Robyn Hatcher - Communication expert, international keynote speaker, coach, author, and consultant.
How to own your brilliance. Excavate. Communicate. Radiate.
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PTH Episode 87 Robyn Hatcher
[00:00:00] I was born into an extremely ex extroverted family, so it could have been reactive, you know, it's like everybody else is talking. So I needed to carve out some space for myself, which, um, I, I needed. And, and then I became an actress to try to get over the shyness. So that acting gave me that other side, you know, it's be like, like I say, a lot of neuroscience and, and so it felt like it started making these connections in my brain, going down a different lane.
Hello and welcome to Permission to Heal. I am Marci Brockman, and I'm really thrilled that you are here. In today's episode, I have a lovely conversation and enlightening, inspirational conversation with Robyn Hatcher. Robyn Hatcher is a communication expert and international speaker consultant, Neurolinguistic programming. Practitioner and a recovering actor as she puts it. For the past 20 years, she has trained and coached thousands of business professionals to help them elevate their presentations, improve their communications, reduce conflict, and decrease HR drama. She's a managing partner of practice Management Consultants, llc, a consortium of subject matter experts geared towards supporting financial service firms on issues relating to diversity, inclusion, sales and communication, leadership and learning.
[00:01:07] She is a vetted Vista speaker and has spoken on hundreds of stages. Serves as a mentor and faculty member for many women run communities. She has written several screenplays and was once a staff writer. Two soap operas, ABC's One Life to live and all my children, Robyn has been seen in Good Morning America, The list tv, TV commercials, and episodic TV shows.
[00:01:34] As an actress, she served on the New York chapter of the National Speakers Association in 2019 as named by E Women's News as one of the 21 women of the 21st century. And her book, Standing Ovation Presentations contains unique communications style system. Actor Types. Robin is a show host on the Win Win Women TV Network.
[00:02:00] Her show can be seen on Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple tv, and it is called Communication RX. You can Tune in Live on Mondays at 6:00 PM Eastern Time, and all of the links to her show, to her book, to all of her social media, to everything. We'll be in the show notes and we had a remarkable conversation about showing up for ourselves.
[00:02:23] And instead of faking it till you make it, which she hates saying, she says, Own it while you hone it. So if you're anything like me, and you probably are, since you're here we're all looking to hone ourselves and make better versions of ourselves each and every day. So, Robyn Hatcher's got some clues to share on how to do it, so please join Robin Hatcher and I in this episode.
[00:00:00] Good morning, Robin. How are you? Welcome to Permission to Heal. Great to be here. Thank you so much for having me, Marcy. Great to see you. My, my pleasure. Um, I, the first time I saw you was on a, some sort of social media, probably a Facebook video or an Instagram video or something.
[00:00:17] And I thought, This woman is electric . You just, I don't even know. You were just talking about something really basic and like, I don't even remember exactly what it was. And, um, and you just had your audience captivated and your body language was phenomenal and, uh, I just, I, I just thought out loud, you know, I've, I've gotta, I gotta talk to her,
[00:00:44] Well, thank you so much. That means a lot cuz like, I just love what I do, you know, it's like when I'm doing it, I, I mean, that's what I was born to do and believe it or not, you know, I'm, I'm a total introvert, so it's like, so. Fun to be able to let that other side out and, and do my purpose, really. So how does an introvert become a public speaker?
[00:01:05] Uh, it's so weird, Marcy. I don't understand it. I mean, it's like, um, you know, I was born, like, I've told this story so many times that people know it really well, but my literal nickname growing up was shy. You know, people would just, if you met my family, I would be introduced to you as my, you know, the daughter shy, you know, my sister was Donna and I was shy and, um, Wow.
[00:01:31] I was So the sister became your name? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So, yeah, you know, Christmas cars, my mother actually even like, created, made a creative spelling and spelled it s h a i, and said, Love Bobby, Elena, Donna and Shy. You know, like, okay. Wow. Um, but you know, I just was that kind of introverted kid that. I wanted to watch and not be a part, you know, of.
[00:01:57] And it could have been as like, I was born into an extremely ex extroverted family, so it could have been reactive, you know, it's like everybody else is talking. So I needed to carve out some space for myself, which, um, I, I needed. And, and then I became an actress to try to get over the shyness. So that acting gave me that other side, you know, it's be like, like I say, a lot of neuroscience and, and so it felt like it started making these connections in my brain, going down a different lane.
[00:02:31] And so that should be somebody else. Yeah, exactly. Do what it is as, as the character, not as, Yeah. Yeah. And that fed me, and I feel like what it did was it fed the character that I was meant to stand into, and then I became passionate about, About other people not reverting into introversion and other people not being able to express themselves fully.
[00:02:55] And so that's what I do with my public speaking, is I want to be that gap, that gap that says, you know, you too have value inside of you. Let's bring it out. I'm going to give you all of my energy to help you do that because, and then I'm gonna tell you that it's not natural for me. You know, I had to develop that.
[00:03:16] So if I could do that, you could do it too. It makes a lot of sense. Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. I know that, uh, you know, it's an English teacher. Part of, part of what I do with my students is, you know, you're not only getting them to, to write about the things that they think, but you're getting them to, to, to verbally communicate the things that they think and Right.
[00:03:34] Occasionally there's a project or something where either as an individual or group, they have to stand in front of the class and say some stuff. Right. And. Each year I encounter more and more students with severe anxieties, almost phobic responses. Yeah. To the thought of standing in front of a class and saying anything.
[00:03:58] Yeah. Yeah. And some kids for which this is such a problem that on their little I iep their individual education program, I'm not allowed to call on them unless they raise their hand. Like that's how debilitating it is. And I always wonder, like with some kids, I just say, Suck it up. Once you up there and you get started, you'll be fine.
[00:04:19] Everybody's watching you, wants you to succeed. Nobody wants you to fail. Cause that's uncomfortable for us too. So we're all on your side. Sometimes I let them bring their friends up with them so they physically have company, but like beyond that, I don't know what to tell them. Yeah. Yeah. That's, that's so intense.
