Whats Your Zipline?

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A few years ago, I was with 20 of America's most effective presenters ? The Speakers Roundtable ? at the Pecos River Conference Center near Sante Fe, NM. We were working on our communication skills, not unlike the work we do in our own Excellence in Speaking Institute (ESI) classes.

At Pecos River, a zipline was a part of an outward bound-type challenge for attendees to check their own nerve. Set from a rock at the top of a mesa to a point below, the zipline dared us to ride down holding only its wooden handle.

Now, the mesa was about the height of the average 18-story building. Challenging and unnerving? You bet! But we all did it.

The best part was that we learned more about ourselves and recognized new, expanded personal limitations. It was a benchmark experience that I remember nearly as vividly as the day of the plunge.

Cut to our ESI classes, where we have our own version of the zipline challenge: define and confront any personal obstacles that are in the way of being your best.

Day Three is a very dramatic one in most all of our Institutes. Attendees leave feeling they can confront and best their former communications hurdles.

So, what's your zipline? What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them. You can use these previous successes to push beyond previous limits and travel down your own zipline.

Ty Boyd, CEO of Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems (, is in the Broadcast Hall of Fame and the Speakers Hall of Fame. He has taught presentation skills to Fortune 1000 executives in more than 40 countries. His Excellence In Speaking Institute celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2005.

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