Why getting You to Breakthrough Matters
You, my friend, are one of those amazing people who took the leap. You took your dreams about influencing people and stepped up - into the spotlight to speak, to lead, to influence otucomes.
Or you took your dreams about owning your own business or launching a social enterprise - and made it happen.
You’re a problem-solver, get-it-done kind of person. We’ve got that in common.
Now that you’re in a position to influence outcomes, you know that there’s no time to waste when it comes to leveling-up.
You get that leading a meeting requires more than being a subject-matter-expert who’s able to stand at the front of the room. It requires the ability to engage, to overcome resistance and stasis and motivate people to become active participants in advancing outcomes.
Or, when you decided that your business needed an online presence, you googled it, discovered a plethora of solutions and gave it a go. Kudos to you! Still, launching a website that ranks is totally overwhelming, I know. Then, you landed here.
With a background in journalism and a career that required me to publish and deliver multiple weekly presentations, I get the challenges. Speaking to boards of directors, staff, investors, and the public - I had more than my share of opportunities to get it right. And, get it wrong.
Yep. I’ve done a public face-plant or two.
And, in the words of one of my favorite authors, Dr. Brené Brown, learned to rise strong.
I’m a believer in giving it your all.
As an executive leader, that has meant that my communication learning-curve was often on full public display. I learned on the job, before hundreds and thousands, frequently live-streamed to the far corners of the world.
And, it’s true, I didn’t always articulate well when making a big-as(k). (You can read more about that irreversible faux pas HERE.)
My most challenging moment, however, was far from fleeting. It lasted not for an hour, a day, or for a few weeks, but for two-years. The up-side was the privilege I had to walk with some of the most amazing people in the world. Together, we faced a volatile and crazy-violent faction. Leading well mattered. How I handled difficult people would (whether I liked it or not) set the course for how others would stand in the face of challenges.
There were colleagues and clients watching. Young men and young women, teens and children.
So, I stood. Unwavering. With integrity. I had determined to return kindness - regardless.
During those two years, I received all kinds of sordid mail (those in leadership will understand).
But, most remarkable were the hundreds of letters from teens, children, parents and business leaders who (it turned out) were all taking note.
Though I was the tip of the spear, each in their own way had remarkably chosen to join the effort of “rising above.”
As I am an ever so ordinary leader, I am sure that if I can, you can - rise above - whatever is set before you. It’s why I do what I do.
I believe in breakthrough. I study it. Practice it. Live it.
And I am committed to helping you attain it.
We’ll use the brain science of thinking. And the transforming ability of storytelling together with your subject expertise.
We’ll ask, “Why when you say what you say do, do people hear what they hear and do what they do?”
How can you engage your audience’s neural-disposition to get to breakthrough? It’s part art, part science. And, it’s all I do.
Whether coaching speakers who are ready to level-up their performance or working with small business owners who are poised to increase their marketplace presence with a stellar website - I go for breakthrough. And, over-deliver.
Scale-Up your ability to influence
Strategic Writing & Delivery that Create Engagement
Manuscript Review & Writing
create a memorable message that gets to breakthrough
Powerpoints that deliver engagement
Coaching that aligns with your ability to influence
The more I hit a homerun and landed a message strong, the more I wanted to make that my new normal.
Words came easy (background as a journalist and all) but finding resonance with a diverse audience and tending things like the storyline, the arch of the presentation, and the neuroscience of low-risk participation opening doors for high level engagement - that was learned.
I was humbled when I would be out and about and would hear an idea I had introduced being talked about over coffee or practiced by a colleague. It made me want to learn more and do even better.
My education equipped me in lots of ways, but almost everything having to do with actual communication came through studied practice and the weekly sessions I was fortunate to have with forthright staff who were my check-and-balance, telling me what worked and what didn’t. I will forever be grateful to Steve, Beth, Mark and Sam for their unflinching honesty in getting us - as team - to where we needed to go.
Level-Up | 6-Weeks
Everything you’ve learned and accomplished up until now has made you great at what you do! I can’t do what you do, the way that you do it.
My work’s focus - communication and educating communicators - has necessarily come at the exclusion of what you do. If communication hasn’t been at the forefront of your mind - no worries. You’re in the right place.
We talk about the stuff we’re knowledgable about. Is it good enough?
Those who dare to be honest with us, will often tell us, “No.” As you consider tooling-up your communication strategies and skills, consider that this may never be your primary focus; afterall you’ve got it going on in other fields!
A quick immersion course in messaging strategy will, however, change how you get where you’re going; how you bring others along, and how you sell what others need. I’m not talking products, I’m talking you. Your vision. Your insights.
Learning to engage our audience, convey authenticity and inspire action - like every other skill that you’ve mastered, these skills are learned, coached, mastered. You can be great at this.
Get where you’re meant to go
People often ask what authors are at the top of my influencer-list.
I started with The World’s Great Speeches. (Nerd-alert: I love learning from the ancients as well as our contemporaries - you can find a good start on the list here: Great Speeches.)
Then, I studied Pixar’s story-telling process. And I read great books from thought-leaders, like: Simon Sinek, “Start With Why;” Jonah Sachs, “Winning the Story Wars;” Jonah Berger, “Contagious;” Paul Smith, “Lead with a Story;” Carmine Gallo, “Talk Like TED;” Amy Cuddy, “Presence;” and Nobel Prize Winner Daniel Kahneman’s book on brain science, “Thinking, Fast and Slow.”
All along the journey, I got great advice from friends.