[00:04:37] And it's like, and I, I, I read once about where the fear of. A theory about where their fear of public speaking comes from. And because we are such tribal, um, human being, tribal creatures, and that probably makes sense for kids in high school and middle school too, is like, we're tribal and we wanna fit in.
[00:04:54] And so that fear of public speaking came from the fact that if you fail in front of your peers, like when we're in the ca you would get, you're, you're excluded. You don't eat, you don't sleep, you don't have shelter, you die. Mm-hmm. . So that's why, you know, it still rates up higher than the fear of death because it is a certain death, you know, and it's like, and I feel like nowadays with kids and the bullying and the cyber bullying and that wanting to fit in and that tribalism comes in so strongly at that age that that's probably just, um, just intensifies the fear and the stress and the anxiety around being kicked out of the tribe.
[00:05:32] And it's really painful. It's very sad. It's very astute. If you, Roman. Yeah. . Why? That's what I get paid for, I guess. There you go. . There you go. Um, yeah, I, I'm not sure I would've, I would've connected it that way, but that really does make a heck of a lot of sense. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Thi this year, rather than combat that directly with so many mental health issues coming out of two abnormal years cuz of Covid, Right.
[00:06:04] I just had them make videos for me and instead of presenting to the whole class so that they could, That's great, do that in the privacy of their own space. And then I just watched them on my own and it wasn't quite as impactful because the other one didn't get the benefit of seeing them. Right. But at least everybody was able to create one without flipping out.
[00:06:23] So yeah, you totally learn from that stress because it's like the other thing that I tell people, you know, that age, they probably won't get it, but, you know, excitement and anxiety and stress are two sides of the same coin. You know, So when you are afraid. If you just switch it over and say, I'm excited, you know, because I'm excited to do something.
[00:06:42] To give something and look at it as excitement and not fear. It's much, you know, it's, it's the same thing and you just say, you just reframe it, you know? And so many times that that can be super helpful. And I really think that it was a teacher back in eighth grade, cuz I did an audition for my first play and I was the teacher in eighth grade.
[00:07:01] There was some project and I think I was called on to be in this project and like no one expected me to do anything . And I killed it, kind of, you know, It was like, yeah, I just like what? I just let everything out. And then that feeling of, you know, it didn't make me an overnight popular sensation. Of course.
[00:07:26] I got to see I can do that. So that when I went to high school and then I decided to, like, I gotta get out of this shy crap. Right. Um, and I'll audition for a play and get it and then move forward from there. But yeah, it's, you know, is that excitement versus fear and conquering those two together is really cool.
[00:07:46] Yeah. It's, it's tough. I, I was, I think I was not a shy child, but trapped inside the shell of a shy child. Hmm. I don't know how to describe it any other way. There was a part of me that always wanted to speak up, that always wanted to join in on the conversation or mm-hmm. join the group of kids and I would stand there, but I wouldn't say anything.
[00:08:16] Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. and. It was my freshman year of high school. I was 14 years old. And I remember sitting at home listening to my mother tell a story about how, some story about her in high school where her debilitating shyness kept her from doing something that she regretted to that day not having done.
[00:08:37] And I thought, well, I just can't let that happen to myself if she's, you know, however old my mother was at the time. And she's thinking about things that happened to her 20 years prior with regret, all because she didn't speak up. I gotta talk myself out of this shit. Wow. So it was like this cognitive moment where I, I, I literally talked myself out of it.
[00:09:00] What is the worst thing that could happen if I was to stand in that group of kids and actually contribute to the conversation? Wow. Yeah. What's gonna happen? Am I gonna die? No. Is the earth gonna crack open and swallow me whole? No. . What? Yeah. And that's exactly what that happens. They ignore me. Yeah. Or laugh at me.
[00:09:22] Will I survive that? Sure. So let's try it. So I remember we were, it was the, the, the fall of my freshman year of high school. I was on the publicity committee for the school drama. And we were, there's a bunch of kids and we were all standing around in the hallway trying to figure out where we're hanging up, what posters.
[00:09:40] It was ridiculous. And somebody started telling a joke and it reminded me of a joke that I wanted to tell or that thought I could share. And I said it, and they all laughed and they're like, Wow, Marcy, we didn't know you were so funny. Oh wow. I could do this. You know? That is so cool. From that moment on, Yeah.
[00:10:01] Every time I had the instinct to keep my mouth shut. You did the, As long as it wasn't like something stupid. Mm-hmm. , I said whatever I was thinking. I love that. Yeah. It's funny cuz it happened the same, same year for us, the same freshman year. You know, it's like I, that is really super brave. I would've never done that.
[00:10:20] I had to audition for the school play of the boy school down the street for me. I couldn't even do to the school that I was at. No. When it come to auditioning to the musical, I, I, I, I would, I don't know what the word is, but I held back. Yeah. I got a song that I knew I could belt out and I sang it at home a thousand times and I know I can sing and I got there and I like only did it 50% of the way.
[00:10:44] Yeah. I got it into the show, but I didn't get part. I was in the chorus. It was fine. Yeah. But, but I think, I think I purposefully like subconsciously held back thinking that if I didn't really try a hundred percent Yeah. And I didn't get in, somehow it was gonna protect me from feeling bad. That's an interesting concept that is always coming up for me around.
[00:11:10] And a friend of mine just called me out on it real, actually, I was at a conference recently, a good friend of mine, um, is always pushing me and always thinking that I'm such a great speaker and all this like this. And she, he just said, um, I have a feeling, you know, like when you're a boxer and you're in a fight and you're, you're a professional boxer and you're fighting somebody who isn't.
[00:11:32] And so as a professional boxer, you sort of like hold back your punches, right? And he looks at me and he says, I think you do that sometimes as like, Wow. Do you think you do that? Sometimes I think a, he may be right. Yeah. . Wow. So it's, uh, it's, it's really interesting to see, see that other people see that, I mean, is very encouraging to see that other people see that in you and then to do some exploration as to why.
