Photo by Brian Kraft Photography
You can get caught when you're communicating every day--particularly if you haven't taken the time to come up with a plan and prepare for what you're going to say and how you're going to interact with an audience, whether that audience is live and in front of you, or scattered and on social networks. You can get caught by surprise, by the crisis you didn't see coming, by a clever interviewer, by your own slide deck or by an irate audience member...or, sometimes, by an audience member with a nice question you hadn't thought through before the session.

I’m Denise Graveline, and I call my consultancy don't get caught because it's a framework for communicating effectively.  If you're prepared, knowledgeable, trained and ready, you won't get caught. I work with communications pros, and every other kind of executive, to help them make sure they don't get caught unprepared, speechless or without a message.

You're in the right place if you need:
  • Speechwriting or message development to help you figure out what you want to say in speeches, presentations and media interviews.
  • Social media strategies for specific events or your overall approach to engaging audiences on social media, with emphasis on strategies that fit your staffing and budget. I don't execute social media strategies, preferring to help you develop them. I offer training to get your team up to speed on the possibilities for using social media strategically, and to develop your skills on specific social networks.
  • Speaker and presentation training and coaching for groups or individuals. I can coach you in advance of a big talk, train a group so it meets particular standards in speaking or presenting, coach many speakers backstage at your conference, and more. Speaker coaching can include message development and speechwriting, as needed. I also train people to be more effective in media interviews, and in handling public spokesperson roles in crisis communications.
My approach is all about preparing to communicate clearly and well--and one that I honed while directing communications and media relations for some of the largest nonprofits in the world, and for a U.S. federal agency. Specifically, my experience includes:
  • Directing media relations and authoring key publications for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted to health and health care. While at the Foundation, I also worked extensively on developing the first philanthropic grant programs to fund AIDS health services and prevention.  I'm still active in philanthropic circles through the Communications Network in Philanthropy, and I was a founding member of Funders Concerned About AIDS.
  • Directing communications for two of the largest scientific professional societies: The American Association for the Advancement of Science and its journal, Science, and for the American Chemical Society. As a result, I’ve worked with every discipline of science and engineering to translate technical research findings for the public and the news media and I've trained thousands of scientists to do so. 
  • Serving as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Communications, Education and Public Affairs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, overseeing five divisions including the press office, communications planning, constituent relations, broadcasting and publications; serving as a primary public and media spokesperson for the Agency; serving on the White House Council on Women; and coordinating the creation of the agency's first web site. As a result, I’ve worked on every major environmental and public health issue, and served as a liaison with Congress and the White House, while overseeing day-to-day management of a public affairs operation with a $15 million budget.
  • Working as a magazine journalist, editor and developer, on a freelance basis and for Whittle Communications, which published Esquire and more than 30 other national magazines.  I covered parenting, medicine, business, film and more. That means I write fast and accurately.
Today, my consulting focuses on communications strategies, message development and speaker training for corporations, the federal government, universities, nonprofits, and major conferences. (See a full list of my clients.) My focus is preparation and advance work, whether you need help preparing a speech or coming up with a social media strategy. It's rare that I propose a solution that I will execute for your organization or company--my preference is to give you the skills and tools you can use over and over again to prepare a message, deliver a speech or handle your social media communications. I don't hand my work over to junior executives. When you hire me for my advice, you get me and my advice, directly.

I work across sectors and with a wide range of executives, but I do have a few specialties of note. I've trained thousands of scientists in every discipline to bring their research to the public and the media. I cover women and public speaking, and am well-versed in the research on what makes public speech different for women. And I've coached more than 140 speakers featured at the TEDMED conference, at TEDx conferences around the world, and on TED.com. I've coached many more speakers to give talks in the style of TED for everyday presentation purposes.

Want to figure out what to do next in social media, get ready for a big talk or presentation, or develop a message you can use to reach that important audience? Email me at eloquentwoman AT gmail DOT com and let's get started.

I’m adept and active in social media, and author two blogs: the don’t get caught blog on communications and social media strategies, and The Eloquent Woman, a blog on women and public speaking. I also manage The Eloquent Woman on Facebook, a thriving community for discussing public speaking issues, and the don't get caught page on Facebook. You can find and follow me on Twitter, on Facebook and on LinkedIn, and I’m always trying new social media options so I can help my clients do the same.

I’m a native of New Britain, Connecticut; a graduate of Boston University’s School of Public Communication (now its College of Communications) with a degree in journalism; and winner of Washington Women in Public Relations’ 2002 Washington PR Woman of the Year award. I’m a member of the Communications Network in Philanthropy and the UK Speechwriters Guild. I live in Washington, D.C.

View Denise Graveline's profile on LinkedIn

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No one pays me to write this blog, either in general or for a specific post. My intent is to share with my clients and prospective clients the ideas and products I think they’ll find useful in pursuit of communications and social media. Links to books and products in my posts, or in the store for this site, often are Amazon affiliate links, which means I receive a small amount of compensation if you purchase a product through that link directly, but not otherwise. When I review products, I buy them myself; on occasion, I receive review copies of books, although I actually prefer electronic access to them. None of that changes what I write, or whether I write about a particular product or book. I do blog about my clients and the work I do with many of them, where that’s permissible. However, none of my clients compensate me for their mentions here, and I like it that way.