Though I have to admit that it took me awhile to understand what they were saying, since they often contradicted one another: go faster - no, go slower - start with some humor - no, hit the big point right off. It took me awhile to realize that each of them was right. Beneath all of their input ran a common thread; I needed to improve.
I am grateful for the 20-years that my job gave me a lab in which to learn the art and the science of speaking. Whether I was speaking to a board room of directors or before audiences of a thousand,
I wanted my presentation to stir people to action, to motivate them to be part of the vision.
I’m passionate about elevating your performance, your enterprise, our world.
Whether you're a executive leader, keynote speaker or a graduate student who's ready to level-up, coaching for increased audience engagment can be pivotal.
When I’m not delving into website-design or constructing a speech, I’m hanging out with my family on the lake in a kayak or riding around it on bikes. Dog in tow.
The frost-on-eyelashes thing?
Yeah, that’s only romantic in songs. When that frosty-thing happens, my peddling goes indoors; and occasionally I go south to visit clients (win-win). That said, this year, in an effort to fully appreciate winter, one of my goals was to re-learn how to cross country ski.
While lots of ice-fishing goes on, on the lake out our back-door, I’m thinking a set of skis is more my thing.
The update: we bought several sets of used skis and had a blast!!! Grateful (as always) for friends who helped us navigate the initial learning curve (boots in bindings, upright and traversing the frozen tundra - that kind of thing). Sliding across the frozen ice with white fluff blowing in our faces and wildlife darting across our path - made for great winter days!
Summer again, here in the land of wonder, and we’re back out on Minnesota lakes and trails. Hoping you too are getting out and doing a bit of what you love.
Communication Strategist & Author
Speechwriter and published author with two-decades writing and delivering transformative speeches while coaching emerging and proficient leaders to overcoming results.
Executive director with experience scaling for growth: for-profits & non-profits. Knows change-management, project management and workflow.
BA in Journalism & Masters, CDMP | Certified Digital Marketing Professional; has created turn-around strategy and breakthrough communication for leaders and websites with a local and national footprint.
Why i love building websites
Because a great website can take your passion, your business, your enterprise - and open doors to the future.
I love it when my clients get to breakthrough. So often a website that’s formatted to overcome business challenges and meet business goals can make all the difference!
This past year, one of my small business clients (with a national footprint) met their year-end goals in July. I was as thrilled as they were! I love keeping in touch and learning how what we created together is leading to breakthrough.
Another client’s website helped to resolve several long-standing business challenges, creating their best season ever.
When I take on your website, I take on your vision, goals, dreams - and design your website to help you get from here to there.
Your hard work deserves a website that works as hard as you work.
Let’s take your expertise & level-up your online presence with a great-looking, high-performing website.
I’m a Squarespace Freelance Professional
I’ve used other platforms, and honestly, none is as responsive as Squarespace. It works as well on your phone as on laptop - which is super important in today’s market. A great site that requires a team of professionals to maintain just isn’t realistic for most small businesses. Squarespace offers a platform that you’ll be able to maintain with just a bit of coaching; we’ll take time for that. You can read more: about Squarespace and about the Website Design Process.
Having run small businesses
with as few as 5-employees and as many as 300, I get the challenge of wearing a dozen hats while moving the business forward.
In both for-profit and non-profit sectors I’ve faced the challenges of scaling for growth. Opening a new (or updated) website is about all of that.
It’s about envisioning where your business can go; and what it will take to get there.
Your new website can play a key role in getting you to where you know you can go.
Over the past 3-years, I transitioned out of the full-time (80-hour/week) work-force and started my own company.
Now, I work half-time (keeping it to 40-hours a week) which is soooo great!
Creating virtual-front-doors for entrepreneurs, creatives, social-enterprises, small businesses and non-profits has been amazing. One of my clients (in Africa) called me to say, “Thanks for being my secret weapon.” She went on to say that people wonder how she’s doing what she’s doing. Her response? “I have a secret weapon.” I love being that; her behind-the-scenes super power.
Because your website is your business’s virtual front door- it ought to look GREAT!
You can use the Fast-Five-Question Eval to rate the welcome-factor of your virtual front door.
Wondering what you have to do to appear at the top of search pages?
I was wondering the same thing, so I did some advance training (yes, back to school). And what I learned is fantastic; stuff I love to make happen every day - stuff that gets you found.
You can learn more (without going back to shool) about how to create a strong digital presence at Content Rules. Why? Because I want all of my clients to understand what makes their site tick; it’s why I invest time training you in how to maintain your own site. But, I also get it if being a specialist in your field means that you don’t have time to tackle communications’ strategies, digital marketing and website design.
As a Squarespace Freelance Professional and Squarespace Circle Member, I love creating websites that take your business to the next level.
Most small businesses are a perfect fit for the 2-Week Design-Time which gets your new website up and running in two weeks flat. I’ll send you three forms that you can use to gather information during the lead-up-time, and then I’ll go to work. You’ll have my undivided attention throughout your design-time.
We’ll create, brand, search engine optimize, index with Google and more.
Your site won’t just be beautiful. It’ll perform, bringing in leads and generating business.
Ready to launch a site that you’ll be proud to call your own? Read to surpass this year’s business goals? Ready to work with a website-designer who gets you and can help you launch a site you love, with that digital overwhelm? Let’s talk.
"Melinda knows how to deliver facts as well as a high-expectations challenge, wrapping needful information in a compelling story that moves people toward greater commitment toward the vision and mission of an organization.
She not only believes that we can change the world, but stakes her life on it.
“Melinda knows how to convey that message verbally and in outstanding written communications."
Managing Director, Doxa Advisors LLC, Principled Wealth Management