About Milo - My Story
aka: "How on earth does one become an
improviser / teambuilder
speaking-coach / author?"
In 2000, after 15 years of computer programming and
system analysis, I took a huge leap from the safety of that realm into the world of
my passion: sharing the power & lessons of improvisation in the business
I had seen in my improv classes over the previous ten years how the
lessons carried over into everyone's lives. For me, it made me a creative
programmer who could listen better to my clients and negotiate better solutions.
At heart, I always was an improviser.
Walking away from the security of my last job
was probably the most difficult choice of my life but I'd had too many people
tell me that I was missing my calling and I knew it was true. The time had come
to turn my passion for improv and its value into a career.
Initially, my focus was to go back into organizations, having
worked within them for so long, and use the power of improv
games to convey crucial teamwork skills, like listening,
building upon the ideas of others, and creative problem solving.
The result was the TEAMprovising™
course that I've been leading ever since, from tiny
organizations where all staff attend to sections of large
organizations like Southwest Airlines, Union Bank, and the US
Navy. So now I was a
couple of years of leading TEAMprovising™,
people kept saying, "This is powerful stuff! It's changing
our work environment. It's even changing how I work with
my spouse and my kids. You need to get out and speak to
I found the idea intriguing, having done Toastmasters for many
years, so I began studying through the National Speakers
Association and knew I wanted to speak
professionally...eventually. But life threw me an
In early 2002,
I was asked to lead a crowd of professional speakers in some
improv games to warm them up for the event to come. I was
nervous about a big crowd, but I agreed. When I stepped
onto the stage, the cameraman yelled out, "Remember everyone, no
talking for the whole ten minutes he's on stage and face forward
the whole time!" I couldn't lead them in games like
that...and I was already on the stage! So I took a deep
breath and made up a 10 minute speech about my life as an
improviser...on the spot.
I have no idea what I said now,
but I remember someone came up to me at the break and asked if I
would speak at her Rotary club the next week. And the
rest, as they say, is history...leading to years of solo
speeches for groups like the Department of Defense, Qualcomm,
and Minolta. So now I was a
|In late 2002,
an improviser that I knew was asked to give a speech at a
conference. He wanted
to do improv to make business point stick, like I do in
TEAMprovising. I explained to him that
we'd need to do more than just perform; it would have to have a
speech format with games within
it. The result: The IMPROVfessionals with our Top
Together, we found ten games that
lent themselves to ten valid points about management and
teamwork. We both spoke briefly about our expertise in these area and then
performed the game to make
our point. "Whose Line Manager Is It Anyway?" was an
instant hit and we later booked it for
Pfizer, Kodak, and others.
By changing the topic a little, we
developed lists on Sales, Event Planning, and more, just titling
these programs "Laugh In The Fast Lane".
We found that attendees liked the fun;
management liked the fact it wasn't JUST fun...there were
business lessons in the program that hit home. And I loved
that I was blending the entertainer in me
with something that would make a difference to the audience.
So now I was a professional entertainer.
A number of other speakers began
asking me for pointers, which I was flattered to offer, but then
something bizarre started to happen: conference attendees
started lingering afterward to ask if I would coach them!
I'd always gotten high praise for my evaluations in
Toastmasters, but I'd never
considered it a possible career direction.
I approached it cautiously at first. The growth in my
new clientele, though, was quickly clear and they began sharing
excitement over something that had been unnerving to them
previously. I found that coaching in public speaking
was something that not only suited me, but greatly satisfied me
as well -- to have such direct impact on someone's life and job
satisfaction in this area.
Since then, I've worked with
hundreds of people, including
CEOs, business presidents, sales people, middle managers,
authors...even beauty pageant contestants and unemployed job
applicants. I'm so proud of the testimonials on this site
from these people -- and proud of their growth as well.
Along the way, I've done some duo, trio, and small class
training as well, but the one-on-one is still my favorite way.
So now I was a speaking coach.
|Not surprisingly, clients asked if
there were books I could recommend so I began reading what was
out there. Repeatedly, I came to the same conclusion:
"I'm bored!" This was a topic I loved, but the books
I was finding weren't fun to read.
The message was clear: Write a book on public speaking
from the perspective of someone who speaks professionally, has
both an improv and a business background, and has watched a LOT
of amateurs and professionals both fail and succeed.
The result? "Public Speaking: Get A's, Not
on this site and Amazon)
So now I was an author, too. In fact, since then
I've written a fun book of true-life short stories with life
lessons (hey, you can only use so many in your speeches) called
"The Worst Days Make The BEST Stories...and Other Life Lessons."
I also have a humor book...sort of a novel, but different...that
I hope to have available before long.
What's next? I keep thinking,
"Nothing else!" But life has a way of saying,