A portrait of Cyndi Maxey


Fearless Facilitation

Chattanooga Chapter

Spring 2015

"I've heard nothing but wonderful things from the participants. My committee members have already started talking about having you back for next year." - Educational Director, APIC, Washington DC

"Thank you for the wonderful job you did. You got high scores across the board. Everybody loved you. This was a wonderful retreat and everyone was very happy." - Education Project Manager, MGMA, Denver Colorado

"...you have the keen ability to read people which enhances the presenters' learning experience and your calm demeanor is so reassuring - as a presenter, I felt a level of trust that allowed me to open up. - Manager, Curriculum Delivery, Institute of Real Estate Management

"I just wanted to thank you for a fabulous class. It exceeded my expectations and I plan on using many of tips you taught on an upcoming presentation at a Nursing Informatics conference." - MSN, RN, College of American Pathologists

In all of the workshops I've ever had, you were the FIRST who really broke down the necessary components to making effective presentations. Thank you so much!" - West America Mortgage Company

Thanks again for your expertise on Navigating the Business Social Event. The fact that your presentations are interactive and provide concrete tips set you apart as an excellent speaker! - Samantha Breeden, Program Chair, Arlington Heights Professional Women's Council

You helped the National Association for Down Syndrome parent trainees begin on their journey to public speaking. You interacted beautifully with the audience. - Linda Smarto, Program Coordinator, National Association for Down Syndrome

My team is so grateful for "Fearless Facilitation" and is using chapters of your book as a discussion item at department meetings. You really made a significant impact on our work. - Beth Glaister, Director, Professional Development -Prevention First

Thank you very much for a wonderful workshop. The feedback from others was over the top. You created a warm, fun, safe environment in which we all felt comfortable to experiment. Cyndi, you've got a rare talent! - Jenifer C Simson | Managing Partner | Quantum Insights, LLC

You really were spectacular and one of the best programs we've had, which is saying a lot because we've had some really terrific programs. I would absolutely highly recommend you to any group looking for a dynamic speaker. - Jessica Gardner, Team Leader, Mary Kay Cosmetics

Many thanks for your presentation "Speak UP and Stand OUT: Finding Your Influential Voice." Feedback from participants was: "Re-energizing, engaging, fun, informative, educational, excellent, thought-provoking" - Norma Kaplan CCASTD President

Wow - I learned so much and freshened my presentation toolbox. My goal was to take away one key action item and I did: I now have a new way of thinking about how to position and present myself to new clients. - Ruthie Feinstein, Qualitative Research & Brand Strategy Consulting

Thanks again, Cyndi, for a great program. You made the whole process so easy and I've received nothing but excellent feedback". - Steve Collard, President, Healthcare Financial Management Association - Eastern Michigan Chapter

"I have had a lot of great feedback about the class and your style. The consortium members enjoyed the day and learned so much. " - Diane, Consortium Director, BJC Healthcare, St. Louis, MO

Thanks again for conducting such an effective workshop last Saturday at Loyola. There was definitely a lot of learning going on. You also modeled so well all that you were trying to teach us." - Catherine B. Marquis, J.D, Director, Planned Giving, Illinois Institute of Technology

"I had to take the time to tell you what an amazing experience this past Saturday was. I learned so many pointers that will help in my professional as well as personal communication. It was well worth every penny spent." - Tonie Golden

Cyndi Maxey's certifications, Member, National Speakers Association, National Speakers Association of Illinois, Certified Speaking Professional

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Macmillan Speakers


January 25th, 2015 Posted in: Public Speaking

At the end of one of my speaking seminars, a star participant asked, “OK, tell us again how YOU keep from being nervous when YOU speak.” I understood the question; I often wondered the same when I watched professional speakers…oh, and also when it was my kids’ turn to be goalie in AYSO soccer. I still have no idea how our Chicago Blackhawks goalie handles the stress of his job night after night or how his mother can watch.

But, back to the question: I do know speaking. There are definitely things you can do to keep from being a nervous wreck when you have to present to a group. Here are my best tips, which I try very hard to follow every time.

Fear #1 “I don’t have time to do this well!”

Get started right away.

I mean NOW.

The sooner you write something down the less stress you’ll feel. You can go back and change the whole thing later. It doesn’t have to be a formal speaking outline. Just some key bullet points will do. It will become your outline or template later.

Fear #2  “ I’m all alone in this.”

Get someone else involved.

Anyone will do.

It’s best to talk to a trusted coworker or stakeholder, but simply running it by your best friend or significant other is OK too. Conduct a phone interview, text, ask for time for coffee, have an email conversation. My longtime coauthor, Kevin, is often my first point of brainstorming.

Fear #3 “I’m an imposter; I don’t know enough about this!”

Yes, you do.


Someone trusts that you know more than most. That’s why you’ve been asked to speak.

Review examples that are unique to you. This is information that nobody else can say quite the same way. Research only the most current references online to add zest. Don’t let the Internet overwhelm you. Get a sense of what’s new and if your presentation aligns or argues that. Either agreement or argument is OK as long as you support it in your unique way.

Fear #4 “I will forget something.”

Most speakers do.

It’s OK to have notes.

Notes are a speaker’s right. Aristotle used notes. Churchill used notes. Obama has a teleprompter. Just don’t write them out word for word (unless you have a teleprompter) or your mind and your mouth will get out of sync.

Fear #5 “ My (shaky hands, red neck, cotton mouth, stutter) will show.”

You feel it more.

Audiences forgive these things.

Know your opening four minutes COLD.

Most of the time signs of discomfort less affect the audience than you may believe. And they are fairly ready to forgive them if your presentation is helpful and practiced. Also these behaviors tend to go away after the first moments. That’s why you should practice your opening over and over.

Good luck with your next presentation! Let me know if these tips work for you as they have for me!  Cyndipublic-speaking

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