Do you know what your Filler or Crutch words are????

Fillers or Crutch Words

Fillers/ Crutch words are useless words and sounds that continuously creeping into people’s speech.
Fillers words range from repetitious sounds, such as “uh”, “um”, “like” and “ahhh” and more. They also include favourite catch words and phrases, such as; “you know”, “anyway”, “just”, “all right” and “like”.

The problem with using fillers such as these when you speak is that they distract your listener. Fillers weaken our phrases.

The Benefits of Eliminating Fillers

Eliminating crutch words is one of the fastest ways to improve you as a speaker. As your speech fillers decrease, your listeners will: form a better impression of you as you speak and be able to easily digest what you say.

Your audience will be better able to focus on the message you’re communicating, rather than being distracted by the way you’re expressing yourself.

Not only does it display confidence to your audience, but also you become easier to understand as your message gets across.

Here’s what to do to reduce the use of crutch words:

The best way to find what your filler words are is to have some one record you the next time you speak. Then have a watch…you will be able to see what your crutch words or statements are.

Ahhh, ummm, So then, But etc. You may find out that you have more than 1 crutch word. Knowing what your crutch word(s) are is the first step to removing them from your speech.

Now that you are aware of them be intentional about removing them when you talk. A few ways to do that is to;

i) Pause every time you are about to say your crutch word
ii) Breathe in before your crutch word escapes your mouth.

Ideally you want to replace your crutch word, with one of the two strategies above.

It’s time to say good bye to crutch words for good.


Karen D#

The Art of Story Telling

Storytelling can be and is a really effective tool when speaking.

As adults, stories still have that magic and power over us as we did when we were kids.

Why is it that we forget this when we have to give a business presentation?

Don’t we want to engage our audiences?

For some reason, we think that our business audience only wants to hear the facts and figures.

I have to say – that is so not how it works.

Our audiences want to be engaged and intrigued and really -who doesn’t like a good story? That’s right we all do.

Here’s a tid bit on how to use stories during any presentation.

When deciding which story to tell make sure that you have considered your audience, find the right story to illustrate your point. Remember how your parents read great stories to you or shared stories about their childhood experience? It’s time for you to do the same.

Remember the story which I’m almost sure your parents shared with you; I had to walk 8 miles to school each way, every day! lol

When you tell a story with energy, passion and excitement, people are eager to tune in to every word that exits your mouth because they want to hear what happens in the end.

When you illustrate your key point with a story, it almost guarantees that your audience will remember your message.

As humans we are hard wired to receive and register stories at a sub-conscious level.

So no mater what your topic or who’s in your audience, include the art of storytelling…. if your goal is to connect, engage and be memorable.

Stay Amazing!

Karen D

The Science Of Remembering Names

If you are anything like was about 18 months ago, I was the worlds worst rememberer of names (Yes I know this is a bad sentence…but so what – keep reading)

I have to tell you, I never used to be the greatest at remembering names, but now I am 10x better than where I used to be. Here are a few strategies to help you have better success at “remembering names”.

Step I)
Know that remembering names is a skill and you have to intentionally commit to improve at this skill.

Step II)
What you say will materialize. Make a deliberate conscious decision to never again say, “I’m horrible at remembering names”. Get rid of this this self-limiting mindset. Declare what’s possible, for example; “I easily remember names”.

Step III)
Practice, practice again and practice some more. Begin today and use the tips below to learn the names of at least five people. Add one or two to your list every day. The memory muscle grows only with practice.

Try these techniques to help you remember others’ names effectively.

1. Focus on the person. The instant you meet another person, give them your undivided attention. Be fully present, fully face them, look them in the eye and actively listen. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted, and don’t let yourself off the hook by blaming a bad memory. Forgetting names is most often caused by lack of focus and effort.

2. Repeat their name out loud. As soon as you hear their name, immediately repeat their name out loud. By saying the person’s name at least 3 times in the conversation, you engrave their name in your memory.

3. End the interaction by saying their name. As your conversation draws to a close, be sure to say the person’s name one last time, “It was great to meet you, Sam”.

