The Notion: Acknowledge the Mentors on Your Journey to Success

Sooner or later, as a high-achieving professional, you’ll be invited to share your journey to success. The very thought may trigger a nervous response. After all, we’ve been socially conditioned not to “brag.”

Let’s simplify the process with a strategy. Every speech orbits a central theme. In the “about me” speech, it’s this:

Blurred image, Microphone on stage with blurred bright light background

Success is never a solo venture. Credit your influencers, role models, and mentors, though your personal triumph remains the focal point. Consider your life story as a three-act play:

Act I – your early years, Act II – career initiation, and Act III – the pinnacle of success.

To illustrate, let’s revisit my coaching experience with Alex, a prosperous executive and multimillionaire. At their annual gathering, 700 realtors were well aware of Alex’s financial success but ignorant of his humble upbringing as an illegitimate child. His speech commenced with, “I never knew my mother and met my father at 14. I was raised by my grandmother, and life was perfect.”

That set the scene for Alex’s Act I. Who was his first hero? His grandmother. He acknowledged her influence, her principles, her love, and her passing when he was 14. That’s when he relocated to live with his father and newfound siblings.

In Alex’s Act II, at 20, he was a milkman relishing his work-life balance. But the business owner recognized his potential and steered him toward entrepreneurship. The third act introduced his “adoptive grandfather,” another mentor who nudged him to supersede his self-perceived boundaries.

Alex’s speech wove through the lives of those whose guidance shaped his success. By featuring their actual words, Alex was a hero not because he was successful, but because he acknowledged those who made it possible.

Consider Joan, another client of mine from a tech firm, interviewing for a position within her company against an experienced candidate. She was successful but uncertain about discussing it. Her life story, too, was a three-act play.

Act I hero: her mother, who at 32, after losing her husband, was determined to provide for her family. She said to Joan, “This will never happen to you. Get an education so you can support a family if you’re alone.” She went back to school and inspired Joan to focus on her education.

Act II hero: a school counselor, recognizing her potential, helped Joan navigate her career path. In Act III, a supportive executive guided Joan towards strategic career planning, ensuring her success. Joan’s life was abundant with memorable stories and valuable advice, eventually securing her the job.

Inevitably, newly promoted executives were asked to narrate their career story. So, the narrative that secured Joan her job also became the presentation she delivered in her new role.

The essence of talking about yourself comfortably lies in crafting your narrative as a three-act play. The icing on the cake? Bestow the best lines to your characters. Replicate their advice in your speech. Alex did it with his grandmother’s, business consultant’s, and adopted grandfather’s advice. Joan followed suit with her mother’s, counselor’s, and executive’s guidance.

Imagine my thrill when a renowned celebrity athlete sought my expertise to design his speech for a Fortune 100 company. I suggested, “Design your speech like a screenplay. Open with ‘It was the most exhilarating moment of my life.’ What’s the story?” He disclosed it was winning a world-renowned race for the second time, after losing everything – a comeback narrative.

Don’t forget, if you need help to create the masterpiece of your masterpiece, Patricia Fripp can help.

Patricia was just awarded her second Cicero Speechwriting Award by the Professional Speechwriters Association.


“Thank you for making this the best presentation ever.  Also, for decades of teaching and coaching which has been incorporated into my leadership style and presence. You are a gift to the world and especially to the PayrollOrg and the thousands of lives you have touched.  We are blessed to have you in our lives and do not take your generosity for granted!” Linda Obertin, Senior Director, Human Resources, Global Payroll Lead, President 2023 PayrollOrg

“Heartfelt thanks. As my teacher, your talents helped my story to the MDRT main platform 3 times and countless other stages around the globe. Always a raving fan.” John Nichols, President, Acrisure Insurance Wholesale Solutions


I am on the couch reading “Just Another Brick” by Stephen J Moles “The Restoration of the Historic Walled Gardens at Croome” and remembering a wonderful afternoon spent last year on vacation. As I am back in the UK again, my message is more personal.  I hope you will enjoy.

