Sharing Your Message on Stage

Sharing Your Message on Stage

This blog post is part of the 2013 Next Top Credit Union Exec competition originally posted November 1, 2013.

The Next Top Credit Union Executive presentations are around the corner. I look forward to meeting all of you and hearing about your experiences, as well as what you have learned about yourself throughout this process. I can only imagine what has shifted between nominations to being onstage next Monday.

Moving into the weekend, the following ideas might be helpful. I know you are well prepared and ready to go, and that several of you are meeting with your DDJ Myers coach on site. So, you are good to go and, perhaps, there is one good thought below for you to carry into the weekend and onstage.


Our bodies know how to breathe; it is an automatic function of our bodies and we often forget the value of our breath in managing our commitments, stress, and pace throughout our busy days. Your voice is the channel to deliver your ideas and a good thing to remember is your mouth is not the source behind your voice – it is your abdomen! Practice a speaking posture two to three times a day: stand in a comfortable position, not rigid or slumped. Place your hand on your abdomen, inhale, exhale. Inhale on a count to five, and then exhale on a count to five. Start to feel your abdomen relaxing. Now, inhale and exhale on a count to 10; slow breathing will relax your diaphragm.

Physically, here is what is going on. You have muscles between your ribs that contract with each breath and your ribs swing up and out in the process. The diaphragm contracts and then descends and flattens, which causes a slight displacement of internal organs. Meanwhile, your chest cavity increases size to accommodate the incoming air. During exhalation, your muscles relax and return to their resting position and the lungs force out the air. So, imagine what is going on with short and rapid breaths versus longer, more relaxed breathing patterns. As you practice this breathing pattern over the next few days, notice what is different in your belly, chest, and voice. The breath is a valued asset that creates the sound of your voice!


A normal conversation typically uses rapid bursts of sound. Public speaking requires a deliberate pace that may seem too slow for you, and yet is just right for the listeners. Articulate each word with individual sounds rather than a blur of indistinct sounds.


The audience is comprised of varying generations; be sure to explain generational terms that may not make sense to everyone and avoid jargon.


Record and play back your speech. Listen to your own voice, content, and pacing, and adjust as necessary. Expand your voice so that the last person in the furthest corner feels they are in the front row. Don’t yell – just broaden the reach of your voice and message throughout the entire room.


Audiences want to know why they are listening to you from the very first moment you walk onstage. So, map it out!

Outline the content and where you are going

Give directional signals, such as “Next, I’ll show…

Connect the dots and tie back concepts to earlier statements

Count for the audience: “There are three important concepts…

Acknowledge credit, “Our team,” or “They did,” or “I believe”

If you have a vision, share it, ”My vision is…”

If it is important, repeat it three times throughout the presentation


You are onstage for a reason – you make a difference and will continue to do so in the future. Remember your purpose and remember what you believe in, and be clear to yourself: what your vision and message are, and what is important to you. Embodiment of your vision and message will be what makes a difference!


Susan Geear, Peter Myers, and I are on site. Reach out to us and bounce off ideas or questions. Our purpose is to support you.

See you soon!

Deedee Myers

Deedee Myers is the Chief Executive Officer of DDJ Myers and will be one of the three judges of the finalist presentations at the CEO/Executive Team Network™ in San Diego.

Your Gravitational Pull

Your Gravitational Pull

This blog post is part of the 2013 Next Top Credit Union Exec competition originally posted June 12, 2013.

Last week I sat in a science class with my four* soon-to-be-5th graders. There are 15 children in this summer class and the current topic of study was astronomy. Each of the 15 students did Internet research on different aspects of our planetary system and gave a three-minute presentation.

These kids were so impressive! They were engaged in listening to each other’s stories; asked relevant questions without bring prodded; and, challenged inconsistency of information presented by each other. It was apparent that the students, as a group, had effective practices of communication supported by the teacher.

A discussion on gravitational pull caught my attention. For example, a person weighing 80 pounds on earth weighs 175 pounds on Jupiter. The kids had fun imagining what it would feel and look like if they were, in a moment, double in weight. As their bodies moved around the room with the imagined increase in gravitational pull their voices were deeper, had greater reach, and their mood was compelling.

So, what is your gravitational pull? What can you do, today, to expand your capacity to be noticed in a positive way of leadership? I invite you to imagine you are on Jupiter, right now, as you read this blog, and just doubled your gravitational pull. How can you expand your leadership presence and potential?

