What's It Like to be Professional?

Crafting a story, polishing a pitch to an agent or editor, delivering a speech, acing an interview, speaking in public – what does it take to do this in a professional way?

My colleague, Penelope Starr and I refer to ourselves as professionals and offer tips and tools that clients/storyteller/participants can use to create a professional aura in their work.

But what does that mean? Professional behavior and ethics can run the gamut from know what you’re talking about, to know your stuff and your client, to deliver what you promise, to take your work seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. (Thank you, Judy Dench and others)

When Penelope and I present TELL IT!: PRESENTATION SKILLS FOR WRITERS, we promise to give researched and training information, tips and tools that we know work – either because we’ve learned from masters, we’ve done it-more than once,  or we wrote the book about it ( The Radical Act of Community Storytelling: Empowering Voices in Uncensored Events ©2017 Penelope Starr). Between us we’ve got almost 35 years of professional storytelling, public speaking, life skills coaching, and teaching experiences. And we love to share!

We promise a comfortable learning environment, and a workshop that starts and ends on time. We are bound by what we believe: to create a safe environment, so someone previously belittled for being “too smart” or “too funny” or “not smart enough” or “not funny enough,” can step up to the mic and go for it, go over the top! There's a whole silent group of talented writers who shy away from readings or speaking about their work becuase of those old, outdated ideas about themselves, aka, the old lies. It's possibel to be the you that’s been waiting to come out and play/shine!

We believe we have an ethical responsibility to treat each participant with courtesy and kindness. We’re dealing with group behavior as well as individuals who bring all their hopes, success and fears about speaking and performing in public.

That’s serious stuff. But it doesn’t mean we have to be totally serious. Jokes, props, humor at ourselves, and quotes help us all to lighten up and have an enjoyable time.

Bottom line: We deliver. You’re in good hands. We provide an environment where you can be more aware of what you know, what you perceive, and then practice, play, and enhance those perceptions.

Our collaborative program TELL IT! embodies professionalism and offers tips and tools for writers to develop and exude their own professional style with ease and confidence. 


Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place: A Memoir of Summer Comfort, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships.

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