways. So the one-on-one is, is important to, to use that and meet with obviously we need these skills, Damon, whether we’re doing it for work, you know for home for our family, whether we’re speaking to our children, to our parents, to our neighbors, to our church members, you know, to the PTA to where we’re running for elected office, all these things are our have to be consistent presentations of who we are sort of like you’re safeguarding your personal brand.

And the personal brand is sometimes we know really put to the test when people don’t care for how they are showing up on social, what they post, how they post, how they show up in a photograph. You really need to curate yourself very, very carefully and be very watchful for how you’re coming across. Because today, everything speaks to who we are. But let me go back to filler words and what you could also consider lazy speech, words that are unnecessary, because we’re now becoming so accustomed and limited to this put on cable news.

But on cable news, and you will hear someone or many people answering questions. I mean, you know, Damon, it’s like, you know, Damon, glad you asked that question. It’s like, I mean, absolutely. Is that what have I said? I’ve said nothing? I’ve said, good question. But a good question is almost a way of buying a few seconds to think about what you want to answer. But it’s constant. I mean, you know, it’s like, A, it’s, it’s, it’s now become almost normalized.

And that’s awful. Because every sound you utter, that’s not giving any value or conveying any information is like just clutter. It’s like static, you know, on a, on a recording. It’s unnecessary noise. And ultimately, what happens is the people perceive us as unprepared, uninformed, nervous, tentative, possibly even insincere. She’s hedging. She doesn’t want to answer the question. So she’s saying, you know, I mean, it’s like, okay, and that is just we’ve become lazy about it. Maybe many of the people who were doing it today, who are nationally recognized, experts may not realize they’re doing it, but because it’s done so much, it becomes normalized.


Damon Pistulka  21:58

Wow, there’s a lot of good stuff in there. I just wanted to say that, because you talked about the unnecessary noise and the fact that this is getting normalized. So let’s back up a little bit, because I am in it, it probably is not evident in my speaking, but the arms and the eyes. And those kinds of things. I really have over the last few years worked to get that out of my vocabulary. And I noticed a difference in myself.

And I think you bring up a big point as people listen to those people speaking that are doing that. It does make it hard to focus on the topic at hand, sometimes almost. And it’s just, it’s challenging. The other thing I was going to ask you in those situations where you’re getting rapid fire questions back and forth, because of this situation I’m in and I know other leaders are in often is that when I’m being asked questions, is it better for me just to pause? And take a moment and think about it, and then respond, because I know, a lot of people just want to say something.


Rosemary Ravinal  23:15

The pause is a more moment of grace. It is a moment that just on its own commands, attention. Because when you stop speaking, people will look up and see what happened. Is she getting ready for a big statement. Or here’s another one, when you take a breath like it’s like I’m getting ready to say something big, because I’m taking a breath, and I’m really getting ready to belt it out. It also brings people to you it’s like a magnet to you. The pause is just a magnificent device. You can use it in so many ways, certainly to give you time to think but it’s also divided considered a divider. Almost like a section break. That also can give you time to pivot to a different topic.

If you want to change the topic or, or sort of divert back to your main point if you think the conversation is going a little bit off the rails. It is it’s also a wonderful way to defuse heated conversations. When people are angry. When I’m angry, I’ll just start chattering away. Because it’s this reaction this emotional like I’m angry at another. If you take that breath and step back and say And this is really that important if I had been physically injured is this you know, for example, traffic, someone cuts you off in traffic and you want to just build out some curse word, take a moment and take a deep breath.

And then you’ll realize, hey, it’s nothing, nothing happened. Just a bad driver. And you move on and you gain a little bit of perspective, will similarly, it’s much easier to take those pauses, be more thoughtful about what you say, then having to go back and clean it up. And don’t we see every day in the media, people making public statements that they have to walk back. Because they said it without thinking. And some of these people are very intelligent, educated people, yet they still fall into that trap.


Damon Pistulka  25:54

Literally, almost like you said, everyone that’s in the public eye has done that.