[00:12:02] You are doing that and, and what that means and how to stop doing it and all that. So it's, Yeah. It's very fascinating. Yeah. For, for me, the realization came a few years later, my senior year of high school, and I finally decided that I wasn't going to only give 50% of my single voice and, and it landed me apart.
[00:12:27] Right. You know, and people were like, Oh, wow. She really can sing. You know? Um, and then subsequently, I, I did, you know, some community courses and I did some community theater, and, and each time I went in there, you know, not thinking all, you know, that I'm all that in a bag of chips, but thinking I, I have something I can bring to the table.
[00:12:49] Right. Let me show you what I can do. Yeah. And, and, and it worked out fine. Yeah. You know, Sort of the same thing with teaching, you know, you're standing in for, or podcasting. Mm-hmm. , you know, like I don't really plan what I'm gonna do. I mean, lesson plans, obviously I do, but I don't know exactly what I'm gonna say.
[00:13:08] And, you know, it's people. Yeah. Yeah. That's how I am as a, as a speaker. And I, I do like, plan things out, but it really comes from my soul and my heart and my, my ability to connect with the energy in the room. Mm-hmm. and the ability to share and just really wanting to share my energy with people. You know, it's like my, you know, my passion is to.
[00:13:37] People become and own their value and to be seen and heard and valued. And so when I'm on that stage or when I'm even on a one to one, my prime focus is that is centered that way. And so that energy that comes through is just what I have to do to make you know that that's what I want from you. And that's what I, that's what you deserve and that's what you can do.
[00:14:06] And I feel like that's what, um, people pick up on. You know? It's like I just finished a presentation in Florida just last week and if it was so cool, Cause I, you know, I got a standing was really cool, but yay, yay. It just gotta feel good. I know. It feels great. And, you know, and then this woman afterwards just hit, she just came over.
[00:14:28] She didn't have anything to say. She said, I just wanna be in your sphere of energy. , you know, and that was like such a cool thing to say and such a cool thing to have emanated, you know, because that's why I do what I do. And I just come back from the, um, a conference for speakers, you know, So it was just a Nashville for the National Speakers Association Conference.
[00:14:53] And one of the whole, one of the main themes was like, as professional speakers, what it is that we do is we change people's lives. You know, like really be the conduit of being able to change people's lives. And that's what I love about what it is that I do. And when you can get the responses that you get makes a lot of sense.
[00:15:17] I know I was, I was watching one of your, an excerpt from a video that, um, that you have on YouTube about figuring out how you're gonna be perceived and how others think about who you are. And that was one of the questions in your. Actor type quiz. Mm-hmm. , you know, and I'm not a hundred percent sure that I could accurately guess what other people think.
[00:15:44] I know what I think they think or what I would like them to think. Yeah. I don't really know what they think. So, totally. One of the exercises I like to do in most of my, in a lot of my trainings or even sometimes with the quick, um, I tell people to do a perception audit, you know, um, either in the room, sometimes I do it in the room.
[00:16:06] I just turn the more lightly , um, I just turn to the person next to you. or like if it's a table of five or put them in groups of five or six or something and write down the first three words or phrases that come to mind when you think of that person. You know? And, and that is something, even if you don't know, a lot of people say, Well, I don't know them, I've just sat down.
[00:16:27] It's like, it doesn't matter cuz it's all about perception. Right? And then the audit that I en encourage people to do as well is like to, to have 10, a list of 10 people that you wanna reach out to and ask that same question. I'm doing a, I'm doing an exercise, I'm doing a personal branding exercise or a personal impact exercise.
[00:16:44] And what are the first three words or phrases that come to mind when you think of me? You know? And it doesn't even have to, you can make it anonymous. I have a Google form that you can make it anonymous and all that. But that's a really great way of just finding that out cuz it's so important. And then what do you do with that information?
[00:17:00] With that information? You call the information, you look at the things that are similar and then you think, okay, that's cool. And you look at that information and you see. . Um, and how do I feel about it? You know, it's like, um, and where, what, how, why do you think it's coming up? The other thing is you look at something, you look at the words that you may not like, you know, like what are the things that you don't, Oh, like, Right.
[00:17:24] How can I work on mitigating them, you know, even if they're positive. Cuz most people are gonna say positive things, but sometimes you're going after an image that's not actually what you want, you know? And so, and so. That's a great way. And the other thing is, is like it become, it can become a really great affirmation for yourself.
[00:17:45] You know, because when people see things in you that you don't even know, you're communicating and they're positive things, it's like such a wonderful thing. I remember hearing this story once about a teacher who had done that with our students and, um, when they were really being unruly. And so everybody had a list of all these positive words that their classmates said about them.
[00:18:04] And then, uh, what happened is one of the, uh, as they grew up, one of the students got killed in a war. Oh. And so all of the, the, the, the students went to the funeral and one of the parents said, You know, we found this list in his wallet. Oh. And it was just so touching. And not only did they, and, and they found the list, and so the teacher and the parents told the teacher, but so many of the kids who were at the funeral said, I still have mine too.
[00:18:35] Wow. You know, and so it's like such a great, so powerful example and powerful of how important it is to get that positive feedback. You know? And it's like, I tell this to my clients all the time, it's like, fill people's bank accounts. You know, like one of, like, I, I work with a lot of leaders and managers and it's like, don't just wait for the end of a cycle or your one on one or your 360 or whatever it is that you wanna call it, to give somebody a compliment or don't just do it after they do something remarkable.
[00:19:09] Fill their bank accounts along the way. Like, send them that email. It's like, Oh, I'd love, I love that how you spoke up at this meeting. Or, Thank you for doing this. You know, so you've got, so everybody's got this positive bank account because when we not, when we're not full of positivity or we're not full of acknowledgement, that's when things start going downhill.
