Sweaty palms, nervous laughter, a Brooklyn accent, panic-induced silences. These were just a few of the image blemishes addressed by Dorothy Sarnoff, an opera singer and Broadway star who had a much bigger second career as one of the first, and most influential, image consultants, coaxing stageworthy performances from business executives preparing a big speech, ambassadors on their way to foreign assignments and writers heading out on book toursSarnoff took an optimist's approach to training, focusing on bringing out the best in would-be speakers. Her three books on speaking are no longer in print: Speech Can Change Your Life, Never Be Nervous Again and Make the Most of Your Best: A Complete Program for Presenting Yourself and Your Ideas With Confidence and Authority , but you can find used copies of these classics.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Dorothy Sarnoff, a longtime speaker coach in New York City, has died at age 94. She began her coaching career after asking a women's fashion magazine editor why no advice was provided to women on vocal quality. Her first efforts at coaching went where women were--in Alexander's department store in New York City. Here's the lede of her obituary in today's New York Times, which captures her talents: