“I was asked to speak at an Environmental Education Expo out of state, with 150 people in attendance. As a potter and Montessori teacher, my preference is to be a ‘guide on the side’ rather than a ‘sage on the stage.’
Sharing my experience working with clay is something I am passionate about, but the idea of presenting to a large audience was not something I was comfortable with. That’s an art form in and of itself, and one that I was not especially trained or felt well prepared for!
In our coaching session, I learned to make eye contact with individuals in the audience, and that it was an energizing experience to do so (not scary!). And the importance of connecting with people, sharing openly in a way that is mutually beneficial.
I also picked up lots about body language and how to hold and carry myself more confidently. The ‘command’ and ‘connection’ way of thinking about appearance and presence was especially interesting and helpful.
Catherine really helped me feel confident about my opening and closing, which I learned (and verified from my experience!) are the most important parts in terms of presence and delivery.
It all helped me to be more present with those I am speaking to, and more inclusive of what others bring to the discussion. I felt prepared and calm while presenting, and I attribute much of this to working with Catherine the weekend before. Connections were natural and came relatively easy, and I really enjoyed my time presenting!”
Montessori School of Lake Forest
“Many nonprofit leaders are really great at working behind the scenes, but they are not always so strong at the podium. I knew that Catherine would be able to provide a lot of great advice to help them better command the attention and respect that they deserve. That’s why she kicked off our Big Buzz Breakfast Leadership Series.
As always, I learned a great deal from the workshop! And attendees commented on how practical the workshop was and that they were thrilled that they could immediately begin implementing what they learned.
Catherine is a dynamic speaker who brings so many tips and tricks to workshop participants. We were honored and delighted to have someone of her caliber presenting at our leadership series because we knew that our attendees would leave with valuable knowledge to help them be stronger leaders!”
Big Buzz Idea Group
“One way to promote your company and its services is speaking. Nurses don’t generally market themselves; their work is expressed in their actions. So these workshops were great to help everyone see their role as ambassadors of NShore Patient Advocates. We all had a great experience!
It was very helpful to initially work on all the body and spatial issues; how to plant yourself to increase confidence and projection, use the space around you, connect with eye contact and use your voice, how to dress, jewelry, makeup. It really helped us create the whole package!
The second workshop was all about doing it! That was fun and hard work. The feedback from the team was invaluable. It helped to learn how to make an impression and leave them with wanting more.
Our team was so energized! I think the level of confidence was boosted tremendously. Now it’s up to each one of us to practice, practice, practice.
I would recommend Catherine Johns as a coach and trainer for any size organization. And not just for what we embarked on. Sales and marketing professionals benefit from how to get your message out clearly and succinctly. Developing powerful narratives to avoid putting yourself in a box, getting stuck in a paradigm like the rest of the pack. Catherine can help you stand out!”
Susan Scatchell, Marketing Director
NShore Patient Advocates
“Women in Travel offers our members regular webinars. We look for experts with deep experience who are well-versed on the topic.
Catherine’s Speak with Authority webinar was an interactive conversation; she was talking WITH attendees, not AT them. She presented actionable items. And they left with concrete, very specific, not generalized advice.
Reaction from members? ‘Love her! When can we attend another event with Catherine?!’”
Dawn Repoli, Executive Director
Women in Travel
“The Women’s Legislative Network looks for engaging speakers who convey their expertise with a compelling delivery. We want our sessions to be valuable for our audience with many take-home lessons. Our speakers also must understand the state legislative environment and the realm in which legislators operate day-to-day (most importantly, the huge amount of information and opinions they receive every day).
We got great evaluations on your session! People mentioned how responsive you were to their questions. They liked the practical exercises. Liked the emphasis on being concise. One person mentioned that they didn’t do public speaking but found it helpful for even simple communication in the office.
This workshop would be valuable for many people who have communications roles – whether that is speaking to a large group or one-on-ones with a boss who is pressed for time.”
Women’s Legislative Network
National Conference of State Legislatures
“At .orgCommunity, we work to find speakers for our conferences who are thought leaders, engaging and fun.
When Catherine presented at our Executive Leadership Summit, learning how to speak to a room and following up with the exercises was a big takeaway and very helpful.
Our attendees felt the program was great and several wanted to follow up with Catherine for more one-on-one training. I would highly recommend Catherine!”
