Slow down for Success!

One of the fastest ways to ruin a presentation is to talk too fast.  (I guess you got that bit of humor)

You know the story.  Starting too fast while sharing your message and you can’t slow down.  You begin talking faster and faster.  You know you’re doing it but you are unable to slow down.  I’ve got a tip for that which I’ll share later, but first let’s stop the speed from picking up in the first place.

If you normally talk too fast, and you know who you are, practice by reading some material from a magazine, a book, newspaper, or Gary Montgomery’s blog.  When you see a period, stop.  When you see a comma, stop.  When you see a semi-colon, or colon, stop.  Stop for a count of five.  You probably thought “five seconds, that’s too long!”  I agree if you are reading to an audience but what you are doing is practicing and the best practice begins with exaggeration.  Stop so that you recognize you are stopping and stepping out of what you normally do and you recognize you are learning something new. 

To use an analogy from coaching kids in baseball and softball, I’ve had young players try to make the throw to first too fast.  After a great catch on the ground ball, she rushes the throw and the runner is safe at first.  We need to adjust thinking.  So I teach them to pat their glove three times after catching the ground ball and count each pat, out loud (it’s usually slower when you say it out loud.)  It gives her time to position her feet and see the target, the girl playing first base, before throwing.  No we aren’t going to normally do that in a game (although some have) but this is learning.  We need to exaggerate to learn.

Step number two is to start slow.  Not just start talking slow but make the mental approach to the stage or the lectern slow.  Think slow as you are introduced.  Walk slowly to the front of the room.  Speak slowly when you thank the person introducing you (be sure to get their name so you can share it.  People are listening.)

As you face your audience and start to speak;  wait.  It may feel a little uncomfortable but use your five second count again, (not out loud this time.) Look left, look right, smile, feel your feet grounded on the floor or stage.  Now you are ready to begin …s..l..o..w..l..y. Know what words you are going to use.  I’ve seen many start talking at this point and not know where they are going.  Know your open, your story, know what you are trying to accomplish in the open.  Your slow start and intentional pauses will put you at ease and your audience will be comfortable because you are comfortable.

And here’s the tip I promised in case it happens that you do begin talking too fast and feel you can’t slow down;  just stop.  Try to make it appear you are stopping on purpose.  Perhaps a drink if you have water nearby (if not you should).  Attempt to find a reason to pause in your presentation;  stop to draw attention to a particular word or point you are making.  Make the stop feel like a pause for effect.  But even if you are unable to have a reason to stop, just stop; smile and breathe.  It might look a little irregular but it is better than gasping for air and becoming anxious because you are going too fast and can’t slow down.

Bottom line: prepare.  Think slow, start slow, and get comfortable being with a group of people who need to hear your message.

A lot more great ideas at Gary’s presentation skills seminar coming up in Louisville, KY, September 17, 2015,  “Making Magic in the Front of the Room..”  For more information go to, or call Gary at 502.339.0040.

Givers and Takers

I am reading a book my son gave me recently.  It’s titled “Give and Take” about helping others as we travel the path to success.

If you’ve read any of my blogs, or my book “I CAN PLAY, A Philosophy for Life,” or if you have attended one of my presentations, you know I teach the “Giver” side of “Give and Take.”  Why?  It simply makes life better for you and all who surround you.

My definition of leadership is very simple.  Leadership comes alive when someone feels better about who they are because they were influenced by you!  Think about it.   Who from your past, or present, has influenced you to think better of yourself?  Perhaps it’s a fifth-grade teacher, or a band director, maybe a volleyball or football coach?  Of course there’s Mom and Dad.  They influenced you to think better of yourself from something they did or said.  Because of that positive influence,  you want more of them.  That’s the Gary Montgomery definition of leadership.

Let’s apply this approach to presentations to an audience from in front of the room.

I was a television sportscaster for over 30 years.  To be honest I did not understand this philosophy, or approach.  I thought I was special because I was the one on T.V.  I was the one people invited to speak to their audiences.  I was special because I was in the front of the room …or so I thought.  It took awhile but eventually I learned that I had it all wrong.  I was a Taker.