[00:19:29] We start. Second guessing, and people are gonna rise up to that as well. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, so if you, if you say something positive that, that buoys them Yeah. Then they're gonna keep trying to elevate themselves to that degree. Exactly. I don't remember whose quote it was, but treat people not as they are, but how you'd like them to be or something like that.
[00:19:49] I just butcher that quote, but it's a great quote, . Absolutely, Absolutely. Yeah. I'm, I'm actually, uh, in grad school yet again to, uh, become a mental health counselor. Oh, wow. I was on a call like this with one of my professors last night. We were talking about this ethical case study kind of that, that I had to write a paper about and, and this exact thing came up, you know, a about finding that that thing or those many things within another person that, that, um, That you can feel empathy about, or compassion about, or encouragement about.
[00:20:31] Right. Right, right, right. And, and say that thing allowed to them. Yeah. Yeah. And then it allows them to, to reach for that or acknowledge it and change their own self perception. Yeah. And I was just listening to one of your, um, past podcast about the guy who speaks about homelessness. Right. And even that little thing of like looking a homeless person in the eye, that's, that's the same type of acknowledgement, you know, when people, when people don't feel seen is when things go nutty.
[00:20:59] Yeah. You know? And I feel like that's what's wrong with the world today is not enough. People feel seen, heard, and valued. Well, absolutely. Absolutely. It's quite sad. Yeah. Disheartening. Yeah. But that's a whole other podcast. We could get into all of that . Yikes. I'm not sure there's enough Lexapro in the world to get through that conversation.
[00:21:24] So tell us about your book Standing Ovation presentation, Standing Ovation presentations. This is the second, um, revised copy of it. I wrote it, I wrote the first edition back in 2013 when I was just off of, um, I just had recently stopped teaching English as a second language and gun full time into, well, don't tell my ages full time into speaking, but a little still into acting.
[00:21:53] But, um, so what I realized when I was teaching English as a second language is like so many of the public and I was teaching public speaking to second language students and then I was teaching public speaking also to adult, uh, native speakers, you know, So I was teaching at one of the universities teaching at Baruch University and, um, College and when I went to go look for public speaking VO books to use for my classes, they were just terrific.
[00:22:22] Not only were they got awfully expensive, but they were just so academic bound, you know? And I felt like I did not. Want to share this with my, my students. So I would create my own workbooks every single semester, and then I would like grow them. And, and then other teachers love my notebooks and would borrow my notebooks.
[00:22:45] And, and so, um, when I stopped teaching, I, I realized I had an all of this stuff. Why don't I write a book about it? Right? And so when I wanted to do that, I wanted to have a, a slight twist. And I was a actress for many, many years after my, uh, coming out in high school. And, uh, I talk about that in a minute, but get ahead
[00:23:06] And then I wrote for, uh, this two daytime soap operas. I saw that so bio before and I was like, Oh my God. Oh my god, Really? Oh my God. Like you fit all of this into only the first half of your life. Like, what else are you gonna, That's amazing. It's fun. Um, but. So that gave me this insight into the difference in communication styles.
[00:23:30] You know, cuz especially when I was teaching, it was like I was teaching these, um, people from Russia, from Japan, from Korea, from you know, Mexico. All different in one classroom. Right. And over the years I would think it's like, Oh, but they remind me of this other person. She's Japanese, but you're Russian and you remind me of this person.
[00:23:49] You're this and a tiles and types. Wait. And I think, Wait, wait, wait. Go back. We, we. . Yeah. Our connection got a little weird for a second. Yeah. So, okay. So you were saying that this Russian and the Japanese and the, They were all similar. Yeah. They were all, they all had similar types and I started realizing how similar different communication styles are, regardless of your culture or where you come from or whatever.
[00:24:17] And I was fascinated by that. Yeah, it's a human. And then working for the Sobes, you know, it's like soap opera characters are all based on archetypes or different types, you know, it's like there's the villain, there's the this there that. And so I, I thought like, what is a twist I use in my book? So that's when I came up with my actor types, which is a twist on archetypes and the actor styles.
[00:24:38] And I name them after the, the different types that you'll find in movies and TVs, and especially on soap operas. Right. And, um, and it, and it is a lot of fun because people can identify with it immediately. Um, you don't have to do all this like, deep research and, um, It, it gives you a starting off point.
[00:24:58] Like we're, we're all different types. We're all a combination of types, but it's a starting off point because we all have our, our one priority type, we all have our one default type, which is what we fall into when we're stressed or where we're under pressure. And so that type, when you know that, you know how to make it bigger and better, and you also know how to mitigate what I call their, its fatal flaws.
[00:25:23] Right? Yeah. I, It was a, a really, a short quiz, it took like five minutes. Yeah. Put it in the show notes. So if anybody wants to scroll down it and do it themselves, they can. Um, and it turned out that I was the hero type. Yes. No surprise. Which made sense, you know? Yeah. Everything I do, I seem to be talking for a living, so Yeah.
[00:25:44] Yeah. And somewhere there's a Ted talk in me, at least one, I just can't sort of figure out exactly what it is yet. Right, right. The universe has to bring it to me. So let's, let's, you've said this a couple times, but let's go back. Um, what you were, you were worse slash r an actress, an actor. What have we seen?
[00:26:02] Yeah, I call myself a recovering actor these days. a recovering actor. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. But when I first moved to New York, I did a lot of, um, off Broadway. I did, um, most of the episodics that shoot here. I did the Obligatory Law and Order. I did, uh, the blacklist. I was, and my bread and butter when I was, uh, a full-time actor was commercials, you know, I did a lot of commercials and voiceover work and, um, I also was like an under five or small bit player in soap operas, but commercials were my bread and butter for a while.
[00:26:41] In fact, I was an, uh, Commercial for the New York Times, uh, back in the nineties actually. And it played for nine years. Wow. And um, the funny thing is, and that's one of my fun facts, is that Saturday Night Live actually did a takeoff on it. No, this was so ubiquitous. And guess who played me? Who? Hallie Berry.
