You have an important message to share, a message that can make a difference in other people’s lives and make you the go-to expert in your field. But you’re overcome by self-doubt just thinking about getting your voice out there.
Perhaps you've been afraid of public speaking all your life, or you're not clear on your message, and how to organize your content for maximum impact and effectiveness. In one case or the other, you know something’s holding you back from living a fully confident, successful, and empowered life.
You dream of being a confident, mesmerizing speaker who’s fully herself on stage while connecting with others in an authentic way. But you secretly worry it’ll never be possible for you.
You're not alone. I've been there and I can HELP.
Hi, I'm Dr. Claudia Consolati.
I teach women who have important things to say, but are nervous speaking in front of others, how to become rockstar public speakers in a way that feels good to them. I help them overcome self-doubt, get clear on what to say and how, and speak from the heart so they can connect with any audience and finally have the impact they crave.
My clients are smart, ambitious, hard-working women who’re ready to step into a bigger version of themselves. I love helping them own their voice and share their ideas with the world so they can make a difference while living their best, most empowered life.
See, for the longest time I thought I didn't have a voice.
It all started when I was 9 years old. My family and I moved from my native city of Milan to a small town in the Italian Alps. As I soon found out, I wasn’t prepared for the big changes to come. I’d been a very happy child in Milan, and I loved my teacher and friends at my Montessori school. I assumed everything would be just the same, only in a different geographical location, but that was far from the truth.
When the first day of school came, I found myself surrounded by new teachers and students in a religious school that never felt welcoming. I was the newcomer, the odd one out, and, on top of everything, the shy, introverted, and sensitive kid. Apart from a few moments of connection, I was never truly able to integrate in the new community.
Our move from Milan was the moment I stopped being a child and retreated into myself. In my mind, my authentic, loving, kind self had been rejected and made fun of, and I assumed there was something wrong with me, something that I should hide.
Silence became my safest option.
And so I became the quiet girl, the girl who never said a word and that no one noticed or remembered. I buried myself into books to escape the fact that people didn’t seem to know I existed. I learned to listen to others before listening to myself. And I grew terribly afraid that people would judge me for who I truly was. I decided that it wasn’t safe to be me and use my voice. So, little by little, I forgot that I even had one.
As I retreated more and more into myself through middle school and high school, I became terrified of anyone shining the spotlight on me, whether in class or at family gatherings. Every time it happened, I found myself sweating, hyperventilating, and my face turning bright red. Feeling like I was about to cry, I’d mumble a few confused words while feeling ashamed for being so inarticulate and clumsy, hence making myself even more silent.
While growing increasingly out of touch with my authentic voice, I became a pro at sharing other people’s ideas.
When I went away to college, I threw myself into studying, thinking that if I couldn’t speak, at least I could become really good at sharing other people’s ideas.
And I did become good, so good that I got accepted into a Ph.D program at an Ivy League University and quickly rose to the top of my class. I couldn’t avoid the spotlight anymore since I was being trained to become a professor. I had to be in front of students 5 days a week for 2 years straight -- it was terrifying (and a BIG stretch for my introverted self), but I had to find effective ways to manage my fears and grow into someone who was comfortable leading classes of up to 80 students.
I discovered that, despite my years of silence, I was a natural-born teacher and that I loved connecting with others through public speaking. I loved to communicate and inspire with my words, and I loved seeing students blossom and tap into their potential right in front of my eyes. I was still secretly anxious, but my successes and my students’ and colleagues’ positive feedback helped me gain confidence in myself and my abilities as a teacher and speaker.
To my surprise, I discovered that every time I spoke, people perceived me as a leader. I also found out that I was naturally charismatic and that people would hang onto my every word. Could this be true? I’d spent 20 years in hiding, feeling voiceless and powerless, only to discover that I was naturally charismatic and born to lead. Who would have guessed?
And, yet, I was still silent.
While I became a pro at my profession and gained the respect of my academic community, I felt that I had yet to fully discover and own my voice. Yes, countless conference presentations, lectures, and classes had made me really good at talking in front of others. But, the truth is, a part of me was still hiding. I was still speaking about other people and other people’s ideas.
I was still talking about “things” when what I truly wanted was to talk about “the things behind things”, in other words, ME, the girl who’d gone missing after our move from Milan, and with whom I was so desperate to reconnect. And, apart from a few personal touches, there was no “me” in my classes and research.
How I found my voice.
After finishing my Ph.D, I embarked on a journey of self-discovery. I read countless self-development books (still love them!), enrolled in women’s empowerment courses, worked with a life coach, and took a number of business classes, both in person and online.
At first, it was depressing to think that, far from giving me all I needed to make it in the “real” world, my PhD had only prepared me to realize that there was a ton I didn’t know (about myself, the world, others) and that I needed to gain new skills if I were to find my voice and have the life of my dreams.
Despite the many (many!) ups and downs, I kept at it, following my dream of using my speaking and leadership skills to help others. My desire was to create a movement and reach millions. And if I was to do that, I realized that I had to completely reconsider the way I’d been living and doing things. I had to go past my childhood programming, take full responsibility for my life, and create something worthwhile that would be a true expression of my voice while having a positive impact on others.
And so The Women Speak Up Project was born.
Defying all expectations, I combined my passion for feminism and women’s studies, which had been my focus in graduate school, with my newly-acquired business expertise to found my own company, The Women Speak Up Project, to support women in finding, owning, and sharing their authentic voice, whether through signature talks from the stage or at work (and sometimes even in private conversations).
In the process, I discovered that my true gift--my voice--was helping other women find theirs.
I also found out that what I’m really good at is not simply coaching my clients on crafting powerful and engaging talks or learning to speak with confidence. Don’t get me wrong: I’m really good at that ;). But my work goes deeper. When I work with clients, I help them discover their “thing behind the things”, that is, their unique message that they’re meant to share with the world to change lives, become known as experts in their fields, and finally have the impact they crave.
I've made it my mission to support women in mastering the art of public speaking to become the vulnerable, compassionate, kickass leaders that we so desperately need.
And today, I get to help amazing women (and, occasionally, men) step into their authentic voice, tell the truth, and share their ideas with the world whether from the stage, at work, or online.
I love my work as a speaking coach, and I’m super thankful for my courageous clients, who step into the spotlight and take a stance for themselves and all women. Because now more than ever we need women to claim the public stage.
If my story resonates with you, I’d love to know!
And if you’re ready to find your voice, share your message, and change the world, check out my Work With Me page or send me an e-mail at: email@example.com.
My professional bio:
Claudia Consolati, PhD is an Ivy-League trained professor, scholar, and thought-leader on matters of feminism, media, and women’s voices. In her 10+ years of experience as a university professor and public speaking coach for women, she has accrued close to 3000 hours of public speaking—quite the feat for a consummate shy girl!
Claudia is regularly invited to speak at such prestigious institutions as the University of Toronto, the University of Maryland, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Arizona.
Her mission is to help talented and ambitious women find, nurture, and share their voice to live more empowered and confident lives while inspiring others and changing the world.
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