My brother and I had the most amazing afternoon exploring the historic Walled Gardens at Croome Court. The book was a gift from our friends Chris and Karen Cronin, who are good friends with my brother Robert Fripp. You know, they’re the ones who create those massive stages and sets for rock shows, which they’ve also adapted for use in movie sound stages. However, their real labor of love is their garden, and that’s where we went to visit.

Being a tourist and learning about history is a pastime I love, so visiting Croome was a real treat.

The gardens there are the largest walled gardens in England, and they used to play a crucial role in supplying food for the occupants of the grand Croome Court. Just imagine the bustling activity of planting, nurturing, and harvesting that would have taken place there. It must have brought a sense of tranquility and stability to the people living in the big house. However, the true history of Croome is far more turbulent than the serene beauty we see today.

Let me take you back to a chilly morning in February 1840.

Picture this: all five furnaces supporting the Hot Wall are fired up, along with two additional furnaces pumping hot water to the glasshouses. If you were standing on Earls Walk, you’d witness the industrial revolution in action, with smokestacks belching out thick, black clouds of smoke, rousing the garden from its winter slumber. And if the wind blew from the east, the smoke would envelop the entire big house, obscuring it from view. These images serve as a reminder that the Walled Garden was primarily a food factory, rather than a serene countryside getaway.

The restoration of the gardens at Croome has been a step-by-step process.

As the Cronin’s told us, “You can’t start by restoring the glasshouses without first rescuing the pathways that lead to them.” The entire project has been spearheaded by the Cronins, who are both remarkable individuals with unique skills and strong personalities.

What you may find as amusing as we do, they embarked on this venture seeking a simpler life—a self-contained home and garden. They were fortunate enough to buy exactly what they were looking for without needing a mortgage.

When they first set eyes on the Croome Estate, it was a sight that defied description.

Enormous glasshouses lay in ruins, resembling shipwrecks surrounded by a sea of brambles. As Karen Cronin recalls, she was trying to take in the scene when her husband Chris uttered the words, “Well take it.” So much for a simpler life!

Our visit to the Walled Gardens at Croome was not only a beautiful experience but also a journey through time. Stephen J. Moles tells this story much better than I ever could, and I’m grateful to have received his book, “Just Another Brick,” as a gift from our friends.

If you are interested in history, gardens, or what can be accomplished by creative and generous people who believe they can turn the seemingly impossible into the possible.

The Walled Garden of Croome Court

Every story has a “Once Upon a Time.” The place where the intricate weave of values, experiences, and influences begins to shape the fabric of our lives.

As a speech coach, I guide my clients to revisit their own “Once Upon a Time”, unraveling the threads of their past to better understand the tapestry of their present. It is here, in our early years, where the essence of our unique voices and our authentic selves are formed. My “Once Upon a Time” has etched a distinct pattern into my professional journey. Growing up in a time and place with limited expectations for girls, I began to envision a life that starkly deviated from the norm of a small town in the South of England. As a small girl, it was the vision and wisdom from my parents that laid the foundation for my approach as a speech coach and set the stage for a life I had dared to imagine and have very much enjoyed.

“Once Upon a Time”

Patricia Fripp dreaming of growing up to be glamorous.

As a speech coach, I always ask my new clients to go back to the beginning of their lives to tell me where they were born and what did their parents do? What advice did they give that helped to form who they are now? What other influences did they have? This is what I call my “Once Upon a Time” technique.

When I was growing up in England, it was a time when nobody expected much of girls. Although I could not articulate it, I realized I did not want the same lives my friends had planned for themselves. We were expected to have a job for a few years, then get married and have children.

My brother Robert Fripp and I, grew up hearing our mother tell us stories of World War 11 and how Prime Minister Winston Churchill would get on the radio and just with the power of his well-crafted words inspire and energize the nation as many huddled in bomb shelters and all queued up for an hour for an orange. Little did I know then, the realization of the power of well-chosen and well-crafted words would eventually become my life’s work.

When I was twelve, I knew I was more artistic than academic and enjoyed engaging with, and learning from, adults.

It seemed a good idea to become a hairstylist in a high-class salon. That was my goal and vision for the future.