Co-founder and Managing Director, .orgCommunity
“When we planned the Dream Bigger panel discussion for Women in Business, we were looking for someone dynamic and outgoing who could control a room with confidence.
Catherine was able to react quickly to comments and questions, with personal anecdotes that were totally on-point.
We received fabulous feedback, my favorite of which included “Look at all these notes I took!” followed by this attendee showing me several pages of handwriting in a notebook.
We’d definitely recommend Catherine as a moderator. And, we’d love to have her for another of our Women in Business panels!”
Suzi Wirtz, Director of Marketing and Events
West Suburban Chamber of Commerce
“From watching your videos, to seeing you in person…I think the magic is in the energy.
To me, the energy comes through your ability to exude confidence in combination with being relaxed and personal. Even today after watching the 1 min, 30 sec video, I came away with more energy because I believe that I can emulate you.
You are natural and “normal” with your perspective. We all get what you are saying…and you give us the confidence with making little changes that enable “us” to do the same thing.”
Strategic Marketing Leader
“I had a great time in your and Mark’s class. When learning is fun it is so much easier. I truly felt right at home and relaxed in Customer Conversations for Service Consultants.
I needed to gain some confidence when speaking to customers, I spent many years in sales over the phone but in-person was challenging. The biggest take-away for me was to “be the professional.” Now I literally say to myself “I AM A PROFESSIONAL” before I start each day.
I also started using the simple things right away: sitting up straight, standing sometimes, using a headset so I can have my hands free, making sure to use the customer’s name. And repeating their words is like magic!”
This was my first class ever as I am a new Service Consultant and you set the bar pretty high :)”
“As Home Staging business owners, many members work on their designing and staging skills and forget that their best-selling feature is themselves.
It really helped them to learn about professional presence, people interaction and vocal skills. The group members just took home so much, but importantly, the casual and interactive presentation made for each person to feel that they were being addressed.
We hope to have you back next year too, to continue to reap your wonderful knowledge, great speaking topics.”
“The National Conference of State Legislatures asked their Young and New Professionals network to host a session at the legislative summit to give all NCSL members (legislators and staff) an opportunity to sharpen their speaking skills and learn how to articulate their message succinctly, quickly and confidently.
Catherine Johns delivered this in her presentation. Attendees left the session with very positive feedback and thoroughly enjoyed their highly interactive time with Catherine. She gave us important communication tips on not only how to speak well, but also how to listen better.
She demonstrated confidence in speaking and gave us a chance to practice crafting our message, along with useful feedback.
I would highly recommend Catherine for speaking events and trainings; I appreciated the wonderful opportunity for professional development she provided during our session.”
Samantha Scotti, Research Analyst
National Conference of State Legislatures
“The American Disc Jockey Association looks for speakers who can provide information and tactics to help members grow their individual businesses.
The value we received from Catherine’s session about word-of-mouth marketing was to ensure that people speak about us the way we want them to speak about us. We don’t always think strategically about how to do that and now we have another tool in our arsenal.
Absolutely, I would recommend Catherine as a speaker. She presents the material in a clear, articulate manner and in a language that is easily understood. Plus, she engages her audience through interaction and role-playing. This keeps the session interesting.”
American Disc Jockey Association, Chicago Chapter
“Through her workshops and presentations, Catherine, more than anyone else, has become the voice in my head that prompts me to pay attention to how I’m presenting myself.
She’s made me check that I’m looking people in the eye, present in my body, and grounded solidly with my feet (which I’m realizing is harder than it seems). And she’s made me aware of how important it is to start with “you” when I’m sharing with folks what I do and how I can help, all in words that are crystal clear.
I’ve urged my psychology colleagues to seek out her training, and I keep up my own learning by reading her newsletters every week.
Catherine has helped me feel confident enough to make two videos, something completely new to me, and they both turned out better than I ever expected. Little by little, the stuff’s sinking in!”
Dr. Lisa Campbell
Willow Wellness Center
“The Michigan Dental Association looks for speakers that know the content and can deliver it in an engaging way. The MDA does have a Committee on Continuing Education that also scouts speakers – often our speakers come by recommendation or word of mouth.
We heard a lot of positive reviews on your sessions. Attendees said they are now thinking about what they can do to prepare ahead of time to get their message across better and stronger. The See, Hear, Feel method you talked about resonated with them as well.
