The first time I was on stage with a mic, I was six years old.
I was wearing a beautiful dress, and my hair was done. It was my turn to shine, and the host asked me a simple question and handed me the mic… and I froze. Zero words came out of my mouth in front of hundreds of people.
I was pretty much a straight-A student in middle school and high school.
I knew the answer, yet I never raised my hand. I had something to say and questions to ask, but I stayed silent. I was worried that I would be incorrect, look stupid, or say something that would reveal my insecurities, so instead of building my confidence by being courageous, I stayed silent.
In college, I did everything I could to avoid public speaking.
For my communications credits, I took interpersonal communications and a death and dying class. Yes, that was a real class, and we did things like touring a funeral home and writing our own obituaries.
I was destined to maintain my status of being just like the other 75% of humans who fear public speaking.
The interesting thing about destiny is that many times we fail to recognize that we are being changed from the inside out. Therefore, the destiny we once believed was ours for a lifetime has shifted because we are beginning to walk out a new destiny formed by our choices rather than our circumstances.
For me, this destiny shift was activated in my corporate career, and I started to begin to find and use my voice as I developed confidence in my leadership. Fast forward to today, and I am a well-paid keynote speaker, corporate leadership training facilitator, podcaster, and coach.
It didn’t happen overnight, but I know for sure that if you follow my proven method it will happen for you just like it did for me. Remember I was the “shy kid.” I was the one who never raised their hand. I was the one who always found myself lost in the middle but dreamt of being in the front. Too afraid to speak up or put myself out there, always hiding in plain sight.

If that is you too, I am writing this today to give you hope and a plan. Let me share with you the method…

As I began writing this,  I made a note of the 5 very specific things I did to get started with speaking publicly and then moving into getting paid to speak. In a very specific order, here is the proven method you can follow to begin to speak publicly:

1. Identify your message and your audience. Your life experience is your best resume here.  Have the courage to have something to say and that you have an opinion about.  This would be that thing that you can talk about for hours when someone asks you a question about it at a dinner party.  Talk about something that you know and care about.  Don’t try to piggyback on someone else’s message.  Then, determine who you can help by talking about this topic.  Now you have your message and your audience, this is step #1.  Don’t overcomplicate it, make it ONE TOPIC.

2. Start talking about it- to EVERYONE. Speakers who speak get booked to speak more.  This is the first rule of thumb about speaking.  Start by telling your family and friends, get even more comfortable with your messages.  Hold an information stand up meeting at work, with the intention to serve.  Join a local community group and offer to give a presentation.  Keep talking about your key message, own it.  And when you think that you shared enough, share more.  Believe me, you’ll not only build so much confidence and charisma but you’ll also build in opportunities to speak.  People will start asking you to speak for them.

3. Remember these two rules of thumb once you start building a little traction:

#1- Build relationships everywhere you go vs speaking transactionally.  I’ve seen this so many times: a speaker flies in, speaks, and leaves. Usually they are the speaker that everyone is looking forward to hearing from.  But you know what, they are not the most impactful.  The most impactful speakers are the ones that build relationships within the group and allow each person to feel seen.  See people.  Connect with them.  Build relationships.

#2- ALWAYS remember that it is not about you.  Anytime you start overthinking or being overly critical about yourself, remind yourself it is not about you.  It is, however, about the IMPACT you are making in the lives of others. Prior to giving your talk practice and prepare.  I highly encourage you to borrow this prayer from me that I say prior to any talk, keynote, workshop, call, or presentation:  “Thank you for this opportunity to use my unique gifts and make an impact in the lives of others.  Use me, speak through me, guide me.”  And with that you are ready to show up and serve to make an IMPACT!

4. When you first start speaking, focus on COLLABORATIONS.  Otherwise known as OPS.  OPS= Other people’s stages.  This will get you practice, feedback, and confidence all in one.  You will most likely speak for free when you start speaking, and this is totally fine.  Remember speakers who are speaking get booked to speak.  Once you get the confidence and practice then you’ll be energetically aligned to begin to charge and the opportunities will be presented to you.  Remember, you have to be visible for this to happen.  Have someone come with you to each of these opportunities and take videos and pictures.  Take pictures with groups and with the audience.   Use this to create credibility and if you’re asked for a video, you’ll have one ready.

5. Pitch yourself, on the one topic that you have been owning and refining.  Don’t worry, you can update this later and speak on other things in the future, but get known and become the expert on this one thing.  Google this: Call for Speakers (insert year) (insert location) and see what comes up. You’ll most likely find a list of speaking opportunities for groups and associations. Set a goal to apply for these.  Whatever that goal was that you just set, times it by 10.  Yes, you heard me.  If you set a goal of 3, your new goal will be 30.  Speaking is about playing the long game, but you can speed that game up with volume!


That’s the proven method that has worked for me, my team, and my clients and now it will work for you too… All you have to do is start with the courage to have something to say! 

If you’d like more guidance around speaking, reach out to us at the Amplify Your Life Company and we’ll set up an Idea to Stage Mentor Session with Carmen.  Text us the word: SPEAK to 503-386-2981 or email us your interest at and we’ll take care of the rest.


Are you finally ready to let go of doing it all, feeling overwhelmed and not finding joy in your life? I remember the day I said “no more” and  I let it all go!  I’ve created this guide with 3 simple steps for you to get started and find more joy in your everyday life and way less stress!

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