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EA209: How to Become an Influential Speaker with Dr. Michelle Mazur [Podcast]
2nd March 2018 • EntreArchitect Podcast with Mark R. LePage • EntreArchitect // Gābl Media
00:00:00 00:53:32

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How to Become an Influential Speaker

Whether you’re proposing a project to a new client or presenting to a powerful decision making authority or spreading a message to the world one stage at a time, your voice and how you use it will be the difference between falling flat and persuading your audience to see it your way.

Do you want to make a difference? Use your voice to change the world around you.

This week at EntreArchitect Podcast, How to Become an Influential Speaker with Dr. Michelle Mazur of Communication Rebel.


Dr. Michelle Mazer founded Communication Rebel on the belief that communication changes the world. She helps speakers rebel against the status quo and make a difference by crafting their message, create their positioning and decide on pricing. Her speakers have gone on to book $100K speaking gigs, become international speakers, and raise more money than they ever expected.

Origin Story

Michelle figured out that she was passionate about public speaking in 10th grade during her required course. At the time, she was shy and quiet. She white knuckled her way through the first terrifying, awful speech, but there was a voice in her head that told her she could master it.

She took more speaking classes and ended up joining the speech and debate team. She got her butt kicked every Saturday for a long time, but she began to cut her teeth, get feedback, and try different things. Eventually, things began to click. She got a PhD in communication and was a professor for five years.

Eventually, a friend convinced her to share her gift of communication with the world. Now, her job is to help empower others to find the right words so that their message spreads and impacts those it was meant for.

How did your clients find you?

Some people come to Michelle after they’ve dabbled in speaking and aren’t afraid of getting on stage. They know they have something important to share and that it’s valuable, but it’s not coming across like they want it to. Now, they’re ready to up level what they’re doing.

Are you an introvert or extravert?

Michelle is an ambivert, which means she straddles the line. She can be very gregarious and outgoing, but she also needs a lot of time to rest and recharge.

When she speaks, she plans time afterward to recharge after she drains her energy.

What tips do you have for introverts who want to sell their message?

One of the big strengths introverts can focus on is that when you’re a speaker, you get to control the conversation. There are a lot of speakers who are introverts and love being on the stage. In some ways, it’s like you’re having an in-depth conversation with one person.

Introverts also think so deeply about the audience and think about what they need, their reactions, and how they’ll take action on your message. Those thoughts become your fuel to get onto a stage and share your message.

What are some things that someone who wants to speak well can prepare?

The first step is to step away from PowerPoint or KeyNote. Some of the first moves should be the pre-work of figuring out why your audience is coming to the speech, what problems do they have, what do they believe about your message?

Then, move to the core message of your speech – the three word rebellion – where you’ll get people to take action.

Figure out what conversations you need to have to move your audience from their pain point to your rebellion – your movement – that you’re wanting to create.

From there, it’s about structuring your message.

What are your thoughts on text on slides, if you use them?

Michelle feels that if you’re reading your slides, the slides are replacing you as a speaker and you’re hiding out. Slides are the most impactful and effecive when they support and reinforce your message. Minimal text, maximum photos to reinforce your idea.

What’s the best way to structure your message and presentation so you remember what to say when you’re supposed to say it?

Presentations have information buckets. Michelle’s clients use a three part structure: when you make a point, you support that point with a story/statistics/research/case study, then have a take away from that point. The great thing about that is that you always know what’s coming next.

  1. Point you want to make
  2. Story that supports your point
  3. Take away

If anyone is ready to take their speaking to the next level, how can they do that? 

The first thing Michelle tells clients is that even if you’re not getting paid yet, have your pricing structure in mind. If you don’t set the intention off the bat, you’re going to get caught in the cycle of free speaking forever.

Start deciding that you’re going to say no to free speaking and you’re going to get paid. It’s hard, but trust that you have a great message, and that’s the product that you’re selling.

If you have a good message and you’re speaking at an event, you should find value in your work.

When you first start charging, how do you set your price?

One of the things Michelle does with clients is taking them through the process to understand the education, experience, and accomplishments to bring them to the place where they’re an expert on their subject.

Once you see that, you know you’re bringing value. Why does an organization want your speech? What results will your information get them? During negotiation, do a deep dive into the organization; figure out what you can bring to them and what their challenges are. After that, throw out your top number and negotiate from there.

At the end of the day, this is your business. Treat it that way.

How can  you be a better communicator in general?

One of the big things is to focus yourself on your audience. Instead of getting focused on the how and what, figure out what your clients need from the presentation.

Then, know the next step after the presentation. If you’re pitching a client, is the next step to have another meeting or sign a contract?

Each time you do this, you get better and better!

What is the one thing that small firm architects can do today to build a better business tomorrow?

“Get really clear on what the people you’re presenting to or pitching want. What do they need to hear? How can you take them on the journey from being unsure of hiring you to feeling like you’ve nailed their vision for their space. Be more focused on them than selling the project, and people will feel deeply seen, heard, and connected to you.”  – Dr. Michelle Mazur

Connect with Michelle and learn about Communication Rebel at, or find her on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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