[00:27:05] No shit. Yes. . Oh my God. I could probably honestly say that I'm the only person who been imitated by Hallie Berry, so yeah. Wow. I'm gonna find that video and attach that to the show notes too. Yeah, it's on YouTube. It's a, it's actually her, her parody is on YouTube. And then like, I did three, three different sections and one of mine is one of mine cuz it was one of those, uh, commercials where they had different vignettes.
[00:27:34] and one of the ones I was in was is on it too. So it's really funny. Wow. So mine was in New York Times and they made, SNL made it about the national Inquire, but you know, they used like . Sure. Oh my god, Robin, that's awesome. I know. Very funny. Oh, I enjoy that so much. I'm gonna totally find that. Oh my God.
[00:27:56] And so somehow there, from there you made the leap to writing screenplays and writing for, um, one life to live in all my children. How did you do that? Yeah, yeah. Um, well, you know, as an actor I was taking acting classes all the time and I, it's, it's hard like finding the right, um, part to, to, to play or to rehearse with and stuff.
[00:28:21] So I started writing a, a couple of scenes for myself and I wrote a monologue and I had this teacher, this acting teacher, Paul Austin, who was really great and um, During one of my practices or or classes where I did one of my own pieces, he said, You might just find yourself writing a play. And I'm like, No.
[00:28:42] And then he saying that . And sure enough, you know, I wrote a play and that was produced off off Broadway. And um, I had, I got an agent at the time and my agent submitted it to abc. And so ABC um, called me to go into this writing, this soap opera writing program. And I wound up being in for about three years.
[00:29:08] And I got, uh, working on writing, uh, outlines. There are two, two sign two sides of writing for soap operas. One is the breakdown writers, or you write the outlines, and one is the writing the scripts. And so I wound up writing the outlines for One Life to Live, and I wrote scripts for all my children. So what is it like to be in a writer's room?
[00:29:31] I've always had this fantasy about doing that. It, it's kind of amazing. It's very, um, it's the writer's room is you're in a writer's room when you're writing the breakdowns and it's kind of fun because you're around and you're talking and there are two, there're head writers, you either one or two head writers, and they have a.
[00:29:49] List of what's, uh, applicable. You know, they have the scenes that are supposed to be used. And it's very funny because it's all geared toward what are the actors that are available and what are the scenes that are available. You can only use the scenes that are available. You can add one extra scene or whatever.
[00:30:06] So every, that's why you, you see scenes in Barbara's taking place in weird places because that's the set that's available that week. Right. You know, so, um, and so everybody pitches ideas and they've broken into days. So the head writer has final say, and then at the end the head writer will say, Okay, you take this day, you take this day, you take that day and go off.
[00:30:27] So, um, it can be really interesting. It's like it is when you're first into it. The oddest thing though, is my first day as a breakdown writer for One Life to Live was nine 11. No. And I'm so excited. I get, you know, I dropped my son off at school. I show up to the writer's room, there is no one there. My very first day this, the, the one guy is outside and he says, Okay, this is the writer writer's room.
[00:30:59] He walks me in there and no one's there. But it, and it turns out that one of the writers, one of the team lived right across from the World Trade Center. So she saw the whole thing happen. Wow. So she got in touch with everybody else in the writer's room except me, cuz she didn't know I existed. Now had you, did you know what was going on or you were, After I got there, I mean, because like, I guess I got there before all of it became revealed.
[00:31:28] And I was on this subway, so there was no, you know, no communication. I got there. Okay. And I'm sitting there, so it took probably about a half an hour before the receptionist came in and told me what was happening. And then it was like, What you so surreal. What do first, it's like this is my first day of the job.
[00:31:49] Do I leave? Are they coming? Are they ever, you know, cuz you didn't know how bad it was. Sure. Really. And um, and then of course by the time I found that out, cell phones weren't working, couldn't get in touch with anything. Then I started realizing, oh my God, my son is in grade school way down way far away from like, I was at 66 and the west side and he's on the 30 something on the east side.
[00:32:15] So, you know, I had to somehow make my way how to go get him. Yeah. Wow. So yeah, that was a nuts and a crazy day. My, my youngest daughter was, Six months old. And so I was still on maternity leave and I was sitting at home, stuck on the couch nursing her. And my three year old son was at daycare. And I got a phone call from my husband at the time and he told me that, you know, a plane just crashed into the world trade.
[00:32:49] And I was like, You're such a liar. Like that's a horrible story to make up. And he's like, No, I'm not kidding this time. Yeah, it's true. And I turned the TV on and then it was, it was true, but none of the cell phones, nobody could get in touch with anybody else. But for some reason everybody could call me.
[00:33:08] And both my parents and my sisters lived in the city and my brother-in-law lived in the city. And like nobody could contact anyone else except me. So I was. The hall. Right, Right. It was scary. Yeah. I can't imagine that being your first day of work. I know. nuts. I know. So that was crazy. So, yeah. So yeah, it's kind of stressful being in a writer's room for soap because you have the timeline is so contracted.
[00:33:36] Sure. You know, it's like you have four days to write an outline and you also have to pay attention to the shows that were on a week ago, the shows that are gonna be on the next week. So you're in, you're working in three different timelines that you have to, to pay attention to. Um, Yeah. So I just, I have this image of, of it being really like a vital creative space where people like riff off each other.
[00:34:06] Like, no, the character wouldn't say that she this or, you know, but I don't know if that's, if any of that is true, like, um, I think for Right. Things yourself. And then they get approved by somebody else, or are they, are they done in groups? Yeah, it depends with the s you're writing the whole thing yourself.
[00:34:23] Um, so the breakdown writer does, like, there, there is some of that because it's like, okay, we've got, this is a scene, these are the characters. We need to move the story from here to here. What are some ideas about how to do it? So then everybody gives us ideas and um, and then you go away and write your day.
[00:34:45] So that's, So yeah, everybody, you, you sort of have the outline. You go home, then you have to make it. In a paragraph that makes like dramatic sense, right? And you're actually writing that paragraph for the editor so that they know, and then for the script writer, Cause then the script writer gets what you just wrote and then has to put dialogue to it.
