Make Your Talk a Ticket, Not a Brochure

Would you rather be handed a brochure… or a ticket? On balance, their material value is the same. In fact, brochures are more expensive to create and produce than a ticket (usually). And yet the inherent value couldn’t be more different. Brochures (most of them) give you a bunch of information about things you could […]

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3 Takeaways from Tapped to Speak LIVE

I hosted my first ever large live event June 7 and 8th in New York City, called Tapped to Speak LIVE. The goal: Give people the insight, tools, and conditions to discover their TED-worthy talk. And since it was my first time, I did what anyone with big dreams for their first event does—namely, get […]

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10 Real Things that Resulted from my TEDx Talk

There are lots of great reasons to do a TEDx talk: It’s instant cred, a powerful thought leadership platform, a public speaker’s calling card, a way to reach and inspire millions. All great reasons. But what really comes about as a result? There is no direct TEDx-to-sales conversion, nor is that the reason to do […]

How I Got a TEDx Talk

The only thing more stunning than walking into the Kauffman Center in Kansas City when it’s full of people is when you’re the only one there. That’s where I stood, slack-jawed and awestruck on Saturday afternoon, August 29, 2015, hours before the thousands descended for the annual TEDxKC event. The pale wooden panels of this huge vaulted […]

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Why You Should Stop Trying to Inspire People

I work with people of all backgrounds and businesses who have something to say and are dying to say it. They want to do media and launch podcasts, give TED talks and write books. They want to “put themselves out there.” If there were two words that literally every person says to me, it’s that […]

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What’s actually missing from your talk (just ask Sarah)

I was giving a presentation the other day to a roomful of authors and people who work with authors. The topic? Why every author needs a TEDx talk. (Because they do.) One woman raised her hand and said she’d been having trouble getting her own TEDx idea accepted. She assumed it was because she didn’t […]

The key to partnering with other humans

If you think that being a successful person, professional, entrepreneur, or human requires that you “do it on your own,” boy are you making life hard for yourself. I’ve been on my own for almost 7 years now—7!—since I was laid off from my magazine job. And people always say, “Wow, you went out on […]

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3 Things that Keep Good Speakers from Being Great

If you’re a speaker, or would like to be, chances are you watch other speakers with a very keen eye. Maybe you scrutinize the bio. Watch the way they carry themselves on stage. Maybe you judge them based on how relatable they are, or how useful their content is.  And if we’re being honest, you […]

On the Verge of an A-Ha Moment

How is it that one moment you can just be sitting there, chewing your fingernail and then, a split second later, things just click? An idea or thought springs forth with such clarity it’s astonishing. How did I not see that before? Things…

What It Really Means to Be Authentic (and How to Know If You Are)

We all say we want to be authentic. What does that even mean, though? We seem to think it means "likable" and "down to earth"—which is why we want to be perceived that way. But in fact, authenticity isn't necessarily good or bad; it's consistent.…
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Are TEDx talks played out?

I was at a party last year that was attended mainly by authors, agents, and PR people. And one of the authors heard that I helped people create their TEDx talks. “Isn’t TED kind of played out,” she said, poking at her gin and tonic with…

How to get people to pay attention (because they're not)

It's hard to get people to listen, for like, longer than two seconds. It really is. Even when it's their job to pay attention. Ever read Oren Klaff's "Pitch Anything?" He made it so clear to me why we miss the mark: It's because we assume…
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3 Life Lessons You Can Learn from Being on TV

If you’re smart, you’ll learn something new from every job. And given that you’ll switch, not just jobs, but careers several times over your life, your unique advantage comes from the wisdom you pick up along the way. If you worked in…

Knowing things you shouldn't know

I was on a first date last summer when I decided to play the game again: I asked this man if he had had a dog growing up. All I knew was that he was raised in Missouri, the youngest of three boys. “Yes, I did, actually.” I could almost…