We would definitely recommend you and yes, we would have you back for another event.”
Director of Continuing Education
Michigan Dental Association
“You are a game changer.
I was impressed by how thorough Catherine was in researching our industry and our company and how well she used that information to personalize the presentation.
Catherine’s program was more of a discussion with the attendees than a lecture or presentation. And they loved it. She hit the topic dead center and sent them home with new practical skills that they could put into practice the next day.”
Auto-Wares Group of Companies
“The SBAC looks for speakers for our Women’s Developmental Forum who are engaging and can connect with participants.
Catherine did a great job providing relatable stories, demonstrating behaviors so the audience could make the connection. She was wonderful at providing specific feedback to participants in a non-threatening way. And she captured the hearts and minds of the men in the group, even though she’d been told to expect a group of women.”
Feedback from group members included, ‘This was great,’ ‘I learned so much,’ and ‘people walked away thinking differently when interacting with others.’
We would absolutely recommend Catherine’s program to other business groups.”
Small Business Advisory Council
Women in Business
“I have received very good feedback regarding your presentation! I for one, absolutely loved it! You were funny, high energy and most importantly, I really think staff got a lot of value out of what you presented.”
Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Illinois Chapter
“We are in transition from being a founder/owner-led company, to being a next generation owner/manager-led company. That means we have to give our emerging leaders all the training we can to help them grow into those leadership roles. After reading Show Up and Shine, we knew it would be empowering for our staff and managers to learn how to command respect, make confident decisions, expect accountability and exude personal power.
Employees discovered they used weak voices, carried themselves in ways that signaled they felt inferior or unqualified to lead and unconsciously presented their ideas in ways that guaranteed they would be dismissed.
Since their session with Catherine, employees are standing taller, walking and speaking more confidently, and having fun coaxing each other to avoid the mistakes of weak-speak and poor posture.
This training plus the book, have set us up to make ‘personal empowerment and confident presentations’ part of our company culture, and that will have lasting, positive impact.”
Gary Whitaker, Publisher
“We look for speakers at Judson University who connect and relate to the students, provide expertise that is useful and applicable; someone who is engaging and an expert in their field. The students fully enjoyed Catherine’s presentation.
The course I taught was Child, Family, and Community Relationships. I am very concerned about the lack of engagement I see everywhere. These students have to connect not only with their students, but with other staff and administration. More importantly, they MUST connect with parents. It was beneficial for them to hear from a communication expert.
Catherine Johns is an engaging presenter who provides a great deal of content in an interactive format. She exemplifies everything she teaches! I would strongly recommend any organization hire Catherine to speak on connection and presence. Everyone will walk away having found value in her message.”
Speaker, Author, Coach
President of ICF-Chicago
“I signed up for Words that Wow because I felt that the way I describe my business needed sparkle.
What was great about the workshop was that we got to practice out loud several times, getting feedback and polishing as we went.
Now when I do my 1-minute introductions, I can tell that a lot more people are hearing what I’m saying, and I’m getting more interest.”
Snap! Web Video
“People attend Illinois workNet’s Business & Career Services programs seeking support for their job search.
Feedback on Catherine’s program was extremely positive! In spite of being at the end of the day in the middle of a monsoon, participants said they were energized and inspired. They enjoyed the interactive exercises, and felt that the specific, practical tips would enhance future interview success.
Catherine is a high energy, presenter who will inspire any audience. Her presentations are interactive, engaging and clearly communicate the passion necessary to motivate your team. She employs creativity to provide unique, customized programming to fit the needs of each audience, improvising when necessary.”
“At Continuity of Care, we look for speakers will help our members expand their knowledge of the senior industry and being more effective marketers.
I appreciate how Catherine strips away the preconceived notions of introducing ourselves and talking about our business. I also appreciate how she engages the audience and having them practice using her ideas. Several members contacted me letting me know how much they appreciated Catherine’s tips on how to differentiate them from their competition.
I would highly recommend Catherine for group that wants to improve how they interact with others.”
Norm Schussele, President
Continuity of Care, Three Rivers Chapter
“The main challenge I faced was I didn’t know how to introduce myself: what to say, how to say it and make it sound interesting. I’ve been reading your newsletter and have learned many useful tips, but the workshop forced me to really apply and practice, and in turn, improve.