[00:35:05] Well that makes sense. Yeah. Yeah. It's funny, I'm sure for sitcoms and stuff it could be a lot more fun. maybe, Maybe, maybe. I dunno, it's probably the same. My, my husband and I are rewatching for probably the 10th time, the Ted Lasso series. Oh. And, and I keep thinking about, cuz the actors themselves are the writers.
[00:35:27] They're the ones who created these characters and they're creating the series. And so I, I, I, I can't help myself but think about what it was like for them to create. And then act it, you know? Right. Like, like, well, where do we want this to go? You know? Yeah. Yeah. I just, I just think it's, it's a very cool thing.
[00:35:49] Yeah. It's a very cool thing. And, uh, when I, when I wrote my book, I was, I was doing it really in a vacuum completely by myself. It was such a therapeutic thing, and like Yeah. Was using my journals as primary source documents for, for the memoir. And it didn't even occur to me to bounce things off to other people of other people.
[00:36:13] And I, and I think in hindsight that I might have gotten, I don't wanna say better, but a different product. Had I done that, you know, I just, I, I think that in communion with other people, we Yeah, yeah. Started to become more creative. Yeah. And that's, I mean, it's so interesting because I work with people on their speeches and presentations.
[00:36:33] In fact, you know, um, coming up with the perfect presentation or a great presentation and it's just so interesting how I can think of things for their speeches. Mm-hmm. that they would've never thought of. That is just like, and I see the connections between what they've done or what they're doing and what can go in and what can be impactful.
[00:36:56] And so it really is good to bounce things off. It's, it, I I think it's a, a mutual thing. You have to do stuff yourself. I, I didn't have anybody to bounce it up, but it's really great to get that outside information as well. Yeah. Cause I, I think as, as a person who's inside it, you're, you're not seeing, you're not seeing the, the other aspects of it, the other angles of it.
[00:37:18] Cause you're only seeing what you're focused on and cuz you're too close to the inside. Yeah. One of my favorite Buddhist quotes was, You can't, you can't see your own eyebrows. , you know, which , you know Sure. True. Without a mirror, also before, without a mirror. So that's what, that's what happens with people in their value and their speeches and their books and their, even just their elevator pitches, you know?
[00:37:43] Sure. In their businesses. Wow. You can't see your own eyebrows. I like that. I'm gonna have to figure out who said that. I, I like that. That's very good. Yeah. Yeah. So how did you, what made you decide to be a public speaker? To be a communication expert to, to, Yeah. It was the perfect leap from the teaching English as a second language, because, uh, the more I taught, the more I realized that, um, they could learn all the vocabulary and sentence structure and the world, but if they didn't feel confident and comfortable actually using it, you're not communicating, you know?
[00:38:25] And so, That made me really fascinated about the whole art communication. And that's when I decided to stop just teaching English to the second language and teach public speaking to my second leg students. And so all I did was teach public speaking. Um, and I created the course. I had them do debates, I had them do presentations, I had them do interviews.
[00:38:46] And I just fell in love with that wonderfulness of watching people do what I needed to do. Mm-hmm. as a child, you know, just come out of their shells, being able to feel comfortable talking to people. And so the more I taught that, the more I became really, uh, versed in the whole art of communication and the more I studied.
[00:39:09] And then I was really fortunate to meet some great mentors who I would teach public speaking to a group, and then they convinced me, or they taught me to morph it more into the leadership. Realm. You know, it's like, so if you're, you can teach them presentation skills, but we want you to coach them in leadership skills.
[00:39:30] And so then I, I got really well versed in that aspect of it. And, um, then once I started doing all these trainings is I, I would go to National Speakers Association meetings and I, and that's where it became clear that there was a whole nother level that I could go to, which was just professional speaking.
[00:39:50] And then in addition to the training, you know, so that, um, so then I became fascinated with that and started getting work by just going to conferences and speaking about communication or going to conferences and speaking about value when worth. And so that is the, um, that whole public speaking and professional speaking part of my business.
[00:40:11] And I still continue to do the training and coaching as well. So since I think most of our listeners are not, Business owners. I mean, maybe some of them are, but, But how, how would you translate what you communicate on a stage to some usable things that maybe our listeners can adapt for their own lives?
[00:40:37] Yeah. Well, it all starts with owning your value. I have a quote and I just recently made a t-shirt. It's like, you know how everybody says, does fake it to you? Make it? Well, I hate that quote, so I've turned it into own it while you own it. Don't fake it to you. Make it own it while you hone it, because much better.
[00:40:56] Yeah. And my true belief is that. All human beings have put on this earth with value to give and value to share. And so when, um, so my first step with everybody is to excavate your value. You know, it's like, so there's a three part that you wanna excavate your value. You wanna learn how to communicate your value, and then you need to learn how to radiate your value.
[00:41:20] And excavating is, like we were talking about, not being able to see your own eyebrows is like, there are so many things that you have done as a human being in the past, the present, um, little things that count for you being really, really special. And what happens with our brain is that we tend to forget those little things.
[00:41:39] We, we concentrate on the negative, we concentrate on what's wrong and with us and what's, what's wrong with the world or what's wrong with everything else. It's like, so, you know, that whole negativity bias because our, our brain thinks that if you remember the negative, then you're going to stay safe and you're gonna survive.
[00:41:55] Cuz that's what our brain does, right? But, um, what I. Want everybody to do is to really try to pull out all of those positive feedback that you've gotten so that you can own that while you, I mean, and you're not perfect. Like one of the, the kisses of death is this perfectionism, which I suffer from terribly.
[00:42:15] And so it's like you're never gonna be perfect. You can continue to develop yourself while you're owning the greatness that you already have. And I encourage, yeah, and I encourage people to create what I call a value vault, You know? And a value vault is like a place where you can store all of the wonderful things that have happened to you.