I needed to become a Giver.

Instead of saying “Here I Am!” when I showed up to give a presentations, I needed to learn to say, and think, “There You Are!”   It changed everything.  I made the audience more important in my life.  I was to serve them by giving them a message which could help them grow.

Today I work to carry that lesson to all parts of life.  With my grandchildren, my children, my wife, the 8th graders I teach on Sunday mornings, the kids I coach, and everyone else I connect with during the day.  I’ve got a long way to go, but I am working and improving on the “There You Are” philosophy.  It’s a giving philosophy.  It’s a listening, helping, growing, guiding philosophy.  And here comes the amazing part.  Once you and I help others realize how good they can be, they want more of us.  We help them feel good about themselves.

That’s Leadership … “There You Are!”

We’ll make the “There You Are!” philosophy come alive when you join me for the “Making Magic in the Front of the Room,” presentation seminar coming up September 17.  We’ll share great techniques on how to build your message, share your ideas, and feel comfortable during your presentation.   We will grow as ‘givers’ helping our audiences feel better about themselves as they learn from you.  A TAKE-away for you is you will grow in learning how to “Make Magic in the Front of the Room.”  Developing your leadership skills will occur as you improvce your presentation technique.

Go to to register for the presentation skills seminar.  Bring a friend or co-worker and register early!

Alway Learning

I learned a lot when I  watched the Republican candidates debate.  I learned  a few things about issues and politics but mostly I learned about communication.

I liked the energy most of the candidates showed up with.  You’ve read how important energy is in communication from previous posts.  Most candidates showed excitement.

What attracted my attention most in the debate was Donald Trump.  First let me get this out of the way.  I don’t agree with many of his comments.  Often he is somewhat disruptive, arrogant, and boisterous.  He makes some good points, but other comments he made need some fine tuning, or just left unsaid.

But what I want to point out is this:   He believes what he says and you know he believes it.  He is confident in his beliefs and he is comfortable in sharing what he knows to be true.

Following the debate I heard reporters talk about Trump’s performance.  Some agree with him, others are opposed.  But I’ve not heard anyone say, “Well, I’m not sure what he meant.”  He knows what he believes and he is not afraid to tell us what he believes.

I like the “know what you believe” approach to communication and to life.  In fact I like it so much I believe it, I teach it, and I work hard to live it.

I work with companies and organizations who want to improve their teams and their managers.  I teach communication and leadership.  The first thing I teach is to know what you believe.  I am going to share some questions I have shared in past blogs, questions you ask yourself in order to know what you believe.  These beliefs become your compass.  They direct you in life.

Here we go with the questions:

Who am I?  What do I believe?  What are my values?  What are my talents?  What am I doing with my talents?  What are my goals?  What holds me back?

Good questions that become difficult questions once we focus and work to answer them.  Try it.  Answer them, write down your responses, and life will get easier because you know who you are, you decide where you are going (based on values, talents and goals) and you know how you will get there once you get whatever it is that holds you back out of the way.

Simple questions, difficult answers.  However your life will get easier once you identify the answers.

This questioning process is what I present early in teaching leadership and communication.  The key ingredients of a successful presentation is knowledge, confidence, and an effective process to deliver the message (communication.process).

The speaker has, or can get, the knowledge to share. I can teach an effective communication process but the confidence and trust needs to be part of the presenter.   But don’t worry, like communication skills, the path to confidence can be learned, earned and internalized.

And the wonderful by-product of confidence and self-belief is when someone asks you a question you don’t have to try and come up with a new idea, or one that they will like.  You very simply share what you know to be true, your beliefs.  It makes life so much easier and it makes communication easier.  You share the truth as you know it.  Just share who you are and what you believe.  It’s your message!

As we grow as communicators, or presenters, we learn to become comfortable in sharing.  That comfort shows up in front of our children, our co-workers, or the audience of one-hundred you are addressing because you know what you believe.  Your beliefs of course will influence  your message, but that’s OK because you are confident of your message, you’ve worked on it.  You spent time with the questions.