One of the big Ahas I got from Words that Wow is that it’s better to narrow your focus and not try to appeal to everybody. That gets people more interested, even if they’re not part of the targeted appeal group. And I learned that answering the question “What do you do?” indirectly made for a much more memorable introduction.
The workshop also gave me confidence. I’m ready to go to a networking event and make some positive and memorable impressions, and hopefully bring in some business.
I liked how the session was interactive and hands on. I found the feedback from you and the rest of the group was constructive and it allowed all of us to improve and fine tune our messages.”
John Gillham, CPA
Chunowitz, Teitelbaum & Mandel
“I’ve been playing around with my marketing messages but they never seemed to come across the right way. People’s eye glazed over when I spoke about what I did. I didn’t feel very comfortable with my choice of words but didn’t know how to improve it.
At Catherine’s workshop, I learned to focus my messages from the receiver’s perspective and try to make a warmer connection when speaking.
I’m more confident what I’m saying now. I understand the structure of a well thought out message and I know how to deliver it.
I think this was the piece that was missing for me: the difference between command [which I have] and connection [which is more challenging for me]. Now that I know which piece is not working I can focus on building the connection with others.”
Prince Performance LLC
“First and foremost, Catherine helped me reshape my introduction. I was using jargon that was meaningless in terms of helping anyone see a picture of what I do. Even more importantly, my introduction did not leave people curious or wanting more. Catherine helped me change all of that and really improved my ability to connect with others in a meaningful way and inspire the desire for further conversation. How fabulous is that?
Listening to other therapists try to describe their work and their passion meaningfully, it became clear that they could benefit from Catherine’s tutelage as well.
Feedback I received about Catherine’s talk at The Juniper Center included comments that her practical, honest perspective and masterful wordsmithing are invaluable. Therapists are master relationship builders. She helped us translate that to our introductions.
Each time I hear Catherine speak, I learn something new. Several people from our event asked for a follow up workshop.
Your team probably needs her too.”
Dr. Margo Jacquot, Director
The Juniper Center
“CMS seeks speakers who can bring foundational elements to young professionals. They need to be immediately usable and assist our audience in their ability to grow in their respective firms.
Catherine’s presentation provided our mentees with useful information and techniques which immediately enhance their ability to present themselves in any situation. It not only increases their knowledge of relation-building and communication, but it also gives them a career advantage over others who normally do not think about or practice these skills. It should be additive to their raw talent and desire to succeed and elevate their opportunities for advancement and respect in the workplace.
This is the first time Catherine has presented to our group and we hope she becomes part of our permanent rotation. I absolutely recommend her—particularly after listening to her for years on the radio. Frankly, the pleasure was ours!”
James A. Klein
Cofounder of the Chicago Mentoring Society
Principal, Acrobat Marketing Solutions, Inc.
“I signed up for Catherine’s Words that Wow because I haven’t interviewed for a while and I feel uncomfortable talking about myself. I’d had a few interviews that didn’t go well, so I knew I needed help. I won’t get a chance to showcase my ability or experience unless the hiring manager can make a connection with me.
One of the first things Catherine discussed is that we need to give our audience a reason to care, to know that we can solve their problems. I can do this at work, but never thought about it in an interview setting.
When we talk about the aspects of our jobs that we love, we light up and become more animated. Managers want to hire people that are excited about their jobs. Simple language – without specific jargon – is more powerful.
Now I will be able to relax and let more of my personality shine through in the interview process so people know what I can do and why they should hire me, or refer me to someone who will.”
“I’m taking on additional responsibilities at work and will be leading quarterly meetings for a team. I registered for Free Your Voice because I want to be more confident when speaking to the group.
Since the workshop, I’m more aware that what I do is important, and I value my contribution to ACI more. (Catherine, I really got this when you pointed out that I had used “air quotes” around my job description.)
Having the chance to practice speaking from my core helped me feel that it’s possible to push through fear when I’m afraid to speak up.”
Robin Kidd, Administrative Assistant
Adoption Center of Illinois
“Our goal is to find speakers that help bring out the best in each of us, challenge our minds, motivate us, and encourage us to grow individually and as a group. Now if this can be accomplished with some humor, then we have a perfect speaker. You were the dynamic person we were looking for.
The only complaint I received was that the program was too short and that next time we need to ‘double our time with Catherine Johns.’”
Moderator – Women at Fourth
Fourth Presbyterian Church Chicago