[00:42:37] And because we know we're gonna forget it. So pull out your value vault the next time you're feeling. Uncomfortable. You're feeling lacking and confident the next time you have to go into a meeting or a party even mm-hmm. and talk about yourself. What can you read from that value vault? Oh, I remember how this person complimented me on this.
[00:42:58] I remember how this, like, write it down and really be able to read it through. It's like that list we were talking about earlier. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And so owning your value is like, is the first step. And then to hone, it's like you find different ways to tell, tell, tell yourself a story. Where do you want to be?
[00:43:18] What do you want to do? And one of the other things that I have is, um, is creating that your, your, your value story, your brilliant story, and make it like a story. Because stories stick in our minds and stories are very, very powerful. And just like I would write for the soaps or write for anything else once upon a time.
[00:43:38] Mm-hmm. once upon a time,
[00:43:43] uh oh.
[00:43:52] Robin froze.
[00:43:59] It looks going well. Once upon a time,
[00:44:41] what do I do? Will she come back in?
[00:45:15] Forgot to plug myself in. Oh, and the computer died. Oh, okay. Aye. Yay. Okay. It's so annoying. They didn't give me a warning.
[00:45:34] Okay. I'll just leave myself a note. Mm-hmm. to splice the video. No big deal. Bad recordings. Okay. All right. So where was I before I was rudely interrupted? Now, , last thing you said was Once upon a time. Yeah, yeah. So one of the things that I love to do is create these, uh, stories for yourself. Like, so once upon a time there was a woman named Robin.
[00:46:03] And every day she, you know, and so once a and what you do is you write what the circumstances is. Now, once upon a time, for instance, there was a woman named, uh, Robin. She was painfully shy and she hated looking anybody in the eye or talking to anybody in public. Mm-hmm. . And then one day she decided to audition for a high school play, and every day, blah, and every, and so you build this story, you build this story as to where you want to be, and then at the end it's like, and finally, And because of that and because of that and because of that.
[00:46:40] And then finally, so it's an outline I have on one of my, uh, handouts I could definitely share with you. You're brilliant. And then, um, so that's one of the things that I love to sh share with people cuz our minds will tell us where we need to go. Right. And um, so I do that then. And then I also, some of my clients, I, no matter where or what walk of the life they are, I have them create an avatar for themselves.
[00:47:04] And that avatar for themselves might have a different name than that. You know, somebody who is really, um, you know, never get this one client that I had and her name was. Christina. And so when she thinks of her avatar though, her avatar name is ex Tina. You know, so ex Tina has like all this spunk in power and when she goes into, goes into parties, ex Tina shows up, you know, and ex Tina wears a wears purple where Christina May not.
[00:47:33] You know? So it's those little things that can really spark your confidence and really, really have you step out of just like we talked about earlier, you know, being an actor and being able to step into another persona can actually start to develop yourself in another way. And that's what creating an avatar for yourself does.
[00:47:52] It's like you show up and you can leave that shy or not lacking confident person home on the sofa. That's interesting cuz I've, through somebody else's advice, have sort of sonified. Negative Nancy in my own head, you know, like, like that, the, the, the version of me with all the self-limiting beliefs and the, and the fomo and the, and the, all the other shit that I don't wanna deal with.
[00:48:19] You know, all, all of the, the negative disparaging comments, you know, I say come out of Barbara lot of more. So I get to sort of push that outside of myself and Right, right. Look at it as another thing. So this, this is a similar but much more positive. I'm on the positive side. So then you can have them battle each other.
[00:48:45] no, I just gotta keep myself out of like, disassociating, you know, . I know exactly. Well, you're studying mental health, you'll bring yourself Yeah, it's fine. It's fine, it's fine. I, I was reading. See this is, this is where the short term memory problem comes in. But I was reading a book, I, I can't remember who it was now, somebody in whose listening's gonna remember and, and, and tell me.
[00:49:13] But basically this person was suggesting that all of the things that happened to us happen as experiences that we witness or we perceive, but that what we feel isn't us feeling it. It's a perception of the feeling like there was somehow a separation or distinction between. Myself, let's say, and the things my brain is thinking that I'm not my thought, I'm not my brain.
[00:49:54] That, that being observant of the thoughts or the feelings that are happening mean that I'm separate from them. Yeah. And therefore, I, that distinctness, that separateness sort of keeps me from getting obsessed with it or, um, um, overly hurt by it or whatever. And, and I, as I was reading this book, I was thinking I was untethered soul.
[00:50:23] That's what I was reading. And immediately started to think like this, really easy, if you go down this avenue, To like create some sort of dissociative pathology in your own brain. Yeah. And so I looked it up, you know, we all have Google at our fingertips, so I took out my cell phone and there's actually studies on this exact thing.
[00:50:43] Wow. . Wow. I don't know. Yeah, that's, yeah. A lot of people are talk, talking about that You are not your thoughts, but Yeah. And I see what you're talking about is like, you can take it a step a little bit too far and Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you are not your Yeah, I've, I've just listened to a podcast where people were talking about that, and I don't know if it's the same book author who was being interviewed, but Yeah, just that whole thing about not, um, not believing your thoughts, not, you are not, and you have a certain amount of seconds between your thought and your action.
[00:51:23] I don't, which is actually a good thing. But I was listening to, I think it was my ambi breakdown was the podcast. Huh. And I think I'm looking in my Kindle app to see where the thing was, but I was probably the library book. I'm not a purchase, but, um, I don't remember the author's name, but, uh, I was, I was really intrigued by that.
[00:51:45] Hence the, still talking about it weeks later and connecting it to other things, but Yeah. But I don't think that creating our own nextt Right. Is, or creating our own like negative Nancy is gonna cause us to be dissociative. Right. I think we're just, you know, using it in a very Right basic. Hello. And actually it's like we do that, that dis disassociation.
[00:52:08] We do that kind of naturally all the time. It's when we, when it goes to that other level Sure. And we start believing that disa disassociated thing, that's where we get into trouble. But I feel like we are always doing that. It's like we're always like second guessing ourselves or seeing ourselves from another viewpoint or just, um, yeah.