Rosemary Ravinal  26:02

Yes, and you know how much people struggle then to walk it back. You can’t make it go away. You said, and in most cases, it’s been recorded somewhere by someone. So that you said it, you just have to be again, more thoughtful about saying it correctly, the first time.


Damon Pistulka  26:23

It’s like a retraction in a newspaper. Nobody reads that. They just read the main story that hit front page, the retractions on the third page, or the fifth page or the 10th page, nobody reads,


Rosemary Ravinal  26:35

and it happens, and it happens. And it just human, you know, human foibles, it happens. But it’s when you see it happen with such regularity. It’s just one after the other you say, hey, is this now become the standard of the way people miscommunicate. And that’s that, to me is a little bit dangerous. Because we’re at a time when we need to understand each other. When you have bridges of understanding, we need to really have those quality conversations, and not leave anything to chance.


Damon Pistulka  27:12

Amen to that. So when you’re helping people in these leaders, and you’re helping them speak, and they’re preparing, do you often have to teach them how to take what they want to say, and make sure that they’re not getting too technical to businessy to whatever and walk through that process a little bit of what you really need to do there, because I know it’s a, if you’re in business and you’re leading, that inevitably has to affect you.


Rosemary Ravinal  27:53

It’s important for people to understand that you have to first and foremost know to whom you’re speaking. So your message for one audience will be different than it will be for another audience. So that’s where you start, you know, who were you talking to? Who was going to be listening? Or watching? Or in that room?

And what do they need from you? What are you providing that only you can provide the information guidance, motivation, or whatever it is that they need? Or maybe you’re trying to influence them to sell or to buy a mutual to do to buy into what you’re selling or to invest in your business? Who are they? And what do they need to hear in order to be persuaded? That’s where it starts. So in some cases, maybe it is technical jargon, if you’re speaking, if you’re an engineer, and you’re talking to a room of engineers, they go well, you want to speak the engineering language.

But if you’re talking to a group of, of, let’s say, a graduating class and at a college or a commencement address or to a group of I don’t know a group of concerned citizens about something you want to speak their language you want to be simple, understandable, no acronyms, no jargon, and be sure that they will understand you. So it really it varies so much based on who your audience is. So that’s really where it starts. And very often, when I work with someone one on one, let’s say it’s a CEO, there, they’ve been given a speech written by someone else, where they really haven’t had the time to, to massage it, you know, to wordsmith it.

And so they’re reading just for the sake of an economy of time and resources. Someone very well intention well informed about the business is writing something that may be taken literally and that’s really not the best approach, which is you have to not only know to whom is being addressed But you have to understand you have to be comfortable with your words with the way you say things. So let’s say that, for example, you’re, you’re not a native English speaker, and say that you might use that work a lot with Spanish English speakers, bilingual speakers. And that person has a difficulty with a word like successfully.

It’s a difficult word to say, even in English. So why would you use the word successfully, when you can use a lot of different synonyms or other words to say the same thing? Right, you can say achieve the goal, or have you know, have beat be the winner. You know, there’s different ways of saying the same thing. But to be stuck on successfully, when it doesn’t come naturally to your tongue is just giving you that what I called the stutter, the stutter in your script, that doesn’t have to be there. So I work I massage and polish those scripts, work it into that person’s cadence.

So let’s say the person prefers does better with short sentences, and likes to have a lot of eye contact and get acknowledgment the from the audience, you know, is very, very warm and engaging, when you want to have that person have shorter sentences. And maybe have some moments where you can ask for feedback from the audience, how many of you have seen that or experienced that and we see show of hands, so that you have a much more conversational approach to something. Other people like to be up on the stage and just deliver their speech, because maybe their beings live stream to 10 countries or more, and they’re talking to a big, big, big audience, hybrid.

So there really isn’t that much opportunity to have that warm touch, touch with anyone. So you have to be much more one way, you know, just be the information supplier of sorts, but still, you have to speak more slowly take into consideration people in other countries need to understand what you’re talking about. Now use a lot of, you know, big words. So there’s, that’s what I love is seeing the scenario, and the end goal. Also, what do you want to achieve? Because everything has to have an end goal?

