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Story Power Marketing Show with Special Guest Fred Miller

Tom Ruwitch is the ultimate host and consummate interviewer. I always learn from him! Check out his site, Story Power Marketing and learn how to fire up prospects and inspire them to hire you with story-powered content that’s simple to create.



This is the Story Power Marketing Show with Tom Ruwitch.

Make yourself comfortable and fasten your seatbelt. Tom and his guest are about to share powerful stories, trade, business, building insights, and have a few laughs.

Tom created this podcast to help you captivate prospects and inspire them to act so you can get more clients quickly and easily. That’s what powerful storytelling is all about. That’s what this podcast is all about.

So let’s get this party started. Here’s your host, Tom Ruwitch.

TOM Hello and welcome to the Story Power Marketing Show. I’m Tom Ruwitch, and today’s episode is called How to Transform Your Public Speaking From No Can-Do To No Sweat. My guest today is, Fred Miller.

Fred is the author of three books, no Sweat Public Speaking, No Sweat Elevator Speech, and No Sweat. The Fear of Public Speaking. Each has earned rave reviews on Amazon, including reviews from me. Fred is an internationally recognized public speaking expert, a TEDx talk coach, and a podcaster. Businesses, individuals and organizations hire him because they want to improve their networking, their public speaking and their presentation skills. They do it because they know that speaking opportunities are business, career, and leadership opportunities.

Fred Miller, welcome to the Story Power Marketing Show.

FRED Well, thanks for having me, Thomas. It’s a privilege to be your guest.

TOM Yeah. You know, we go back a long way. I don’t even remember how many years it’s been. We’re both in St. Louis, Missouri. I knew you long before you leaned into this public speaking thing,

But tell us a little bit about how you came to this game, this realization that speaking opportunities or business, career leadership opportunities.

FRED Well, I would watch people present and you realize that we like to work with experts. If you are perceived as an expert, they work with you.

Same reason you wanna write a book. And, and by the way, just as a sidebar, always write your own introduction and include in it, if you don’t have a book, and I appreciate you mentioning mine, The title of his upcoming book is . . . . . Because we perceive writers and speakers as experts. We like to work with experts. They command more money for their products and services.

And I used to go see Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and speakers like that. Just think, man, that is, that’s awesome! And you saw the power people have also on the other side. You would see people who were very, very bright, but they couldn’t communicate. And it hurt their career. And it just, one thing led to another. I was in Toastmasters for years and got out of a couple businesses that just seemed like the right time to pursue my passion. And and you’ve done some of the same things, Tom.

TOM Yeah. Yeah. And so for those people who can’t communicate, who are, who are struggling with it, who find it to be a scary thing, who are sweating it, um, what are, what are some of the, what are some of the reasons that they’re struggling? What are some of the biggest mistakes that you see with people when they are getting up there in front of a crowd?

FRED Well, first of all, it’s natural because most of our conversations are one-on-one like this. Then, you’re on the phone or a phone, I should say. We don’t see the people. And more and more people are texting or emailing. You don’t see or hear them. And you get up in front of a group like, whoa, whoa, that’s, that’s a little different. That’s uncomfortable.

But the thing is that we can learn to do this. And the analogy I like to give, it’s, it’s a story to your expertise.

“I got a call years ago from an OBGYN, She was moving from New York to St. Louis, going be affiliated with one of the big hospitals.

Terrible fear of public speaking. I could hear it in her voice. And she told me, and she said, “This is very, very important to me. I’m going be teaching a class. I’m going be presenting to colleagues. Can you help me?”

I said, “I don’t know, doctor, can I ask you a few questions?

She said, sure. I said, “You’re an OBGYN, that means you deliver baby boys and baby girls, correct”

She goes, “Yes.”

I said, “Well, have you ever delivered a baby public speaker?”

And she kind of chuckled, said, no, no, I haven’t, Fred. I said,

let me ask you another question. You’re a doctor, you’re an adult.

You’ve dealt with death. It’s part of life.

Do you know anyone who’s passed away giving a presentation?

And she kind of chuckled again and said, “No, I don’t.”