Remembering names is more than chivalry, we all want to feel important, valued and remembered.

“If you want to win friends, make it a point to remember them.
If you remember my name, you pay me a subtle compliment;
you indicate that I have made an impression on you.
Remember my name and you add to my feeling of importance.”
–Dale Carnegie

So use the tips above to easily remember names, create rapport and build a meaningful relationships.

Karen D

Your Belief System Has Everything To Do With Being A Kick Ass Speaker

“You are indeed what you think about all day long”.

This statement is especially true when it comes to public speaking.

As humans we all have this preconceived belief about the things we can do and the things we cannot do.

Once again… “PRECONCEIVED beliefs”.

I often hear people say “Oh…I am such a horrible speaker”, and when I ask them how many times they’ve presented in front of a large group many say “Well… never, or once or twice”.

How can you assume that you are not good at something even before trying it or after trying it once or twice?

Were you a pro driver after the first try, could you quickly tie your shoelace after the first try, so why in heavens name do you believe and expect that by not trying at all or by trying a couple of times you will be amazing at it?
When you change these self – sabotaging beliefs you are holding in your mind, you can accomplish anything you desire and in this case you can and will become a great speaker ONLY when you believe you can.

Karen D

How To Calm Your Nerves Before You Take the Mic

The Essential 5-Minute Prep

How To Calm Your Nerves Before You Take the Mic: The Essential 5-Minute Prep

First off know that it’s completely normal and natural to be nervous before speaking in front of a group.

We are born with two natural fears: loud noises and falling. The other fears are products of our environment including public speaking.

But you can come across as being completely sure of yourself, even if you can’t completely shake the jitters.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your calm before you take the mic.
1. Wiggle your toes
Studies show that wiggling your toes reduces stress levels and decreases anxiety.

2. Chat with Your Audience Before Your Presentation
Meet and greet people before you get on stage. Talking with audiences makes you seem more likeable and approachable. Ask event attendees questions and take in their responses. They may even give you some inspiration to weave into your talk.

3. Claim the three “audience realities”.
One: They believe you’re the expert, so don’t tell them otherwise.
Two: They want you to succeed, so they’re on your side.
Three: They won’t know when you make a mistake, so don’t broadcast it.

4. Find a Pre Talk song.

Athletes and entertainers use this strategy to focus before they take the stage, or start their sport.
Find a song that gets you pumped up and listen to it backstage before every talk. It has to be “your song”, a song that gets your adrenaline to the perfect level: It has to give you enough so you’re saying “You’ve got this, (insert your name), they are going to love you”. Any song that can make you feel that way is worth taking a few minutes to listen to before jumping on stage. Many athletes do it, why not you.

5. Visualize your success.

Sports psychologists have proven that an athlete’s ability to vividly visualize his or her success creates a higher win rate. ,Before your next presentation, mentally walk yourself through the presentation. Picture yourself speaking with confidence and poise; see your audience responding positively.

Nervousness is a natural reaction to speaking in front of large groups. However, try to think of this emotion as a “readiness to share you”, and a type of excitement that is necessary for you to speak. You’ve been sub-consciously programmed to think that you fear it, so how about intentionally creating how you perceive your nervousness? It’s within your control. That simple change of view can change your whole attitude.

Share how you deal with your nerves before you speak in the comment area.

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share
Stay Amazing! — Karen Donaldson

The Ultimate Connection Tool When Speaking

Showing Vulnerability

Being vulnerable is quite difficult for a lot of people. Showing vulnerability, in general, is hard when you add speaking in front of an audience (intimidating to begin with), adding yet another layer of vulnerability…it can seem even more challenging. However, it’s the right direction to move in if you want to create a deeper connection and authentically connect with your audience.

I believe it’s fair to say that the best presentations do one thing extremely well, and that is; create a truly personal connection. The singular thing we all share as human beings are feelings of fear or vulnerability. If you’re willing to open up about yours, it can help people feel a stronger connection with you.