What is it? What’s the, you know, what’s the what’s behind it? What’s the end line? You know, the goal line? What is it that you want to achieve? And what do you want people to remember and take with them, because likely they’re only going to take away at most three ideas, you know, this that beautiful, sacred number three, which is the trio, you know, the triplets, the triumvirate of ideas where we are our site, our psyche is geared to remember things in groups of three. We’ll find why do we have you know, the Three Stooges? Or the three little pigs? We could have five little pigs? No, we can.

But it doesn’t sound right, quite right. Right. It’s the threes, the three number is a number that has in nature. And in physics, just a lot of qualities that just belong, it’s just an order a divine order to things. So when we think about give people three things to take away. And you can actually you can enumerate them as you’re talking, you can enumerate them at the top of your speech throughout. And then at the end, you can summarize beautifully by saying, you know, the three things I want you to remember are, and then have nice structure, a book end of these three main ideas that just help you organize and then help your audience organize their memory.


Damon Pistulka  33:52

Yeah. Wow. I love listening to how you dissect how someone can speak and in provide more impact and create the results that they want to achieve with their communication. It’s incredible listening to you. It really is. And I know just from listening to this last segment here where needed talking about it, you know, know to whom you’re speaking to, what do they need from you? What do they need to hear?

And then keep it into the three basic ideas is so critical. And informational, because I think about times when you’re speaking or I’ve heard other people speak, how that would have helped. So my next question is, what do people do? Because I’ve got to imagine there’s quite a transformation when you work with somebody on this. What are some of the things that you’ve heard before and after? They’ve talked about after they’ve worked with you a while


Rosemary Ravinal  35:00

The transformation happens when that speaker delivers the speech presentation, whatever setting it is, and then comes back to say, I felt so much more confident. I enjoyed it. I didn’t fear it. I wasn’t trembling in my shoes. I actually was in the moment. I was connected to my audience. I had fun. I had fun as opposed to dread. And I’m, oh, God, I can’t wait for this to be over. Oh, my God, what time is it?

Oh, god of seven o’clock, I’ll be done with this. Oh, no, enjoy it, enjoy it, because that’s where people pick up on that will pick up on that, excuse me, people people. Whether they do, you can tell them, hey, I’m having such a good time. Or you can show it in your body language in your smiling in your tone of voice, write it and it becomes really people pick it up.

It you don’t have to say it. And then when you get off the stage, and you say, Hey, I was nervous, because nerves never really go away. Let me tell you that anybody who says that they are not nervous is a liar. Because everybody gets nervous. They just know how to deal with it. They just know how to deal with it. Through it, just like I learned to work through the stammer everybody, everybody does. Because it’s that moment of that anticipation, writing, you want to do your best. And probably maybe your feet are a little wobbly.

Or maybe there’s what I call the butterflies in your stomach and your stomach is rumbling maroon, and your mouth gets dry. Palms might get a little sweaty, but you know that that’s going to happen and you just, you know, deal with it. And, you know, you sort of march through it, and do what you have to do. But if you enjoy it, if you’ve, here’s, here’s the real secret. If you think of yourself as providing a service to the people you are talking to, and you’re adding value, and you’re giving them something they didn’t have before the equation gets flipped. So that it’s not about you.

You’re not doing Hamlet on a stage, you are delivering something of value to the people not that to say that the actor isn’t delivering value, but you’re not reading a script, you’re not memorizing or delivering an actor’s portion of a play, you are bringing something of you to the audience. So you’re giving them a gift. So I tell my coaches think about you giving them a gift, a gift of insight, knowledge, perspective, whatever you whatever it is that you’re delivering, because then the focus isn’t on you. It’s on them. And it makes a world of difference statement. Really does.


Damon Pistulka  38:08

Wow. That’s, that’s so cool. Because when you do that, just like you said, the focus is on them not on you, but how that and how the gift is going to help them and allow them to do. Yeah,


Rosemary Ravinal  38:24

it does. So good. Yes, it really does work. It just, it just takes all that pressure off of you. And you say, ah, you know, and then the other thing is when you prepare as best you can. Now there’s always another moment or another practice session or another engagement to deliver that speech. And each time you would expect to get better, right with practice. But if you practice as much as you can, in good faith, and then get a good night’s sleep, and then you go into it the next day say no, I practice as much as I could. I worked with rosemary, I got it down.