I said, “Doctor, you just proved my point. There’s not a public speaking gene that we’re either born or not born with.  It’s a relatively safe activity to engage in. So somewhere between birth and death, it’s a skill we can learn.

You weren’t born knowing how to drive a car, ride a bike. You went to medical school, doctor. You’ve done tougher things.”

So the short answer is we can learn these skills. And it’s worth doing. It. It’s a price –  benefit and the price of going through and toughing it out and

sweating and being a little bit scared –  It’s worth it because it can change your life, career, business!

TOM So how do you turn the sweaty, frightened public speaker into the no sweat public speaker?

What are some of, some of your best tips? I don’t wanna give away the whole book, but I want to prove to the people listening that they need to go out and get those books.

FRED Well, they do. A silver nugget is Practice – Practice – Practice.

And the golden nugget is Speak – Speak – Speak.

The learning is in the doing.

Now, if you want to take it to another level, and this is what they tell doctors when they first enter medical school is, “See one, do one, teach one.” So if you can teach it as you’re teaching storytelling, you become much, much better at it.

Let me give you my best tip for practicing like we’re doing here – Video.

Video yourself. And, and I got mine set up so you can see my gestures, because that’s part of giving a good presentation. Nonverbal communication surpasses verbal, but video yourself, giving a presentation and then play it back.

The first time you play it back, turn the sound off. Just watch. Are you doing things that are distracting, that really aren’t congruent with what you’re talking about?

Second time, turn the screen around and just listen. How is your enunciation and pronunciation? How is your pacing? Are you speaking too quickly or too slowly? Are you pausing all the other verbal communication? Listen to that.

Third time, watch it: video and audio. You’ll see what the audience sees and hears.

And the fourth time, watch it with a trusted coach. And don’t just say, “Give me some feedback.” Say, “I want to know two things I’m really doing well, and three opportunities for improvement. Because if they just say, “Hey, Tom, that was dynamite, man, I can’t wait to hear you speak again!” Well, you love that warm fuzzy, but that doesn’t really help you.

And then go up to as many audiences as possible, different audiences.

I remember in Toastmaster, one of our best speakers got too comfortable in front of our club.  He lost his mojo.

And then when you go out to a speaking gig and it’s a different crowd, like, whoa, whoa. I don’t know, you guys.

TOM What I love, lots of love tricks.

What I love about that advice, Fred, is you started with two, you know, basic ideas; practice, practice, practice, and do it. Get out there.

I I probably just misstated the first two things that you said, but the cynic and the person who’s not taking this presentation seriously might say, “Well, of course, duh.”

But then you gave us a really good framework for how to go about doing it. And at the heart of the advice that you just gave us is the understanding that without much training, without any training, we know what a good speaker looks like.

FRED So, watch yourself with the sound off and you’ll see, you’ll know, oh, shouldn’t have done that. You’ll know my manner was good. My manner was off with, without a lick of training.

Just practice with the sound up. And then the same thing.

Turn the screen around. Listen, you know, when it’s good, you know, when it’s not good.

If you have filler words, uh, or the like, and, and you’re a sports guy, Tom, so you can relate this to sports. Most professional athletes spend an infants amount of time actually playing their game. Most of it is working out practicing.  That’s what you do.

In, Ted talks, we coach people that they should practice one hour of practice for every minute of presentation.  And  the sports guys know that I’m correct. I mean, take a quarterback, take take any professional athlete.Very well,  especially a runner. I mean, they’re out there for, what?

Why would you think you can get up in front of a crowd, where possibly your job depends upon it, and just wing it? You can’t, he can’t do that.

TOM And the other thing, to extend the sports metaphor is that when they are actually on the playing field or on the court, the vast majority of time spent is remaining calm mindset, keeping focused, setting aside the noise in your head. And there’s a great book, ‘The Power of Full Engagement,’ I think it’s called. I’ll mention it in the show notes. They talked about the tennis player, Yvonne Lendell, and how between points, he was a machine. He played in the eighties, into the nineties. I think he was a machine. And he had the exact same routine between each point before each serve bouncing the ball. He would get the ball from the ball boy and return the ball no matter what condition it was in.

He would wipe his head the same way after each point.