From time to time when I work with my senior management clients, the conversation around vulnerability when speaking is a tough one. Clarity comes when they are able to clean up their misconceptions about vulnerability and acknowledge that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness. In truth, the ability to be vulnerable is a sign of strength.

Here’s my own example: At some of my talks I share my story of getting pregnant in my last year of high school, persevering, getting out of my own way, graduating with top awards, getting my BASc and going on to co-lead the community development initiative for Canada’s 1st ever social housing redevelopment project.

I don’t bring it up to impress people by any means, but I mention it to show people that hey — I too just like them have experienced adversity, walked with my head high through the mud and come out on top.

I become relatable. They can identify with trudging through tough times, we have all been there (maybe not pregnant in high school…but you get what I mean). They have something that they too have gone through, that has scarred them, but they have still come out on top.

Hearing about my adversity, keeps my talks “real” and reminds people of the power they have and all of the things they themselves have overcome. That’s where the true connection comes from, we have a connection as real human beings.

I’m not saying every presentation needs a serious, deep issue in it. But don’t be afraid to discuss things that make you feel vulnerable if they’re relevant. It can be a powerful connection and engagement tool.

I have a senior executive client who often shares his ritual with his kids that they do every time he goes out of town for work. No, it doesn’t make him look soft, quite the contrary. It allows him to develop an instant connection with his audience as a human being. He takes off his official hat as a corporate leader and allows for his audience to see him as one of them, which he is. He instantly connects with the parents, the grandparents, the aunts, the uncles, essentially anyone who has a child in their life in any capacity.

It takes a powerful person to be vulnerable in front of an audience. Being vulnerable comes down to being OK with you, your perfections imperfections and all.

Contact me at if you’re ready to bring your speaking skills to a new level of great.

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share
Stay Amazing! — Karen Donaldson

Managing Your Fear Of Public Speaking

To Speak Well in any setting means: Accepting the Role of “SPEAKER”

I know it sounds cave mannish, however whenever you speak up in front of a group, YOU = Speaker…like it or not.

Unfortunately, most people go into the speaking experience focusing on this:


Sound familiar?

It’s a type of mental resistance that will never serve you in the right way.

Accepting the role of the speaker instead of wanting to quickly end the speaking experience is one of the quickest ways to rid yourself of your Public Speaking Fear and to remove your mental resistance.

Fearful speakers create anxiety for themselves when they don’t embrace the role of Speaker. Instead, they try to be the “Finished Speaker”.

They try to “get through” the experience without committing themselves to the role of Speaker.

They talk fast, they don’t look at the audience the audience, and they focus mainly on being done. The entire time they are focusing on being the “Finished Speaker”.

The result of this mental resistance is, typically, that it gives you more public speaking anxiety, not less – just the opposite of what you want.

Here’s 3 Ways to Help you to Embrace…”Speaker”

1. Change Your Perspective and Self Talk.
If you go around thinking that you “hate” public speaking, you will forever be uncomfortable. The place to start is by thinking something true yet positive: i.e. I can’t wait to share my ideas with people. I know what I have to share will benefit many people. etc

2. Speak From a Genuine Place.
Public speaking becomes much easier when you’re telling the world about a something, someone, some idea, some (you fill in the blank) that you have a deep connection to. Whatever you share, truly identify with why this is compelling to you, or why you believe in it and share from that place.

3. Just Keep Doing It!
The only way to feel more comfortable speaking publicly is to speak. Keep doing it, over and over and over again.

Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.

If you have something to say or share and you choose to Speak, make the choice to speak and stop living the life of a Finished Speaker.

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share
Stay Amazing! — Karen Donaldson

Tired of Rambling When You Talk


Tired of Rambling When You Talk….Keep Reading

If you’ve ever left a meeting or a conversation saying to yourself, What did I just say? What was I thinking? Why did I keep talking?

Don’t worry it happens to a lot of people. It’s not uncommon, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

If you ever struggle to be clear, direct and have what you say flow nicely this is a post you want to read.