I’ll help you learn how to present it, but the hard part is over. You know what you believe.  You know your message.

Join me September 17, 2015 to grow as a communicator and leader and to deeper your self-trust and confidence.  Learn more about the seminar “Making Magic in the Front of the Room” by going to  The room will be full of energy and people just like you, investing in themselves as communicators and leaders.


I can’t help it!  I get excited when I have the opportunity to help someone grow.   Even when I can’t understand them fully.

Working with eighth graders in religious education, teaching ten-year old to catch a  baseball, or working with adults on how to  make a presentation in front of the room, it’s exciting to see someone grow!  And the excitement is often contagious.  Once someone steps into the the energy zone they become more spirited and energetic.

I attended a retreat recently and I did not understand a word that was said.  The retreat was presented by a native of India and he spoke in his native tongue.  He and I have been working together to improve his use of the English language.  He is doing great but  I thought it would be a benefit for me to see him in his comfort zone, speaking his language, and seeing how he uses his body mechanics and the atmosphere he creates while in his comfort zone.

While I did not understand the native Indian language I learned a lot about his communication style and techniques.  When he spoke in his native tongue he was more energized and animated than when he speaks in English.  Of course, he was more comfortable.

That taught me about comfort. It is a strong message for all of us.  Get comfortable in what you say and how you say it.  Believe it!  Believe that it will  help others!  Believe that what you say has value!  Believe that it is worth hearing by others.  Believe that it will help someone, somehow, someway!  When you know your message has value you will share it more readily and with more confidence.  You will work harder to be sure the audience understand exactly what you mean and what you feel about the message.  The words are coming alive and being influenced by your actions.

I am going to work with my friend to get comfortable in a new language and I want him to understand that his message, although it might be a little difficult to comprehend because of the challenge of a new language, nonetheless it needs to be delivered with the energy that lives inside him.  Let it out!  That is part of who he is and how he presents.  Go past the doubt that the different language presents.  Share the energy, the audience will get the meaning even thought they might not comprehend each syllable.   They will piece it together, the words and the action, the smile and facial expression , and they will receive the intended message.

September 17, you are invited to grow your presentation skills.  You will learn how to boost the energy level when you communicate, to a large audience, or to an audience of one.  Even if it’s to your spouse, daughter, son, or co-worker, the energy you bring creates the atmosphere of the message.  When we speak, our purpose is to be understood.  We want that atmosphere to help the meaning of the presentation come alive!  The “Making Magic in Front of the Room” seminar will help you grow as a presenter and a communicator!

Go to to learn more about the seminar and to be sure to reserve your seat.

Look forward to seeing you, and seeing your excitement September 17, 2015  at Indiana Wesleyan – 1500 Alliant Avenue, Louisville- 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM.

When you register for the seminar you can also sign to make a five-minute presentation and have it critiqued during the seminar.  It’s a great way to learn for the presenter and those in the audience.

To register go to:



Grow as a Communicator & Leader

I help people understand they can be better than they think they can be.  It’s really simple.  It’s the I CAN PLAY formula.  Change you VISION to look past the obstacles in front of you.  Start living in a POSITIVE ATMOSPHERE, start saying yes and quit doubting yourself, and try new things, RISK, stretch yourself to think, learn and live differently.  If you need help, guidance, a coach, go get the help, guidance, or coach.  The help is out there.

I often work with individuals who are challenged about public speaking.  They say they can’t get in front of people and give a presentation.  It holds them back in the work place and in other areas of life.  Strength as a communicator will help in all areas of life and strong communicators displays a confidence that carries over  all area of leadership in career and throughout all walks of life.

I was a television sportscaster for over thirty years.  I used to believe that I became a sportscaster because of my knowledge of sports.  Today I know different.  I did what I loved for thirty years in a career as a sportscaster because of my ability as a communicator.  Of course I had a knowledge of sports, and was confidence in my self, but it was the ability to communicate and make the audience comfortable that allowed me the joy of spending my life a career that I loved.  And the fact that I was confident as a communicator helped in all parts of my life.  That confidence carried over to help me pursue other risks.  Risks that paid dividends for my wife Judy, my children and grand children.  Communication, in front of a large audience, a business gathering, or in front of your wife and children, is one of the keys to peace of mind, comfort and success.