He would bounce the ball the same number of times.

And it was all part of the machinery of, alright, I’m clearing my head. I’m envisioning, I’m focusing. A

And I know that mindset and, and, confidence and focus is also a big part of what you preach and what you teach, Fred.

FRED Well, you just made me think of, and this is what stories do. We go into the hard draft of our brain and pull out another story.

That made me think about first responders. That’s why they’re always, always practicing. Who would run into a building full of flames? If you’ve really thought about it, who rushes into a building with a gunman who’s got a AR 15 knowing that he is killing people. I mean, you just get to react and do it. You can’t think about it. And that’s why all that practicing pays off for first responders. That’s why they do what they do. Same analogy, right?

TOM Yeah, exactly.

So, so let’s talk for a moment about the elevator speech. So many of us are not working in the office building anymore. A lot of work from home, a lot of remote work. So maybe people have forgotten the notion of an elevator speech. You’re in the elevator, you’re meeting somebody that you want to tell about your business, make that initial please to meet you speech. You only have from the first floor to the fourth floor. How are you gonna make the maximum impact?

And so, call it an elevator speech. Call it your introductory presentation.Whatever it may be. It’s that short public presentation.

And what are the things that people need to know to get the elevator speech just right?

FRED Thanks for asking.

Clear, concise, and consistent.

Because your goals are this, you want them to know exactly what you do.

So you can do one of two things. I know what you do, Tom. I don’t need it right now. But if ever need in the future, you’re the guy. Sounds like you’re, you’re an expert. My radar is now up and if I ever hear somebody says, “I gotta tell some stories. I’ve got to really firm up my marketing and stories are the way to go. You know, anybody who does that?”

You want to be referred and you want to be hired and you wanna make it clear, concise, and consistent.

Too many elevator speeches, and I’ve had ’em that are far too long.  And you want people to know exactly what you do.

Now, here’s the test for an elevator speech. I give you my elevator speech. If you can give it to somebody who didn’t hear it and they know what I do, that’s a winner.

But you also wanna do a little bit different. So my Twitter type, to your point of being clear, concise, and consistent, “I’m Fred Miller. I speak coach and write about networking, public speaking and presentation skills.”

You want to make it real, real simple. Simple words, simple language. You don’t impress people with words they don’t know. Just like telling stories, right.  You make them feel stupid. And if I feel stupid, I’m not gonna work with you. I’m not gonna refer you.

But you could do be a little, little bit different.

So you might ask me, when we’re in a line, and you say, “I’m Tom, I do storytelling. I help people with that. What do you do?”

And instead of just giving you the Twitter type I just gave you, I could say, “Well, thanks for asking Tom. I’m going to answer your question by asking you one. Have you ever been to an event and you’re watching and listening to the speaker and you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Well that guy’s good. I mean, he is really good. He’s consistent, he’s authoritative. He has a passion for what he is doing. Man,I wish I could do that. I’m the guy they hire to develop, practice and deliver presentations like that.  You probably don’t know anyone who needs to improve their public speaking and presentation skills, right?”

That’s a little bit of a pattern interrupt and not what they were expecting.

TOM I love that.

FRED You don’t know anybody has any good stories, do you?

TOM I love it.

FRED Or you, to your case, you don’t have a story, do you?

Everyone’s got a story, don’t they, Tom?

TOM Exactly. And you could turn it the other way around also. It could be, have you been you ever been sitting in the audience where the guys on stage, the speakers on stage, are just sweating and fumbling and the audience is fidgeting and it’s just a total mess? Well, I’m the guy who prevents that from happening.

FRED Oh, I like that. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, absolutely!

And it’s a little bit different than what they’re expecting. You’re really expecting your name company, blah, blah, blah. And, again, you gotta keep it short.

So the rule of three is magical. One for emphasis, zoom is dynamite.

Two for comparison, up, down, fast, slow. Mm-hmm.

Three for completeness. I’ll give some examples.

Four or more for a list. Shopping list or to-do list.

So I speak, coach, and write about networking, public speaking and presentation skills.

If you want your audience to get it, you need to educate, entertain, and explain.

Because too many people, you’ve heard them, “What do you do?”