One way is to ask others what they see in you that they appreciate and what they want to see more of. The question you ask goes something like this, “I want to develop more leadership competency and your feedback is important to me. What is something I do that works real well? What do you want to see more of from me?” Thank your conversation partner and ask two more people, sort out what you hear and take appropriate steps.

Consider these other ways to get noticed as the CUES Next Top Credit Union Executive:

  1. Assess how much of your time goes into ‘consensus building’ and ask your team if more or less time is needed, why and what needs to shift to make that happen.
  2. Assess how much time you spend in being a leader and inspiring others.
  3. Evaluate how much you speak up in meetings and presentations (like the soon to be fourth graders mentioned above).
  4. How is your ability to look for consistency in information and can you readily identify patterns?
  5. What can you shift to support your team in getting out of the comfort zone of problem solving?
  6. Evaluate your networking practices and how they add value to the credit union.
  7. Look for opportunities to authentically celebrate small successes!

Lastly, a fabulous way to get noticed is to ask someone to nominate you, or be bold in your gravitational pull and self-nominate, for the CUES Next Top Credit Union Executive competition. The act of entering the competition is a game changer and a major step up into your potential.


*I have quadruplets (that’s four babies at the same time) moving from 4th to 5th grade.

The Nomination Investment

The Nomination Investment

This blog post is part of the 2013 Next Top Credit Union Exec competition originally posted June 5, 2013.

In a previous blog post, I suggested that every credit should nominate someone for the CUES Next Top Credit Union Executive competition. This week, let’s take the same conversation a slice deeper and ask why the nomination is important and what the investment cost is to nominate.

When I list the reasons why to nominate one, two or three of your employees, it’s hard to choose which reason stands out the most for me.  These are top of mind today:

  • Overnight increase in employee morale of the nominee
  • Overnight increase in employee morale of peers and direct reports to nominee—they’re lining up for the nomination next year
  • Your credit union recognized for being an organization that supports high performers
  • A contributing factor to recruiting and retaining top talent—worth a mention in your classified job ad
  • Your members see your credit union as top tier
  • National recognition of your employee, as winner or one of Top 15 and/or Final Five competitors
  • A great story to tell the board
  • A winning story to tell new recruits—look what can happen to you, too!
  • Your mentoring of employees has a direct ROI
  • Increases in member service scores, Net Promoter scores or other metrics that might be the focus of the nominee’s project
  • It’s scary to think about not having someone to nominate
  • Free leadership coaching for Top 15 and Final Five
  • The entire credit union employee and member groups vote for the nominee
  • And on and on

Let’s shift to the investment to nominate: ZERO. There is no dollar cost to nominate your employees. All it takes is a few moments to go to to submit a name for nomination.

Last year, it was so rewarding to see the delight of the Final Five, the support they extended to each other during the competition and how the Top 15 benefitted from the leadership coaching. It is an honor to be nominated and I hope you can take this step on behalf of your credit union. Call me on my direct line at 602-840-1053 if you want to talk more about reasons to nominate.


Your Gravitational Pull

Identifying and Nominating Talent

This blog post is part of the 2013 Next Top Credit Union Exec competition originally posted May 29, 2013.

Talent is the capacity for achievement and we all have it! How we use our talent is an individual choice, sometimes conscious or unconscious. I meet exciting people in credit unions who want to step out more in their potential and look for a foothold or launch pad to take more advantage of their talent to support teams and organizations. For some of us, it is easier to access our potential and for others, it is more difficult for a variety of reasons.

Here is what I say: nominate both for the CUES Next Top Credit Union Executive. The competition is ideal for those ready to showcase their developing vision and leadership skills and perfect for those who might find it more challenging to bring forward their ideas and innovations. Sometimes we need a presenting challenge or opportunity to step up our commitment of who we are becoming as a leader and we all need someone who believes in us.

Most credit unions, in my opinion, have at least one person who should be nominated for this competition. I suggest you look at your staff and indicate your commitment to their growth through a nomination. Last year, we heard from several competitors that it was a boost to their self-confidence to be nominated. They wanted to show up better at work, learn more, produce more, and be seen as a true leader. The mere act of nomination forwards the perception of the nominee’s self-confidence, sense of self, goal orientation, and personal effectiveness. And, there is no out-of pocket expense!

Credit unions are in a critical place in their history; emerging leaders need support and commitment of their CEOs and managers and this competition is pivotal in support. The learning experience for last year’s competitors was phenomenal. We heard reports about the uncovering of new ways to use talent, add value to the credit union, and develop skills that were under the radar. This is a win-win for your credit union and your leader!

So what are you waiting for? Nominate someone today!


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