So what does it take to grow as a communicator?  Is it a God-given gift, or can it be taught.  I am a prime example that it can be taught and I will share the keys to growing as a communicator at my Seminar coming up September 17, 2015.  I invite you to explore the possibilities at my website, You will grow as a communicator and  grow in confidence of what you can achieve in all areas of life.  Email me if you have questions.

Step up to grow yourself!   Go to and call, mail, or use Paypal to register.
Some of the components of the the seminar are:

  • How to prepare for a presentation.
  • How to build a speech.
  • How to overcome stage fright.
  • How to open a presentation.
  • How to make the presentation your own sharing your message throughout.
  • Front of the room techniques.
  • Incorporate stories.
  • How to be comfortable, professional and engage the audience.
  • How to move the audience to action.
  • How to close and leave impact on the audience.







The Juice

There’s a guy in the gym, nice guy, but he keeps to himself.  At least he did not talk with me.  He trains people and he keeps an intense look on his face.  Better do what he says!

One day a young lady was next to me on the treadmills.  She shouted down to the ‘intense’ trainer on the workout fl0or below.  “Is that a new shirt?”  She got an intense head nod in the affirmative.  ” I like it!” she shouted above the noise of the TV.  Mr. Intense smiled.  He smiled at her!  Didn’t know he could do that.  So I yelled out “I like it too!”  It was a nice purple.  He looked at me like he wanted to take my head off.  No smile.  Intense!

A couple of days later I was in one of the workout rooms talking to a friend.  Mr. Intense stepped into the large room and asked if he and his client could use some equipment in the room.  When he came in I said “Mr. Intense”, (not his real name), “the other day a pretty young lady said she liked your new shirt.  You smiled at her.  I said I also liked the shirt and you looked upset that I talked to you.  What’s up?”

Mr. Intense smiled.  Second time I’ve see that.  Looked good!  But no verbal response.

In future encounters Mr. Intense and I would pass each other and say hello.  It escalated to “How’s it going today?”  Then we moved to sentences and paragraphs.  Truth be told, I enjoyed Mr. Intense quite a bit.  So then I asked him.  Why the intense look all the time?  “It’s the persona,” he said.  “I want people to know I’m serious.”

Mr. Intense was a college football player.  He was a talented defensive end and there is no doubt in my mind that it was serious business when he mixed it up on the football field.  Intense.  But he didn’t  have to frown for someone to understand he was serious.  He just knocked them on their butt!  He got results!

With that understanding as a guideline I attempted an analogy between what he did and what he is doing.

” Mr. Intense, the gym is not the football field and you don’t have to frown for someone to understand you mean business in helping them develop their body.  Just share your skills with them, give them value and make them better.  Get the results!”  He was still looking pretty serious. “And you can smile while you do it.  In fact they might like you more and that would make it easier for them to follow your intense workout.  Encourage them with positive reinforcement and work in a smile and a ‘way to go!’ now and then.”

He didn’t hit me after I called him out.  Instead he sat back and looked at me like he was thinking about what I shared.  That’s what great players do.  They listen to the coach and then figure out how they are going to incorporate this new information into a game plan and then results.  Mr. Intense is a smart guy.

The next time we were in the gym together Mr. Intense walked up and said “Hey you got it!”

“Got what ?” I asked.  “You got the juice, ” he said.

“The juice?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said.  “You got the energy … the excitement.”  He smiled.

Mr. Intense knows what he’s doing making people better in the gym.  And now he’s sharing the energy, excitement, and the smile to add even more value to the value he brings.  He’s bringing the Juice!  And when you bring the Juice, it’s easier to get to the results!  It becomes your persona… it becomes who you are, and clients, and everyone else, will listen and respond to your suggestions when you add a little juice along with the instruction.



Speak Up!

