We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Sandra Zimmer. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Sandra below.
Hi Sandra, thanks for joining us today. Can you share a customer success story with us?
In 2011, Casey Davis, a medical supply salesman, called me with obvious distress in his voice. He shared that he was nominated for the salesperson of the year at his medical supply company. He said he was afraid he was going to win. He admitted he almost hoped he would not win, because if he won, he would have to give a speech at the award ceremony.
In that call, it was obvious to me that Casey was a man of excellence who could be held back if he did not learn to become comfortable speaking in front of groups. He was so talented at sales that he succeeded beyond every other salesperson in his company. Yet he was afraid to speak to groups.
We agreed for Casey to participate in the 8-week Sandra Zimmer Method Group Speaking course called Speaking from the Heart. During the program, I guided him through the set of exercises that allow my participants to relax deeply at the center of attention and discover their own natural abilities to speak authentically in front of groups.
Casey learned how to develop presence through grounding in his body which made him feel more comfortable in his skin at the center of attention. He learned to use a soft eye contact to receive the flow of attention from listeners and make genuine connection with them. He practiced thinking on his feet and telling his own stories and lessons learned. He also rigorously challenged negative beliefs about his speaking abilities and released his own expectations that he should be perfect. When Casey completed that group program, he was significantly more comfortable and confident speaking to his group.
By that time, he had won the Salesman of the Year and needed to prepare for his speech which was now four weeks away. Casey and I worked in three private sessions to plan and practice his talk. Because Casey had learned to be authentic, he was eager to tell the stories about his struggles to succeed at sales. He hoped his speech would inspire others at his company. And so it did!
The night of the award ceremony, he gave a stunningly successful speech. Here is what he wrote about his speech at the award ceremony.
Last Wednesday night was one of the most amazing nights of my life! My speech was …life changing for me and for the audience. I was so connected to the group, and everyone was connected with me. It was like having strings to everyone. They responded to everything I said. I enjoyed it! It was fun! There were 400 people there including our CEO, VPs and Directors. People were crying and cheering! Many people came up to me afterwards and said they had never heard a speech like mine. The people who knew that I have been terrified in the past were astounded at what I did. My CEO and VP said that I inspired them! Thank you, Sandra! You have made a difference in my life!”
Casey is one of thousands of Houston professionals I have guided through my Sandra Zimmer Method Public Speaking Experience over the past 30 years. My approach to public speaking is not a traditional mechanical approach. Rather, I nurture people into great public speaking by connecting them to their natural abilities to express themselves authentically in a totally supportive, non-critical atmosphere. They speak with remarkable ease because they are calm, comfortable and confident to speak from a state of presence that allows them to flow their speech.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
Sandra Zimmer & Self-Expression Center
I am Sandra Zimmer, Founder, CEO and Chief Star-Maker at Self-Expression Center. Self-Expression Center is a company I created to provide a safe and supportive space for professionals to learn to communicate authentically, expressively and powerfully. It is also a safe space I created for myself to teach the skills I knew and experiment with the methods I intuitively knew would work to get people into a zone for speaking.
How I got into my life’s work
I was trained and have university degrees in psychology, acting, voice & diction, meditation, self-awareness and soul-awareness. I had the right set of experiences to develop courses and coaching for clients to learn skills which would empower their professional careers and enhance leadership skills. Those skills include authentic public speaking, leadership presence, vocal power, accent reduction and interview preparation.
My challenges led me to the unusual career path I have followed. I got into my life’s work because I had so much stage fright and fear of public speaking. As an actor, I was good but not great because I did not know how to be authentic and present onstage. I was not going to be a professional actor. What to do with myself? I was lost for several years.
Then in 1985, one night onstage in a community theater performance of the musical “Camelot, I almost lost my costume in front of 200 people. I had to respond in the moment to keep my costume from falling off. That accident triggered me into a state of presence that I had never experienced in front of an audience. Suddenly, I felt totally calm, comfortable, present and enormously powerful onstage. My acting was flowing in the moment, totally authentic and real. And I also felt a palpable, spiritual connection to the audience as though I were at-one with them. That extraordinary experience only lasted that night and was gone the next day. I did not know how to get back into that state.
That experience set me on a journey to learn what had happened and how I could get back there on purpose. Over the next 4 years, I taught myself how to be presence and perform in a flow state onstage. It felt so good that I knew I had to share it. I began to intuit how to guide others to transform their stage fright into that “zone” of authentic presence in front of others. My method evolved into a system to teach people how to be calm, comfortable and confident speaking to groups.