[00:52:28] It's a con. Occasionally even I have out of body experiences, like I almost see myself as if I'm watching a movie. Yeah. And that's like, you know, I've studied neurolinguistic programming and that's actually a, a, uh, treatment, or not treatment, but a suggestion of taking, uh, going up into that high third party and watching what's going on.
[00:52:50] Cuz that can really help you get out of your stuckness. Sure. Is if you, if you, if you see your, what's going on as a third party. Wow. Yeah. Amazing. I know the brain is an amazing thing. Absolutely. And so, so supple. So before we finish, um, I would like to ask the six, the seven quick questions if you are amenable.
[00:53:16] Yeah. She says tentatively she says, Not remembering the questions, but Yeah. No, you're not supposed to. So, so let's start with, with sort of what we were talking about before and what six words would you use to describe yourself? Hmm.
[00:53:34] Engaging, insightful, thoughtful,
[00:53:43] uh, internal, I don't know if that's the word, . Sure. Um, intuitive. Creative. Lovely. Okay. That's a good list. Um, what's your favorite way to spend a. , Um, if I'm being honest, which I only expect watching vintage game shows on television. That's awesome. , what's your favorite? Um, my favorite is card sharks. Really?
[00:54:16] Yeah. It's, I don't know, it's something, it's weird and like, but I've spent more time watching the Match Game cuz they play that more often. Oh, Match game's. Awesome. Yeah. I like Password also. Yeah. Yeah. Password Plus I like regular. Yeah, I love that too. Yeah. That's fun. Um, what's your favorite childhood memory?
[00:54:40] Hmm, that's a good one.
[00:54:47] Favorite playing mini golf, I guess. Yeah. That's always fun. Yeah. What's your favorite? Clint Palmer, John. Oh, that was quick. Okay. Yeah, no questions there. That's awesome. What one piece of advice would you like to give your younger self? Uh, you are fine. Don't compare yourself with other people. Oh, definitely.
[00:55:14] Oh my God. I would've saved the younger me a month, years of torture. God. And when I look back on photos, where of when I thought I was fat, it just brings tears to my eyes. Holy shit. Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely.
[00:55:33] Again, that's another podcast. Yeah. Um, number six. What is one thing you would most like to change about the world?
[00:55:44] Inclusivity. Having people feel seen? Yeah, you were talking about that before. That's huge. Yeah, that's the need for diversity. I'm just like overwhelmed by the amount of segregation in our society still. Yeah. Yeah. That's, And so many things that I was already annoyed about. When you start breaking them down, they're not just like on the surface, we're not just harming the democracy, we're not just harming the country.
[00:56:25] We're not just harming the surface. I'm trying not to be specific on purpose. Um, but when you really dig down, there's so much of an insidious racist, um, on the other coin, the other side of that like elitist bullshit. Yeah, yeah. You know, like, yeah. Like we're creating these laws and. And problems like creating more problems to, to, to keep people from voting so that, that the, the powers that be can still have their way and, and just, I just, I, I it's nauseating to me.
[00:57:08] Yeah. And the keyword is insidious because, you know, there are those obvious ones, like the voting, and then there are like, the little things that people don't notice is like, it was so struck recently walking through Prospect Park in Brooklyn and I just, I don't know why this struck me so much, but I just saw there were all these day camps, these kids in day camp, but all of the kids, 95% of the kids were these white kids in day camp.
[00:57:34] And I started thinking, it's like, okay, they're having a great time, It's fine, but what are they learning? They're learning to hang out with people like them. Mm. Right. And, you know, at fis, these young ages. And I just like, it just breaks my heart that that's, you know, this is where it all starts. You know, It's like if you don't have experiences of other people, how are you ever going to trust them?
[00:58:01] How are you ever going to be satisfied living with them? Right. And, and it's not the kids' fault. I mean, they didn't choose what camp to go to, exactly what to do was their parents' fault. Right. And it's not necessarily, I don't even blame the parents to a degree. It's really, it's just, it's just so in insidious, you know, it's society, society, it's the can afford the camp.
[00:58:23] The too, It's who the demographic is. Exactly. It's the neighborhood demographic being, you know, Right. All of that stuff. Right. I mean, I, I see in the high school that I teach in, in, um, suburban Long Island, Right. Uh, in the last, I would say 10 years, a very. Large influx in diverse populations. And I think that that's a wonderful thing.
[00:58:48] Yeah. You know, I mean, it's probably still predominantly Caucasian, but, but not by much. Mm-hmm. , I don't think it's like an overwhelming percentage anymore. I think most of my classes are, uh, delightfully diverse shades of beigian, brown and black and Well, that's really here. Whatever. And, and I, I just, I think that in order for us to really get to know each other and get to know ourselves and to really delve into this experience we call humanity, we all need to be involved.
[00:59:23] Yeah. Yeah. And it's, nobody's, it's not, doesn't land on one per one race either. You know, Cuz I, cuz I know a lot of people in my race like to segregate themselves, you know, so, Yeah.
[00:59:39] Anyway, that's another subject, . Um, , not, not that I'm just dismissing it. I just, you I know as totally, There's not enough time in the No, no, of course. Um, and completely being shallow. Now, besides the, um, old game shows, what TV shows do you binge and enjoy? I binge British dramas. Ooh. So right now I'm on a steady diet of Vera Southern Show called New Tricks.
[01:00:12] Another one I just finished called London Kills. Nice. So yeah, British Police dramas. That's my jam. That's your jam. Cool. Mm-hmm. . Cool. Well, thank you so much for this, Robin. This was really great. I think, uh, I think you're fabulous. Your energy is just infectious and so fabulous. Thank you so much. You should know, speaking of the devil, speaking of the same
[01:00:43] Thank you. Thank you. So thank you so much for having me and uh, I look forward to catching up and doing more. Let me know what else you need. Sure. Absolutely. Okay.