Archive for October, 2013

Keynote Speaking: Why I Love It

Written by Sherri Petro on . Posted in Blog

We’ve all seen the stats on people who claim they would rather die than speak publicly.  I am the opposite.  I love presenting. Love, LOVE,  <3.   You got it — in all different kinds of ways! 


l found this out during high school when my freshman English teacher realized I had potential and asked me to try-out for the speech team.   Did Mr. Mazzucco comprehend what he unleashed?  I think not!  He started a journey where the keys to who I am have been illuminated over the years.  I discovered my voice and that I have the ability to successfully amplify messages I am passionate about.  And people listen to me!  What a concept.

While I love all kinds of presenting, keynotes are especially exciting. According to current adult learning theory, I need to say something provocative every 7 minutes to keep the audience’s attention. That’s some pressure, people.  Thankfully, pressure-packed situations provide juice.

I used to only tell other people’s stories lamenting that great stories never happened in my life. Then I read Sue Monk Kidd.  I realized great stories were being unveiled all around me.  I was not paying attention. Now I do. The stories offer great fodder for keynotes on all the subjects I speak on.  From projects to research, coaching to consulting, from generation to generation, I am seeing or being shown great ideas that need voiced.  Since my power is in my voice, it appears to be a match made in heaven.  And I mean that last sentence.

Whether being the first-born daughter of a passionate Italian father and his feisty redheaded Irish/English/German bride or simple by exposure, I do know that keynotes offer a way to get the message out and also challenge me to help make concepts real.  I appreciate connecting with people in a big way by seeing patterns I can illuminate to them. I simplify complex concepts — making sense of the wild stuff I see in the world. Keynotes are wonderful places to provide this.

One of my peers told me years ago that the author Geoffrey Moore said that less than 5% of the American population are synthesizers.  For better or worse, I am one of them.  I can play with ideas, weave stories together and recite research as if I conducted it myself.  While I do a little bit of the latter, the real joy is in combining the great work of others into a story that helps makes sense of multiple concepts. My keynotes honor the concepts’ authors and provide a big picture view.

I like to think that I help provide perspective in a wooly world.  Thankfully, the evaluations after my keynotes say I am on the right road.


Written by Sherri Petro on . Posted in Blog

Sherri Petro, President and Chief Strategy Officer of VPI Strategies, represents VPI Strategies on the Expert Panel for Managing Americans. is a management blog with more than 140,000 readers. Sherri contributes monthly to the Workplace Communication Skills Blog and is one of the most highly read columnists.

Mentor word cloud

This month’s post is Mentor Me?

Here is a sneak peak:

Not to be confused with the great Bruno Mars’ song Marry Me, we do have an engagement of sorts when we ask for someone’s hand in helping to develop our career. Whether it be an informal or formal relationship, there are great ways of asking for — and making the most of — a mentor’s assistance.

For the mentee, how do you approach a potential mentor? How do you maximize the value of this burgeoning relationship? How do you best communicate your challenges without sounding like you don’t know what you are doing?

On the mentor’s side of the equation, committing to a mentoring relationship requires time and energy. What are the benefits to you? How do you communicate your expertise without sounding like a know-it-all or starting every sentence with “When I was in that situation …” or “Here’s how I would do it…?”

Read Sherri Petro’s full article here.