            Let’s call him Bill.  He was up in years. Retired, he was a person who people catered to but now he was soliciting help in his many service projects.  He wanted them to listen to him.  But he mumbled, and spoke softly.  In the past Bill got away with the mumbling because he was the boss.  They had to listen.  Now he wanted others to listen but there was no requirement.  Bill asked me to help him with his communication skills.

            I had him stand deep in the corner of the room and I stood in the opposite corner and told him to talk to me.  He said I won’t be able to hear him.  I asked ”So what will you need to do?”

            Bill replied, “I’ll have to yell for you to hear me.” 

            “So yell,” I said. 

            Folks, we were making progress.  Bill vocalized what he needed to do.  Next was doing what was needed to do.

            Bill started to speak up, but it wasn’t loud enough.

            “Louder,” I encouraged.

            He spoke louder, but not loud enough.  What I wanted him to do was shout.  Go past what he needed.  Bill needed to understand what the extreme was, way past what he needed to do.

            “How about this?  Can you hear me now?” He proclaimed.

            “Louder,” I shouted at him.

            “How about this?  I am screaming at the top of my lungs!”

            “You’re getting closer,” I smiled because he was getting closer, “Just a little louder.”

            I wanted Bill to experience the extreme, what it felt like to be extremely loud.

            In addition to increasing volume some other things were happening.  Bill’s posture improved.  By trying to project his head was up, shoulders back.  He stood taller and he was leaning forward.  These are positive communication techniques, which are immediately improved by attempting to project, which Bill identified as getting louder.  But in addition to louder, Bill was using better communication techniques and his pace improved.  He was speaking slowly and separating his words. He was bringing energy!

            Although we did not talk about it, the mumbling, throwing words together, went away because of the better techniques Bill was using as he spoke louder.

            A key for Bill is to speak up.  We started to use the ‘yelling’ practice to identify the skills needed to make Bill think louder, so that he would speak louder!

            Not long after we started working together I was at a function with Bill and his family, which included grandchildren.  His grandson told me how, for the first time, he was able to understand his grandfather when they visited.  He said he talks louder and slower. 

            Bill was building for a speaking event.  He had donated to a project with a Church organization and was being honored.  Some heavyweights were there, the mayor, Archbishop, politicians, and many other distinguished guests.  Bill gave his speech.  He did a great job.  He slowed down, enunciated, used great communication posture, head up, and shoulders back.  He was great!

            Bill called the other day.  Said he spoke at a rotary.  Members of the audience said they couldn’t hear him.  I asked, “Did you project?”  He said he forgot.  Communication is something we need to practice all day, every day 24-7.  We need to make great communication part of who we are, not what we do.  Otherwise we forget.  That’s just the ways it is.  Speak up! 

Thoughts on Trust

I was working with my eight grade Sunday School class.   We have stepped into trust.  That’s a big step.

They believe what they can see and they are challenged to trust what they can not see or touch.   They are asked to have faith.  But then that’s the  reason we gather each Sunday.  It’s all about faith.   We are discussing faith in God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.   It would be so much easier if we could just show up with something they can touch or hold or examine with their hands.  It’s not that easy and that is why it’s called FAITH … or trust.

What we are called to do as individuals of Faith is to trust in something we cannot see or touch  but only understand through experience.  And then we are called to share that experienced faith so that others will see it acted out and begin to believe.

A church asked me to speak at their services.  A witness talk about stewardship.  Stewardship is about giving but first it’s about a relationship.    A relationship based on faith lived out in experiences.  The only way I know to witness my faith is to share the experiences that made the faith I have grow.

When I have presented witness talks in the past I am deeply concerned that me talking about me (my experiences) will turn people off.  “He’s just talking about himself,” I imagine the individuals in the pews will say.  They are right.  I am talking about my stories and the people in my life.  That’s how my faith is played out … in real life … my real life experience and actions while living life!

Once I start thinking this way I realize what I need.  I need trust!  Trust in God and trust in me.  Only when I share my story and my experiences will God come alive in my life.  I need to have Faith.  The very same Faith, and trust, that I am trying to get my 8th grade Sunday School class to understand.  Here’s what I have come up with.  Faith and Trust must be lived to be understood.  We experience these qualities, we don’t necessarily explain them.  That’s why they are difficult to explain.  They have to be experienced;  experienced  in challenges, in trials, in doubts, in success, in joy, in hope and in love.  Wait a minute how do you explain hope and love?

