My True Confession (and Introduction)

Bonus episode: Lisa confesses her early people skills challenges and describes how she became The Public Speaker.

Lisa B. Marshall
4-minute read

OK, this is a "fair warning" -- this is NOT a regular episode of the show. So quickly hit the "stop" button if don't want to learn the nitty, gritty details of my journey to becoming The Public Speaker.

In reality, this episode is both a confession and an introduction. It’s for the curious (like me) who always want to know how people arrived at their current destination.

The Confession

So here's the confession. It's a little embarrassing, but I think it's worth sharing. When I graduated from college I started my career at General Electric in one of their management training programs. One day, Bob, one of the senior managers, called me into his office. And although the trainees had access to senior management it was a bit unusual to have a private meeting.

After some small talk Bob told me something I have never forgotten. He said, "Lisa, you are a big ship, like a cruise liner, coming into port. You rock all of the other small ships and you don't even realize it. We'd like to help you with that. We want to send you to some training."

It turns out they wanted to send me to a course to improve my interpersonal skills—yep, that’s right, to help me improve my communication skills!

So, of course, I go to the training and the first day starts with each of us taking a personality inventory. The man sitting next to me seemed unhappy. He explained that he worked for the post office and that every year there is a survey among the employees and the managers that have the lowest scores are forced to come to this course--"charm school" he called it.

Anyway, we each finished our personality inventory and self-scored them--adding up points for different measures. After hearing this story, I couldn’t help myself. I was dying to see the personality scores for my new friend from the post office, so I looked over at his paper. I noticed immediately that our scores, for each and every category, were exactly the same!

It was in that very moment that I realized I needed to change. I promised myself that I would do better, that I would commit myself to reading, practicing, and improving in this very important area of professional development. I learned a lot in the course, and that was just the beginning.


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.