The 5 Do’s and Don’ts of Commanding a Room

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If you want to engage an audience, don’t TELL them about a topic. Show them.

In the current class of my Mastermind, the ladies are fond of statements like “I promoted her to Director within a week” or “It was chaos when the news broke.”

In my training, I respond with “Show me. Don’t tell me.” Share the very micro-moment in time, when you made the decision or when chaos unleashed.

Tell me what you heard, what you smelled, what you tasted and what you touched. Bring me by the hand as an audience member into the room.

Her response? “I don’t remember the details. It was so long ago.”

Engage your imagination then.

If she doesn’t build the experience, guess what happens?

• The audience doesn’t remember her. She loses the power to persuade and influence.

• The audience doesn’t see themselves in her story. She loses the power to persuade and influence.

• The audience doesn’t sign up for her newsletter, or take action. She lost the moment to persuade and influence.

• The audience doesn’t sign up to become a future client.


I made this very same mistake.

In 2010, I launched a documentary production company. Instead of sharing the process of how I was making my first documentary, and bringing people on the journey with me, I got busy telling people the ‘features’ of the project. I set up about directing and producing a film about curable blindness in children in India. Most people didn’t know what curable blindness was. More importantly, how could they see themselves in a story that took place thousands of miles away? I ended up depleting my 401K to complete the film. After a few screenings at an HBO sponsored film festival, the Disney Theater, Sundance, and the Tribeca Screening Room, (all great laurels by the way), it is sitting on a password protected link on Vimeo. I didn’t get an Academy Award. I didn’t recoup my money. My documentary production company didn’t take off.

Which is why I want to share this with you.


The most successful companies solve a problem already in the market.

Bring people on the journey. Share about HOW you solve those problems. Its the quickest way to get buy-in. When my clients started doing this brand of storytelling—

• A client landed a job, after years of not making it through the first job interview

• A client learned how to make the right business case, and got 2 promotions in 2 years

• A client quit her job, and is now speaking on stages everywhere in Canada

• A client moved out of New York, and successfully built a doula business in Pennsylvania within a year.

Listen, you could spin for the next 3 years trying to persuade and influence. Or you can take this hack and short circuit the pain. Me personally, I would have wanted to recoup that 401K money.

Now on to this week’s newsletter…


One Leadership Tip

I’ve learned that I can provide strategy on how to create thought leadership. Even draft a detailed playbook, with three subtopics and 15 story ideas underneath. But left to their own devices, women leaders get stuck on execution.

The blank page is daunting.

But here’s the downside. If she doesn’t document the way she changed her board and team to reflect the diverse population she serves. If she doesn’t share HOW she helped a client with ADHD organize her home so she could invite guests over. All of that goes out the door, when she retires or leaves the workforce. And all we are left with is the guy’s version. Because he wrote a book about it. He invested in a PR agent, a business coach, a book coach. He even hired a public speaking coach and gave a TEDTalk about it. He built a Twitter account with 2 million followers for it. He told all of his powerful guy friends to promote it.

Document the unique way you solve problems.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what initially sells people into my Mastermind. It’s typically:

  • The community. Leveraging 8 minds versus 1.
  • The travels and adventures
  • The TedTalk on a NYC stage at the end of the year
  • The year long support


Those things are all fabulous, of course. But here’s what I’ve learned after a few years of hosting Masterminds and thousands in sales made: The win is in being surrounded by women who want MORE for themselves


  • Most have big dreams, but can’t say them out loud in their immediate community
  • Most want more adventure, but are seeking a little bit of permission
  • Most want the travel, but want a group to go with
  • Most want the accountability for making their dreams come true


These are the types of wins I’ve seen my Masterminders celebrate this year. Some examples…

  • She has grown in her leadership. For the first time, she has documented standard operating procedures for her growing company. She’s handling conflict at her company.
  • Her client renewed for her contract for another year– She just went out on her own a year ago. She not only had one big client, but they expanded scope of work.
  • She went from wallflower to pitching for investor dollars in rooms full of men. She started her own real estate fund.


In the 2024 Class of the Mastermind, I’m teaching the systems you need to create consistent content. Content that gets clients. Not content for content’s sake. Whta’s unique about the way I do this? I lead with an element of adventure. I whisk you away to Nice, France, for a June retreat to harvest stories in service of your TEDxTalk that ties up the year.

Apply here.

One Public Speaking Tip

The air is heavy, given the headlines. I like to have alternatives to saying, “I’m sorry for your loss.” Some alternative verbage to use:

  • I know how much you’re hurting. I’ll do whatever I can to help
  • If you need to talk then you can call whenever you want. I’ll always make time for you
  • I hope you can find strength in your loved ones and the comfort they bring
  • I’m going to hug you. And I’m going to hug you for two minutes, I’m going to time it. And you have to let me.”

I found this here.


One Adventure Tip

In this panel, hosted by Schmooze, I spoke alongside 3 women leaders who make travel a critical piece of their lives and businesses. I spoke about how I structure the adventure retreats for my Samita Lab Mastermind.

I have one seat open for my next adventure on Oct 25th in New York. Register here.

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