Something else you have to experience … but that’s another subject for another class.

Simple Communication

Spent a full day with teachers working on the I CAN PLAY attitude, Teamership, Leadership, and Influence.  I have decided it all comes down to communication.  Not just talking but the total communication process.

There are 3 keys to communication – Engage, get their attention – Influence, share the important facts – Add Value, help them understand the benefit to them.

Now that sounds simple.  You might say communication is just talking, often about things that are not terribly important and that others do not want to hear.  Exactly, so let’s adjust our thinking and make communication exciting.  Become intentional in your communication, specifically the conversations you share with others.  It might be difficult to totally transform so pick your spots.

Perhaps  try it with your husband, wife, son or daughter.  Or someone you work with.  Here’s the routine.  Engage someone by making sure you have their attention.  How?  On the television screen I used to say this simple phrase ..”WATCH THIS!” and then pause.  It’s attention getting.  The words attract attention but the pause, the silence, it captures them.  It’s engaging.

Once engage, you have their attention, tell them the important information that they need to know and why they need to know it.  Be specific and to the point, brief, in your sharing.  Add energy and excitement.  Influence them with the information and the process of receiving the information.  Become an expert for the moment,  passing along the information in a way that they enjoy listening.

You might think that what you have to share is not important.  Then I suggest you just keep quite until you have something to say.  Or perhaps go discover some new excitement in your life or ways to help others understand they can be better than they think they can be!

Finally, let them know how the information can benefit them.  Add value to their lives!   Display how listening to you can help them grow, understand, learn, and be better than they were before they encountered you.  Make it an enjoyable experience listening to you.  Be sure that what you say, and how you say it, adds values to them.

You might say ….”All I want to do is share some information with them.  Gary, you’re trying to make it some grand event.”

That’s exactly what I am trying to do.  And so can you.  Try it!  It will help in your leadership development.

What to bring for the presentation!

Shared the I CAN PLAY message with Breckenridge County football team and their boosters Saturday night.  The formula is Vision, Positive Atmosphere and Risk.  Put them together and you get strong in your self-belief and that belief is the first step to success.

Something else happens when you begin to live the I CAN PLAY attitude.  The energy level increases … and then excitement shows up and enthusiasm catches on.

Here’s how it happens, I bet you will agree.  When we bring energy with us it causes us, and others, to get excited.  It just happens.  Bring energy to a meeting, to a family reunion, to a football practice, to a classroom, to a one-on-one conversation, it bring the level of activity up.  That activity promotes excitement.  People begin to think of the possibilities, the opportunities.  That lends itself to creating enthusiasm.  Individuals step up, open up to new ideas.  They share their beliefs, see possibilities, individuals focus on the goal and formulate the path to success.

Sounds exciting doesn’t it!  It is what happens when we bring energy to the conversation, the presentation, the game, the relationship, the new directive.    Every time?  Perhaps.  Give it a try.  Make the energy rise when you show up.  Think YES and say YES.  Positive people see success negative people see obstacles.

I started the Breckenridge County presentation with a story of coaching 7 year olds and teaching them how to hit the ball.  I suggested to the kids parents they create games in the backyard using a broomstick and plastic balls the size of a golf ball.  Create some fun in the back yard while teaching them to hit.  The kids learn  eye hand coordination and the parents are building a relationship!  It also creates energy that helps a coach build a baseball team.  If they can hit a plastic ball the size of a golf ball they can hit a baseball with a bat!

But the energy is the most important creation.  You can build excitment and enthusiasm off the energy … and the three e’s go a long way in building a team, a relationship and a life.

As I told the story at Breck County I was hitting plastic golf balls with a broom stick.  The balls were flying in the air over and into the audience.  It’s all about energy.  The same energy they want to create for the football team and the boosters.

Bring energy to everything you do and all your presentations … in front of an audience of 50 or an audience of one.  Energy creates excitement.  Excitement gets people listening.