And they go on and on. You’re thinking, gosh, I guess I’ll rotate my tires, change my oil, wash my windows.

I don’t think I wanna hire them.

TOM Yeah, exactly.

So you mentioned a moment ago, zoom, and I know, because we’ve spent time together online and, and chatted on Zoom.

You have really embraced it. You’ve really figured out how to show up online effectively.

You look great right now. You’re well lit.

I know you have a lot of magic that you could do with your backgrounds if you wanted to do it.

Talk to us a little bit about the differences between showing up on Zoom versus, well, in person. The differences and similarities really between showing up on Zoom and showing up on a stage in front of a hundred people or a thousand people.

FRED Well, Zoom might be tougher because you don’t know what these people are doing.

A lot of times you get all these cameras and you tell them to blank their cameras becausev you don’t want everyone looking at everyone else. But they may be playing games, they may be eating.

But a couple things are important.

My background is not distracting. Too many people have too many things in their background. Inappropriate doesn’t even begin to explain what some of those things are.

And we can’t multitask because I’m looking at the person, you got another screen back there and what’s in that cabinet? And I, I think I see some books of mine. No, that’s distracting.

Big, big thing. We cannot multitask.

And the best example I like to give, if you’re watching any cable news show and that ticker tape, you’ve seen it, Tom, comes across the bottom of the screen. If you’re reading that ticker tape, you have no idea what they’re talking about.

And to prove that, when the commercial comes on, the ticker tape is gone. Advertisers would never waste their money like that.

So you won’t get away with distractions. Plain black shirt, you know, no distractions, no bling. I don’t have any necklaces or jewelry or anything.You want people concentrating on you.

You mentioned lighting.  I’ve got lighting here, here overhead.

Because non-verbal communication surpasses verbal, people believe what they see.  If they’re not in sync, they believe what they see. And the example there, I like to give the story to your point, when Obama, one of the best presenters there is debated Romney, for the first time in a presidential debate. He lost because his body language showed that he didn’t even wanna be there. He seemed aloof, disengaged, and he lost because of his body language.

So yeah, you gotta be careful. But zoom, if used with the right software, can make a big, big difference.

TOM Yeah.

Do you have any of those buttons handy for?

FRED Do I have any of those buttons handy? But let’s, oh, let’s see.

What can we do here?

TOM Show us the cluttered room. I love that.

FRED Oh, oh, okay. You remember? Okay. Yeah.L et me see what I’ve got here. Uh, I got one like, that’s, see, that’s really distracting.

And here I am up in heaven. I’m sorry, Tom, I I don’t see your name here. Well, you’re a young guy.

Whoa! Wait a minute there. Got a couple of markers for you here, Tom.

Let’s see, clutter, uh oh. This is a mess. Oh, here we are. You remember my garage?  It’s so embarrassing.

But people will go on a zoom call with a background like this.  Like really, really?

But sometimes  if I was gonna talk about elevator speeches, this would be kind of appropriate.

TOM Right.

But most elevator speeches, you’re kind of look. Oh

Yeah. So, uh, yeah, there it is. So, a couple of, a couple of notes about that in all seriousness. Okay.

So number one you’re able to pull off what you just did because we talked about it before.

You have great lighting, you have a great setup, you have a good green screen behind you and you could pull it off.

I was in a meeting earlier today with a woman who had the green screen thing going. She had a background behind her, but I don’t think she couldn’t possibly have actually had a green screen.

Cause you know, we’ve all been there. Right.

They move their arms and their arm disappears.

FRED Yeah. And  wear a yellow shirt and you disappear.

TOM Exactly. And, and so you really have to be conscious of the technology and the tools that you’re using.

And the other thing I wanted to take from what you just did is, humor. Every time I see you speak, you make me smile. You make me laugh. You’re delivering serious and important lessons, but you’re doing it.

This goes straight to the stuff that I talk about also. You’re doing it in an entertaining way.

Information alone is not enough.

FRED That’s right. Educate, entertain, and explain.

We like to be entertained. If I’m entertaining you, I have your attention. If I have your attention, that increases the odds. You get it.