Usually, what my clients say to me is something like this: “I started talking, and then I kept talking, and then I lost my point and where I was, and then I didn’t know what to do so I kept talking and didn’t know how to stop. Then it just went downhill from there.”

Whenever this happens you jeopardize your credibility, your message, and your reputation.

Here are some tips to help you rein in your rambling.

1. Slow Your Pace
I often teach my clients that they must be intentional about slowing down their pace when they speak. It allows your listeners to absorb and retain what you are saying. An individual with a hearing impairment should be able to read your lips.

2. Power Pause
I always teach my clients that the “pause is on your side”. The next time you’re worried about rambling in a conversation or meeting, pause. Pause before you start to speak pauses if you feel yourself speeding up, pause to gather your thoughts. Learn to intentionally use a pause, it will help you to increase your impact as a speaker.

3. Front Load
Front loading is a communication strategy where you deliver your core message right from the get go, get people’s attention and then just deliver content to support your core message. It simplifies things, helps you to stay focused and spells out what your listener needs to hear immediately.

Use the tips to slow your roll and increase your impact when you speak.

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share on Facebook & Twitter

—Karen Donaldson


Moving your Business

Moving your Business from Mediocre to Magnificent

You have a fabulous product or service and you know it – people have even told you so. So why aren’t you out there in the world claiming your space????

My friends – enough with showing humility and being humble. The time is NOW to be that magnificent entrepreneur.
Being magnificent means being your authentic self with your quality products or service and sharing this authenticity with everyone around you.

It is time to re-group and re-focus on getting your self out there in a big way.
Use these three tips to catapult yourself into greatness.

1. It all begins with Clarity. Be clear with what you are offering and who you are offering it to.

2. Re-check your mindset and attitude. It needs to positive and ambitious. The beliefs you put in your mind create the actions that you ultimately take. For example, if you tell yourself that you are just okay, you will be just that – okay. What you think about, you will become. Start telling yourself how valuable you and your services are and let your positive attitude and outlook radiate in every facet of your business.

3. Marketing strategy mix up. Take a critical look at your marketing strategy and make an intentional effort to change one thing that you are doing. Unless your marketing strategy is allowing you to rake in your desired income, you need to start doing something differently. Take yourself completely outside of your comfy zone, incorporate a marketing strategy that makes you feel a bit uncomfortable. Don’t think too hard and talk yourself out of it – Just do it!

Here are some words that help to re-ignite my fire when I am becoming a bit too comfortable:

“The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.”
Arthur C. Clarke

Stay amazing!

Karen Donaldson, Maximizing You.
Copyright © 2014, Karen Donaldson Inc., All Rights Reserved

A Lack of Motivation


Motivation is no one’s “real” problem; it’s a lack of clarity, focus and lack of direction that is the true issue at hand.

The problem is that motivation can be a curse if you lack self-awareness, focus and a commitment to “doing the right things”. Have you ever experienced being totally energized and motivated and by the end of the day you slow down and realize that you really did not get much accomplished? That’s what I mean by a lack of clarity and focus.

When a person is motivated, but that energy and motivation are sending them in the wrong direction or if they have conflicting desires within themselves, that person is going to wear themselves out or become frustrated fast.

This is what causes people to give up and settle.

More important than having motivation is to understand what you are motivated by, and this is why self-awareness if the foundation of personal achievement.

Whenever you venture forward on a new project or professional or personal goal, you must start by asking yourself the following questions and be clear on the answer to every single on of them before proceeding.

1. What do you want? What do you want to achieve?
2. Why do you want to achieve that specific goal?
3. How will it make you feel when you achieve it?
4. What will it look like when you achieve the goal?

You see we get so caught up in the steps and when we feel stuck or like things are at a standstill, it overwhelms and we; slow our pace, get frustrated or stop altogether, or just settle.

And (Yes, yes, I know you’re not supposed to start a sentence with and!) settling is NEVER and option.
Choose to know where you are going and why you are going there before you start.
Stay amazing!

Karen Donaldson, Maximizing You.
Copyright © 20164, Karen Donaldson Inc., All Rights Reserved