A shy, middle child, Merri preferred listening to speaking. Her introverted communication style often made her feel incapable or not quite good enough. Encouraged by high school teachers who helped her find her voice, Merri soon realized her nervousness with speaking wasn’t noticeable to others. As she spoke about things meaningful to her, her passion showed up, her poise developed and her motivation for balancing speaking with listening grew.
Merri’s public speaking development hinged on two things:
- encouragement from others, which an introvert needs
- awareness of 4 communication styles, which taught her there is no single perfect style. Those who doubt their abilities all have something to offer listeners
A self-proclaimed introvert and practicing extrovert
Merri has come to conclusions about how to push herself out of her introvert comfort zone while honoring her natural skills. Likewise, she helps others achieve what is important to them (power? pride? pleasure? peace of mind?) while stretching their skill sets. She has been a requested presenter/coach for the Columbus Bar Association, the Ohio Bar Association, the Supreme Court of Ohio and will this fall begin regularly contributing to the Law Student Blog of the American Bar Association.
Her mission of helping attorneys and other introverted speakers speak with confidence arose from her own discovery of how she and others create barriers in every day communication. Her motivation to continue this mission comes from watching introverts come alive as they discover their public speaking abilities and break down self-imposed communication barriers.
Using elements of the DISC communication style profile, her own background in theater performance and her coaching and teaching background (HS teacher from 1984-2000), Merri helps lawyers and other introvert speakers discover their communication strengths and break down barriers to use them for business development, leadership and influence.
Merri coaches attorneys in public speaking and communication strategies
She is an introvert. 64% of lawyers can relate to this temperament.
Although she understands the desire to plan ahead, to avoid self-promotion and to minimize over-stimulation, she knows the power of responding in the moment, voicing one’s personal value, and sharing novel ideas. She helps her lawyers break down barriers to accomplish this, whether they are introvert, extrovert or ambivert. How? She starts by encouraging them in why their natural communication skills are meaningful.
She is an educator. Attorneys consistently research and interpret.
Merri values depth of study and preparation which is why she wants speakers to understands their audience. Not only focusing on listener interests, but also as a speaker she helps them understand their own communication style. The strengths of their style and the barrier patterns they are likely to create that gets in the way of sharing a confident, clear message that connects to listeners.
Ultimately, Merri helps attorneys and other speakers realize their speaking and communication power and what stands in the way, starting with her free workshop, Break Down Communication Barriers.Graduate of Bowling Green State University, teacher of speech/theatre for 16 years, trainer of the Certified Networker program for 4 years, and trained in adult learning
She is a performer, like the attorney, who needs to get things done.
The professional’s ability to shift from anxiety to enthusiasm, when all eyes are on them, is the mark of true performance.
Trained as both a theater director and performer, Merri helps lawyers relax into the challenging circumstances of having the spotlight on them, of sharing concise yet meaningful content, and of motivating action from their audience. Merri workshops and coaches her clients in authentic delivery, full-body expression and best use of voice to perform top results.
Gregg Goldston School of Mime at Gambier College/Kenyon University; National Shakespeare Conservatory, graduate of Protrack (National Speakers’ Academy)
Merri is a singer in a band and a pyromaniac
Many evenings and weekends Merri builds fires in her wood-burning fireplace to relax and decompress, yet also gets energized by its force. She also rehearses and/or sings with a Toledo, OH-based band, Someone’s Daughter which taps her creative side and keeps her feeling whole.
These roles extend Merri’s ability to consistently spark fires that last and perform well when outside her comfort zone. Not only do these things help Merri, they help her relate to her clients.
Columbus Bar Association
Ohio Bar Association
Ohio Attorney General’s Office
Ohio Supreme Court
American Bar Association
Individual managing partners, firm partners, litigators, leadership teams, associates, new lawyers, interns, paralegals, job seekers, entrepreneurs
Other introvert public speakers