And getting it is the goal of all communication.  Verbal, written, or visual.  Because if you don’t get it, even if you don’t agree, that’s fine. But you gotta get it otherwise we can’t have a conversation going forward.

You deal with that all the time. But, and I appreciate your kind words, but this, this is not my first setup. We’ve been doing it as you know, we had to cut an interview short. because I had some bad connection with my microphone.

I’m actually using my iPhone as my camera and there’s an app for that which makes a big, big difference.

And then some other software. But some of that stuff is worth the investment.

TOM Yeah. Exactly.

I can’t tell you how often I get onto a zoom call with somebody and somebody says, wow, what kind of camera are you using?

FRED Well, you’ve got nice cameras. I know.

TOM And it matters. It extends your credibility. People know that you’re a serious person. It really matters.

And I don’t wanna just I don’t wanna suggest that if your background stinks and if you’re breaking some of these rules that Fred’s describing, that you’re, you know, all of a sudden your credibility is down the toilet.

The person I was talking to earlier was a really credible professional. But she was undermining that credibility by looking kind of like a clown with her disappearing arms in the whole bit.

FRED So it’s little bitty things that make a big difference in telling stories and in presenting.

Write your own introduction. I didn’t write mine for you because you’re a master of that. That’s what you do.

But too many times they’re going to grab your bio and quite frankly, nobody cares that I went to City, I went to Mizzou, and I got two kids and four grandkids, and now I’m gonna talk about public speaking. It’s got nothing to do with it.

Always write your own introduction because that is a speaking opportunity for the person introducing you. And many times they don’t even wanna do it, but if you can make them a hero – Wow.  Makes a big difference.

FRED Sure. Exactly.

TOM Yeah. So Fred, where can people find all this great No Sweat Public Speaking stuff that we talked about. The books.

FRED Thanks! I’ve got a website, Got lots of articles on there, lots of, podcasts, you know, took that from you. And, also you can get books. I’ve got ’em on Amazon.

And I’m available for, coaching and giving presentations.

It can be a game changer. I mean, this is how you built some of your business, Tom. You’ve been speaking a long time. It builds your credibility.

This is building your credibility.

TOM Yeah. Exactly. Any parting thoughts, Fred?

FRED We, we go back a long, long ways. I mean, both our hair was black, you know I didn’t have a beard at the time.

It makes a big, big difference, uh, how you present yourself. And it can change the world.

You know zoom’s change the world and do those little things and make a difference.

Have a good camera, have a good microphone. You taught me that. I trade in my other one.

And  do those other little things and your presentations will be – NO SWEAT!

TOM Beautiful. Fred, always a great pleasure to hang out with you.

Please go check out

Go to Amazon, buy these books, learn everything you can from Fred. He’s loaded with wisdom and experience about this stuff.

And it will make you a better public speaker, more business opportunities, more credibility, all that good stuff that comes with showing up with authenticity, with authority on stage.

So Fred Miller, thank you so much for being here.

FRED Thank you. Good to see you again, my friend.

TOM And we’ll see you again down the road.

Thank you.

Thanks for listening to the Story Power Marketing Show with Tom Ruwitch.

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Three Simple Ways to Improve Your Presentations.

About the Author Fred E. Miller is a speaker, an international coach, and the author of the books, “NO SWEAT Public Speaking!” and “NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!”

Businesses, Individuals, and Organizations hire him because they want to improve their Networking, Public Speaking, and Presentation Skills.

They do this because they know: Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

Businesses, Individuals, and Organizations hire him because they want to improve their Networking, Public Speaking, and Presentation Skills.

They do this because they know: Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

They also know: We perceive really great speakers to be Experts. We like to work with Experts.

He shows them how to: Develop, Practice, and Deliver Fantastic Presentations! with – NO SWEAT!



  1. Lessening The Fear of Public Speaking with – NO SWEAT!

  2. Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

  3. We are All Self-Employed!

Subscribe to my YouTube ChannelPodcast Channel, and connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook.

My books can be purchased on NO SWEAT Public Speaking” NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!”

Audible offers NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!” as an audio book.

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions about this post or other posts please contact me:

Thank  you for your continued support. It is greatly appreciated!

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