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Lois B. Feldman, Ph.D.

Speaking with Confidence, Listening with Connection
Speaking Circles® in New York City


It’s not about the ah’s and um’s, it’s about making people shine.

—Heather Maloney, Executive Director, Hope and Heroes Children’s Cancer Fund

Speaking Circles® under the facilitation of Lois Feldman have not just transformed the way I feel about public speaking, but also the way I feel about just saying my name and introducing myself in a group. I now enjoy myself when I'm presenting. During my first turn in my first Speaking Circle, I became so overwhelmed with anxiety that I cried and had to sit down. Now I get overcome by and engaged with my material and audience rather than anxiety. After a small number of Speaking Circles over about five months, I gave two job talks—one of which resulted in a job offer that I accepted.

—Corrine Bertram, Ph.D. candidate at City University of New York, now Associate Professor

I have been speaking throughout my career and have always had to fight the uncomfortable feeling of pre-speaking stress. I think that the techniques that you introduced were great for helping me to center myself before speaking and to increase my connection with my audience. Since your workshop I have presented at a conference in Utah and won third place in a speakers contest (out of twenty-four speakers). In addition, I presented to a large professional organization last week and received high marks for my speaking style from attendees (good to excellent). I believe that your Speaking Circle was great for helping me to be my best as a presenter and would urge others, even if seasoned speakers, to consider being part of one of your Speaking Circles in the future.

—Bill Proctor, President, Epicenter Development Group, LLC

I have always felt knowledgeable as a public speaker, but somewhat disconnected from myself, and therefore my audience, when I present. Participating in Speaking Circles taught me how to find and stay connected with my core self when communicating, and gain greater credibility and trust with my audience. I have been able to translate this learning into a more authentic conversational and presentational style and significantly enhance my influence across organizational boundaries. As a result of my experience, my organization is currently considering ways to incorporate Speaking Circles into our leadership development, succession management, and inclusivity practices.

—Melissa Reynolds-Prond, Organization Development Consultant, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

While I often present in front of peers and clients as part of my professional role, I have always felt that it was an area for improvement. Over the years I have received both positive and constructive feedback on my style but it was often given at a time when I was unable to immediately “try out” the learning. It was typically given after a meeting or new business pitch followed by weeks where I did not have any speaking opportunities. Because of the lapse in time between feedback and the opportunity to use the new information, I felt that much learning was lost.

When I was invited to attend the Speaking Circle, I was very excited to have the opportunity to practice my skills in a safe environment and get feedback which I could immediately put into practice. And the timing was perfect. Four days after attending the Speaking Circle, I was involved in a new business presentation for my advertising agency – the perfect, real world opportunity to put my learning to the test.

My objective for the Speaking Circle was to focus on one area that would make the most dramatic and important impact for me as a professional – to focus on skills that would help me to connect with my audience. As a speaker, I have found that it is easy for me to get lost in the information and the exact delivery of what I want to say. And as a person who is naturally shy, it is easy for me to forget the power of eye contact. With this knowledge, I entered the Speaking Circle with the goal of overcoming these tendencies and to learn the skills necessary to truly connect with my audience.

True to my goal, during the Speaking Circle I focused on connecting, eye contact and paying attention to my audience. During my new business pitch I did the same. I focused on eye contact and creating a connection with my audience through body language. By focusing on connecting and not just the information I had to deliver, I could feel my confidence grow. Not only did I feel a real connection with those I was speaking to, but I also felt even more confident in the information I was delivering. I was no longer focusing on making sure I said my part “exactly the way I had rehearsed it” instead I felt confident that I had internalized the content and just let it flow out of me. During this first post Speaking Circle presentation, I felt more confident in my presence as a speaker and more connected to those I was speaking to. In addition, I felt that even my audience was more confident in what I was saying and that they also felt the connection. During this meeting more questions were poised directly to me whereas in previous meetings, this was not the case. In my mind, I credit the knowledge I gained through the Speaking Circles with this change in behavior.

After this initial experience, I have continued to focus on eye contact and connecting. I have also focused on making sure I am not only connecting with the “easy” people in the room, but that I am also using eye contact and engagement to try and connect with the more difficult people in my audience. Being able to connect with the naysayers has proven to be a very rewarding benefit of the learning that I had during the Speaking Circles.

If I had to summarize my experience during the Speaking Circles I would say it was powerful and rewarding. The practical learning that took place during the Speaking Circles would benefit all professionals who need to connect with their audience.

—Kathy A. Worcester, MSODA, Senior Insight Planner, Brokaw

My experience with Lois Feldman’s Speaking Circles was an extremely positive one. As a writer and creative consultant for corporate communications, I am frequently called upon to give presentations to executives of major companies. Despite my experience, I felt my presentations could still be better. I suffered from performance anxiety, had occasional difficulties staying on track, as well as recalling key details at the appropriate times. Working with Lois enabled me to improve my performance in several important ways. I was better able to gather myself, focus, make and sustain contact with my audience, breathe and actually enjoy myself more while working from the front of the room. Although many factors go into being successful in my business, I will say that I have been winning more jobs since attending the Speaking Circles. They provide a supportive, collaborative and effective environment in which to work with others on mastering public speaking.

—Peter Hassinger, Writer/Creative Consultant