Business man holding Fearless on blurred abstract background
Business man holding Fearless on blurred abstract background

You rarely find winners lacking confidence. Look at the average person with confidence and you will see that often he/she wins and is surrounded by people that want to be around him/her. To win in sales you have to be confident in:

  1. Yourself
  2. Your sales ability
  3. Your product and/or service

How do you build up confidence?

  1. Challenge yourself to do things that you shy away from doing
  2. Do the things that others don’t want to do and do it to the best of your abilities
  3. Study techniques that will help you do be better at what you do
  4. Learn about your products and services inside and out
  5. Learn about your competitors products and services
  6. Learn about your target audience and what the burning needs
  7. Provide your target audience what they truly need
  8. Don’t be afraid of hearing no…be persistent but not a pest
  9. Share your knowledge…as you share you will gain a reputation for being an expert in that area
  10. Hang out with other winners…don’t hold hands with losers

Don’t believe me if confidence matters…check out this awesome guy dancing…listen to the crowd’s reaction.


Marlene M. Bryan is a Distinguished Toastmaster, DTM. She is a certified speaker and leader by Toastmasters International. She is currently member of the Public Relations Team. She provides her services to over 3800 members throughout the district. Marlene is the owner of Small Biz Evolution, LLC. She is a Speaker, an Author and a Business Manger/Agent for Professional Speakers.

Dawnna St. Louis

The phone rang and I glanced over to see who was interrupting my busy day. It was Dawnna St. Louis, one of my mentors. I happily took her call because she always has nuggets of wisdom to share. This time it was different. It was a business offer.

Dawnna asked if I wanted to go with her to New Orleans to the Promotional Products Association International Women Leadership Conference. She was the closing keynote speaker. She wanted me to network for her during the conference. I would intermingle with the attendees, share information about Dawnna, and collect information that the attendees want to learn. Our mission was to secure at least two solid speaking engagements for Dawnna after the conference.

Of course I said “Yes.” Someone is going to fly me out to New Orleans, pay for my hotel, air and for what I love doing: networking and meeting new people? Absolutely, I was going.

The first night of the conference we attended the welcoming cocktail party. While Dawnna chatted with one of the other speakers, I floated around to meet the women. These women were quite friendly and welcomed me into their circle. I told them that I worked with Dawnna and she wanted to know what it is that they wanted to learn at the conference. Dawnna’s desired to ensure she delivered the most impactful speech and teach them “The Audacious Acts of Powerful Women Leaders,”  her keynote speech title.

The workshops and networking sessions started on Monday and concluded on Wednesday with Dawnna’s keynote speech. Throughout that time, I mingled with the attendees. As I learned about the women’s interests and career concerns, I shared the information with Dawnna. She incorporated this information in her speech to make it more effective for the audience. I also told the women they shouldn’t miss Dawnna’s speech. She would be sharing valuable tips for them to be more successful in their industry. I informed these women that Dawnna was one of my mentors that have given me the confidence to start and grow my business.

By the time Dawnna to take the stage, the women’s expectation and curiosity had grown. Dawnna entered the room with a lot of energy, boldness and music playing to engage the audience.  She threw out a challenge for four of them to get up on stage; if they thought they were audacious enough. The room exploded with excitement. The women rushed to the stage. I was in position to allow only four of them on stage. These women overcame whatever shyness they had and performed whatever acts Dawnna asked of them up on that stage. Here is an image of them having fun and the audience laughing along with them.

Next Dawnna shared her powerful story about going from being homeless to being the CIO of a multi-million-dollar company. She shared the challenges she faced in a male-dominated industry. This story resonated with the audience. Next she taught them how they can use audacious acts to become powerful women leaders in their careers. Finally, she concluded with questions from the audience that gave them an opportunity to get answers to burning questions they had. The event was a great success!

Here are things I learned from networking for Dawnna:

  1. Care about what the audience needs/wants and not what you think they want to know.
  2. Take the time to get to know them by listening more and talking less.
  3. Be open and genuine when you approach them, you will be accepted more readily.
  4. Offer to be of assistance to the event organizer. This goes a long way in getting access to your audience.
  5. It is not about you, the networker, it is about the person your are networking for and his/her audience.
  6. Perform your best for your client by going the extra mile.

The organizer requested that Dawnna and I attend the final dinner party in order for the women to speak with Dawnna in an informal setting. At the event, some of the women chatted with Dawnna while I got testimonials from the others on a cell phone. They were too happy to share that they thought Dawnna was the best speaker at the conference. They also told Dawnna what I great job I did for her. Our goal was to secure two new speaking engagements after the conference. We secured five! Mission Accomplished!


Thank you for reading my post. Please hit the “follow” button at the top of the page to allow me to share more Purposeful thoughts, ideas and experiences with you. Feel free to leave a comment or share the article with others.


Marlene M. Bryan is a Distinguished Toastmaster, DTM. She is a certified speaker and leader by Toastmasters International. She is currently the District 47 Public Relations Officer, and leader of the Public Relations Team. She provides her services to over 3800 members throughout the district. Marlene is the owner of Marlene M. Bryan, Corp and Small Biz Evolution, LLC. She is a Speaker, an Author and a Business Coach.


Tarik Woodbine Writing and Directing Debut with Daniel Beldy Editing
Tarik Woodbine Writing and Directing Debut with Daniel Beldy Editing

“Mommy, I want to be an actor.” Like so many parents, my reaction was: “Whaaaatttt?” Emotions flooded in. Disbelief, apprehension, fear and hoping that you didn’t hear what your child just said. Let’s be honest most of us dread when a child tells us he or she wants to pursue a career that is so challenging, filled with pitfalls and saturated with so many people that want the same thing. My reaction to my then 12-year-old son’s, Tarik’s, declaration of his career choice was boardline panic.

After a few minutes of reflection, I realized that it was not about me. It had nothing to do with me. It was about his dreams and aspirations. Before he was born, I promised to be his dream enabler and not to stifle his song. There are lots of young black men in the grave and in jail not living their dreams. Here it is, a dream that I didn’t expect. But one he wanted and I decided to support him in living.

To validate that it truly was his dream I told him to do some research. Find out about it, what it takes to become and actor? Where can he go to practice? What does it cost? How will it fit in my schedule to be able to support him getting back and forth? Within a week he gave me his report. It was thorough. I waited a month to see if his desire would lessen. It didn’t. His wings were beginning to stretch out for flight.

This began his journey into the acting world. He rehearsed lines, had doubts, disappointments, didn’t get some call backs, got small parts, but he never quit. He refused to give up. He won acting awards in high school. He also fulfilled my request that he finished college. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a GPA of 3.85 from the University of Miami. Then he told me he was of to Los Angeles. Even now it hasn’t been easy. He had to get a job as a waiter to accommodate the schedule of auditions, acting classes, etc. He is flapping his wings. They are getting stronger.

He called me one day and said: “Mom, I am writing screenplays. I’m going to create some movies with my friends. Beldy (his friend from UM) is partnering up with me.” I was impressed with his Chutzpah. Instead of waiting for circumstances to come his way, he decided to make his own circumstances. He connected with others in the same situation and they began to create mini movies. Here is the first one Tarik wrote and directed with Beldy working on camera and editing. He is spreading his wings wider to be able to soar higher to new LEVELS.

It is said it takes a Village to raise a child. My heartfelt thanks go out to all of you that have already shared and send words of encouragement. Watch him in action. He is in the black and white top. Please share this with others; if you enjoyed watching it.