On LinkedIn, Marcus Webb, chief storytelling officer for the TEDMED conference, said, "It is a pleasure to write a recommendation for Denise Graveline. Actually, "recommendation" is an understatement -- this is more along the lines of a rave review. Denise is one of those incredible pros who makes excellence look easy...and who makes OTHER people look brilliant and talented.
How does she do it? She combines profound knowledge of her craft with a broad array of polished skills and a savvy sense of self-confidence that is infectious.
Here are the details: Denise worked with several of our speakers at TEDMED 2012 -- providing detailed pre-talk preparation for one or two of them. At the event itself, she provided all of our speakers (dozens of people) with three days of continual backstage coaching, hand-holding, and support. And boy, did they (and we) appreciate it.
How good is Denise as a speech coach? I would call her a professional's professional. You can be in the business 25 years and still learn a lot from her, in part because she herself is always learning and growing.
Denise's wise counsel and calming presence (not to mention her delightfully sly sense of humor) were invaluable assets in keeping our presenters on-keel and on track despite a high-profile, high-pressure setting that can unnerve even an experienced speaker.
Equally impressive are Denise's specific skills and experience in dealing with scientists, policy wonks and government officials. She knows how to speak their language, how to talk in terms of their values, and how to help them communicate effectively with diverse audiences far outside of their own subcultures.
As an added bonus, she's really fun to work with.
We look forward to working with Denise for a very long time to come."
Megan Moynahan, executive director of the Institute for Functional Restoration, says, "Denise helped me immensely with my TEDx talk, providing edits to the content and expert coaching on my delivery, stage presence, and tone. She also had lots of very practical advice and tricks-of-the-trade that I'll be able to use for future presentations."
Ginger Pinholster, director of the Office of Public Programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, says, "Denise has provided a high level of science communications services for AAAS. In particular, she facilitates daylong training workshops for scientists and engineers who want to hone their communication skills. This task requires developing programmatic content, public speaking, program facilitation, and moderation of all activities throughout the day. Denise is a dynamic, effective media trainer, and also extremely reliable and well-prepared at all times. We are pleased to recommend her."
Barbara Hyde, director of communications for the American Society for Microbiology, says "We used Denise for the first time as a media trainer for our new American Society for Microbiology president this month. Denise's background in working for several scientific associations is a great asset in her training and certainly lends authority to her presentation. Her day-long session was well-organized and flowed smoothly and she covered all the bases quite nicely. Our president was highly complimentary of the training and thought it was extremely helpful. We will definitely hire Denise again."
Speakers at TEDMED 2012, where I did some advance and backstage coaching, said:
- "You certainly helped me nerve up before the biggest talk of my life (thus far). I appreciated that help enormously."
- "Thanks again for all of the guidance, please know it made a big difference in what I am now convinced was a very good outing."
- The training was "my pleasure-- and gain! Of course, I will send my whole group to you next time!"
- "It was a relief to vent a bit and also to get some calm, constructive advice from you both the day before and the morning of my talk."
- "Thanks for all your helpful information and moral support backstage!"
- "Thanks so much for all of your help – what a great experience it was. Though I cringe at the thought of watching the video, I will definitely do so using your checklist."
Here's what participants in some of my workshops have said about my training:
- Denise is wonderful at both the “room” level as well as one-on-one.
- The speech went very well...He felt good about the delivery, and commented that the coaching definitely helped improve his performance.
- I feel much better about my work, and I'm gaining more confidence in my ability.
- I really enjoyed Denise’s confidence when she was walking around the tables and answering to some “tough” questions and comments. Hope at some point I’ll get that level of self-confidence!
- [I found valuable] Denise's enthusiasm to access improved communications
- Denise was fun, irreverent and kept info fun and light. Day just flew by. Thanks!
- I have classroom narcolepsy and didn’t even come close to falling asleep today. Denise was great...
- Denise was a fantastic instructor/facilitator!
- Denise did a really good job teaching how to hone in on messages – many new topics/lessons.
- Denise was great. I found her presentation as a whole to be engaging, clear and interesting.
- Most valuable: Being able to see people on video and walking through the process of honing and developing a message. Denise’s facilitation was very effective.
- I’ve attended other media prep courses. This was the best. Thank you, Denise!!!
- [I found most valuable] the interactive components of the workshop, and Denise’s ability to keep everyone engaged.
- I went straight from wearing a suit and meeting with Congressional aides to wearing field pants and talking to town managers and kids on the beach! The communication tips and message that you (and the workshop participants) helped me develop was extremely useful. After the workshop, I felt much more confident talking to people about my research and why they should care about funding science
- What made the workshop especially interesting and memorable was Denise Graveline's radiant and cheerful, yet very effective communication skills. She did an outstanding job of keeping the attention of the audience and tying everything together very nicely.
- Denise is a great role model for how to implement these techniques effectively.
- Denise did an amazing job coordinating the workshop. I learned a completely new view of how to communicate and will use this for the rest of my life.
About the blog and The Eloquent Woman on Facebook, readers say:
- About our Facebook discussions: "these are the best threads for concrete speaking advice."
- I just found this site a few minutes ago and this is exactly what I need. I love the posts. I would like to strengthen my public speaking skills. I have a job where I have to do a lot of public speaking. I would love to be more confident and articulate words better.
- This is one of the most useful, thoughtful and informed blogs available. Just excellent!
- From Journeyful Life blog's post, My 5 Favorite Blogs for Professional Development:
- Business coach and presenting teacher Anke Troder wrote: "Almost every time I read a posting by , I nod, smile, and find myself thinking: Exactly. That’s what counts....Maybe it is because theirs are women’s voices. But I’m not sure. I admire them for their expertise, pragmatism, research, and a wide range of interests. But mainly for something I find it hard to put a finger on. Maybe it is a certain online persona modesty. I find that a very endearing virtue."