I was just do it. And then it’s like you’re not is anyone going to be absolutely perfect? No but that’s not the point. The point is just charge through and do the best you can with the practice that you’ve had. And not be worried about you know if you forget something go back to it if you’re doing something with slides and you advance to the wrong slide. So what just you know, just enjoy be in the moment and enjoy the experience.


Damon Pistulka  39:35

Why is advice there? Why is advice there? Because I think that it and you said this people feel it they feel if you’re there with them if you’re passionate about what you do and if that comes through because you’ve practiced and you really want to help them understand or get the gift I think or give or receive the gift that you’re trying to give them I think it’s good and it will there Feel it? You’ll feel it. So you’re talking about something I don’t want us to get off because we’re getting closer to the end here. Why don’t you we’re talking about something earlier before we got on. And it was smart brevity. I would really like to hear just a moment about that, because I love the subject.


Rosemary Ravinal  40:19

Yes, it was a workshop, a virtual workshop I did this afternoon, that where I was really for the first time actually sharing, well, I’ve written blogs about it, but it’s something that came through Dorie Clark, we think, you know, one of our foremost business thinkers of our time, and she shared it in one of her seminars, because this concept of, of the brevity that comes from having a structure that consists of 27 words, nines of delay delivered in nine seconds, and containing three ideas is such a powerful and potent structure.

Meaning that this apparently came from the Vermont State Legislature, obscure origin story, but it came from legislators who were tired of these verbose, long winded speeches, and then created this 20 793 formula to say, okay, so when you get to the microphone, we want to hear the bread, the brief 20 793 Give us that at the very top, and then the rest is gravy.

So if you look at that, the nine seconds 10, nine to 10 seconds is pretty much of a soundbite. You know, it’s what you might hear in the news, when you hear a clip of someone saying something. So it’s what our brains process very efficiently. The three ideas goes back to the beauty, the magic of the number three, allows us to remember. And the 27 words are what you can say comfortably within those nine seconds.

So if you are doing a an elevator pitch, or you’re doing an opening to a speech, or you’re doing just an introduction, let’s say at a networking event, that is a wonderful way to have that construct, just to keep you on topic. And it’s its brevity is golden. And most people err on the side of saying too much. And that cost them cost them attention, credibility, authority, you know, people who talk too much, could be perceived as not really knowing what they’re talking about, because they’re just blabbering on. But if you just give people enough that they can take away three great ideas, then your job is done.


Damon Pistulka  42:46

Yeah, I think that’s and to be able to say that and nine seconds is powerful, because you really need to understand what you’re talking about to break whatever you’re trying to communicate into, basically, nine words, for each idea. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a challenge. But if you can be that succinct, and do it, it’s gotta be interesting to see how it works. Do you have a one that you’ve done that you could share with us? And we didn’t talk about that first? You don’t, that’s cool. I


Rosemary Ravinal  43:19

was just, Oh, my goodness. Now you guys like puts


Damon Pistulka  43:22

it right on the spot like that, you know, me, I kind of fly around when we do these things.


Rosemary Ravinal  43:27

But I’m going to give you one that I used in the workshop today. Good. I have my own which is different for every for every situation. But if we look at, for example, we had in the state of Florida, obviously a climate catastrophe. And I actually wrote this example a couple of months ago, obviously, more very recently, we had we were we’re still coming out of a tragedy, climate tragedy, but this is the way it goes.

So this is about climate action. Um, starting with climate catastrophes are costly. They’re twice as devastating for Florida’s waterfront. New building codes can change the fate of the half a million residential properties built along the shoreline so three ideas climate catastrophes are costly. The twice is devastating in the waterfront, but new building codes can be a solution. Those are the three ideas


Damon Pistulka  44:30

Wow. Yeah.


Rosemary Ravinal  44:34

So if you start with a strong affirmative statement, climate catastrophes are costly. And then you bring you sort of tear down to more specifics now. It’s the effecting the waterfront and then affecting those half a million homes. And I know that we’ve had probably much more than that with the damage caused by Hurricane Ian here in the Gulf Coast.


Damon Pistulka  44:58

Yes, yeah. That’s a great example. So in it is it’s about clarifying the words that we say. So they, they resonate with the different receivers, people that are hearing and listening to them.


Rosemary Ravinal  45:14

Right? Yeah. And so you can, you can do this sort of in just a good thing. It’s a good exercise to do when you’re on a plane. And you sort of want to jot down those 27 words and maybe have them for different situations, and maybe use them on the person sitting next to you on the plane who someone you don’t know.

And, put it into practice and see how people react. And it’s a great icebreaker, certainly to start a conversation with someone you don’t know not with climate catastrophes but something about you something about what you do, which we love. And it’s, it’s just, it just gives us sometimes when we have templates, we are more likely to take action. Because if you say to somebody, Hey, just be brief. Just be brief. And give me something in under 10 seconds. Well, where do you start? Right? But if you say the 27 words, with these three main ideas, then you have to be sure to have three distinct ideas in there. Otherwise, it’s just 27 words, right?


Damon Pistulka  46:26

Yeah, great examples and places to use them. I’m running through my mind here, I’m writing some notes for myself. This is awesome. Well, rosemary, it’s been so wonderful to have you and just listen to you.

As I spoke about earlier, we got two pages of notes shared by going back to him about the fact that, you know, the three, three ideas and when you talk about know who you’re speaking to, what do they need from your why they need to hear, make sure you’re using words that are comfortable with you and think about the sentence structure, how long a sentence is you use and the words that you use to make sure whether you’re using a conversational approach and a one on one or a presentation type setting, and just so much good in here.

If people want to get a hold of you talk to you about this, what are what’s the best way is reaching out on LinkedIn going to your website, what both of the both


Rosemary Ravinal  47:23

I have several ways of contacting me on the website. My name is Rosemary Ravenel with a V like Victor, I have the honor to have a unique name. There’s nobody on the planet to my knowledge. And maybe people out there we’ll say No, I know somebody who His name is Rosemary Ravenel, I’d love to meet that person.

Because, as of this moment, in all my years on Earth, I know of no one who has my name. Hence, there won’t be any confusion. When you go when you google Rosemary Ravenel and you’ll see Rosemary You can sign up for my weekly newsletter, I do a video newsletter, then every other week I do video then I do a written blog. And you’ll find downloadable material, like an executive presence on how to do a video interview on how to be a podcast guest.

As a matter of fact, I have one download as wonderful ideas as to you know how to prepare to be the best possible guest on a podcast. And that how to do a presentation on Zoom, how to improve your presence on zoom with something called the Zoom score, which I trademarked as a 10 point checklist to make sure that you’re showing up in this rectangle as your best on brand and on message. So there’s a lot of good stuff there. I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to hear your questions. And certainly to have an opportunity to be invited back on this program.


Damon Pistulka  48:55

Awesome stuff, rosemary, and I think it’s so cool, because I’ve never heard someone else say they are the only person with that name in the world that they know of. And I think I’m that as well. So, all right, cool.


Rosemary Ravinal  49:10

Let’s make a toast to that. Yeah, Damon. I mean, I will I will let you know be very good. Pistulka. Right. This pistol I will flag it and say hey, yeah,


Damon Pistulka  49:22

you got to flag it do it because I’ve been looking at all the way back into Europe and we haven’t found one so there’ll be interesting but rosemary, I just want to say thank you so much for being here today. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and people that are listening today and people will be listening on the podcast later. Reach out to Rosemary. She’s got like she said on her website, LinkedIn, tons of great resources, subscribe to our newsletter and reach out if you want that one on one coaching. Thanks so much for being here today. Rosemary delight. Thank


Rosemary Ravinal  49:55

you, Damon.


Damon Pistulka  49:57

All right, everyone. Thanks for joining us today. We will be Back again with another great episode in the near future

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