What services I offer
For the past 30 years, I have facilitated hundreds of groups and thousands of individuals to develop an authentic style of public speaking based on being who they are rather than who they think they should be. The one thing I know for sure after all this time is that people who have the most anxiety about public speaking have the potential to be stars at speaking….because they have the most feelings. Their feelings are up to the surface where they can be used to create genuine connection with listeners and to speak from passion.
Since developing the Sandra Zimmer Method, I have extended my programs to include leadership and executive presence, cultivating gravitas, interview preparation, vocal presence and on-camera presence. Every program I offer is focused on helping people shine when they speak.
The main problem I solve
The main problem I solve is low self-confidence when it comes to speaking in groups. My clients are often brilliant at what they do, but they don’t feel fully confident to speak about their expertise or share their ideas in meetings, presentations, interviews or webinars. That is holding them back from promotions, advancements and having the impact they want to have.
What sets me apart
What sets me apart from other speech coaches is my ability to help free clients to simply be who they are while sharing their ideas, insights and expertise. I have a gift for seeing who people are and for drawing out their natural abilities to express themselves authentically.
What I am most proud of
What I am most proud of is how all my clients develop their own style of speaking based on being who they are rather than who they think they should be. Their ability to impact their community, company and the world soars. They have dominion over themselves and agency to impact the world, just by being themselves. I get to add value to the world through freeing my clients to make an impact.
What I want potential clients, followers and fans to know about me and my company
What I want potential clients to know about me and my company are threefold. First, I want them to know that they can learn to shine with confidence when they speak to groups, in meetings and presentations even if they quake in their shoes at the thought of public speaking. Second, understand that their anxiety is not a symptom of something wrong with them. It is a sign of something very right, they are passionate. All of those fears and anxieties can be turned into power to speak with passion. Third, I know how to guide them to be calm and comfortable and to shine with confidence when they speak, sell, lead or present. I have been successful at this for over 30 years. My clients have become wildly successful, and I still love doing it.
How to contact me
Find me on the web at www.SandraZimmer.com or call 281-293-7070. Self-Expression Center is located at 11221 Richmond Avenue, Suite C-104, Houston, TX 77082. My clients are from all over the world, some are here in Houston, others work with me virtually. I offer live and virtual groups, individual coaching and also offer an online video course at www.SandraZimmerMethod.com .
Can you open up about how you funded your business?
In 1992, I started my business on $10,000 that my paternal grandmother left me in her will. Her contribution came just at the right time when I was looking to find a space to rent as my studio. I spent $3000 on carpeting for the space in Carillon Center in West Houston, a little on necessary legal fees and some on several cans of paint to fix up the space I leased “as is.” About 15 of my clients showed up along with my parents to help make the space ready to start classes. I also had to spend some for advertising in local magazines. Since then, my business has sustained itself. I have never gotten a loan until recently when PPP loans were available for small businesses. I am certainly grateful for that!
What’s been the most effective strategy for growing your clientele?
Of all the marketing, advertising and social media strategies for building my clientele, the most effective strategy has been Google Adwords. When I started my company, all I knew to do was to purchase tiny 1-2 inch print ads in local magazines. Next, I typed out flyers which I addressed and stamped myself and mailed out to a few hundred people. I built a website in 1994 in hopes that it would draw clients. It did not.
A few years later, out of the blue, I got a phone call from Google. The woman on the phone said Google would create a list of 100 top keywords and prepare some Google Adwords for me for a very reasonable fee. I said yes immediately. Within a couple weeks I had ads running on Google that started a stream of potential clients calling me.
In 2000, I hired my first web marketer. Garrett Simmons was a sophomore in high school who was a genius at internet marketing. He had been partnering with Google since he was 12 years old. He took over my Google Adwords and SEO and increased my business significantly. Since then I’ve hired Schipul, Softway and now Optidge to manage my web marketing and SEO.
No matter what other strategies I use to connect with clients, web marketing has been the best. I think this is because people are searching for what I offer and they call me to find out more. Fortunately, I am good at listening, asking questions and selling myself.
- Website: http://www.sandrazimmer.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sandra.zimmer2
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sandrazimmer/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/sandrazimmer
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/sandrazimmer
- Other: https://www.sandrazimmermethod.com/ Sandra Zimmer Method Online Video Course
Tyrone Moncriffe speaking at Harvard Law School Sandra Zimmer’s book Casey Davis Salesman of the Year speech Christine Gust speaking at Colorado State Capitol Sandra Zimmer photo by Debbie Porter Sandra Zimmer photo by Debbie Porter