My father was a successful auctioneer and real estate agent. We lived above his business premises. One Sunday, sitting in his front office, I was looking through the Sunday newspapers. In the News of The World was a photo of a glamorous movie star, wearing a designer suit with a mink coat over her shoulders. She was posed standing at the door of a plane, a perfect frame to the photo.

Suddenly, I felt a burst of energy go through my body.

What I would now compare to the power surge of rebooting your computer. At that moment, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that one day, I was going to have a job where I would wear glamorous clothes, drape mink coats over my shoulders, and travel the world on airplanes.

This vision as a twelve-year-old did not fit my reality or understanding. However, I can still see that image and feel the energy.

At age fifteen, for six days a week, I sat upstairs on the #24 bus going to Bournemouth where I served my hairstyling apprenticeship. Surrounded by my friends who were also working their first jobs, we would chat and discuss our lives and plans for the future. One morning, my chums were talking about growing up and marrying millionaires. We didn’t know any, especially in the age range we were likely to meet someone and marry! Decades later, I still vividly remember thinking, “It is much more practical to be a millionaire than marry one.” I had no idea how that would happen. I just knew my life would be different from my friends.

Arthur and Edie Fripp. Parents to Robert and Patricia

It might interest you to know, that my mother and father gave me advice that my friends did not get from their parents. The first day of my apprenticeship, as my dad said goodbye he said, “In your career, do not concentrate on making a lot of money. Rather concentrate on becoming the type of person others want to do business with and you most likely will make a lot of money.” My very glamorous mother said, “Of course, it is the inner you that is important. However, you have to dress up and look good so that you can attract people who will then find out how nice and smart you are and value you can be to them.”

Now that you have heard mine, how does your “Once Upon a Time” story begin?

Where has it taken you? Where will it take you?

When Your Presentations Must Be Memorable…Patricia Fripp can help.

“Patricia, you saved the day! I was summoned on rather short notice to speak as a keynote speaker for our corporate annual sales conference.

My task was to relate technical details to a non-technical audience.

Lucky for me, a week in advance I found FrippVT. I worked tirelessly devouring the FrippVT content most evenings until 2 a.m. to perform at the highest level possible.

Can you imagine my excitement to walk off stage and hear, “You stole the show,” “Are you a professional speaker?” and “The audience was hanging onto your every word.”

I cannot thank you enough for creating FrippVT. Having your wisdom, advice, and guidance 24/7 throughout my preparation for this speaking engagement gave me the knowledge and skill to be a success. Consider me your biggest fan.”

Scott Lelii, Head of Digital & IT, Volvo Construction Equipment – Sales Regions North & Latin America


Imagine this scenario: You’re about to step on stage as the speaker.

When Fripp speaks others listen.

The energy in the room is buzzing with anticipation.

As you prepare to captivate your audience with your words, there’s a valuable strategy I recommend you embrace before that moment.

Whenever possible, act as your own warm-up act. This is an often overlooked opportunity many speakers make.

When you build rapport with your audience beforehand, you can create an even more exciting and impactful experience.

Let’s dive into the advantages of establishing a connection with your audience before you take the stage. Or, as my co-author of Delver Unforgettable Presentations, Darren LaCroix calls it “before rapport.”


If you are a fan of Star Wars, you know Yoda is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe, first appearing in the 1980 film The Empire Strikes Back. He is a small, green humanoid alien who is powerful with the Force and is a leading member of the Jedi Order until its near annihilation.

Tom Drews is reading Deliver Unforgettable Presentations and Yoda looks over his shoulder.

Yoda is an iconic figure in popular culture due to his distinct pattern of speech and role as a wise mentor.

After my presentation at a recent Game Changers speaking conference organized by Darren LaCroix, several attendees asked, “Patricia you are a well-known speech coach, do you think Yoda would make a great public speaker?” They were surprised when I gave a more thoughtful answer than they expected.

“Certainly, Yoda is known for his wise and insightful sayings, which often carry deep meaning and have been quoted countless times. His unique speaking style, which involves rearranging sentences and using unusual syntax, has also become a signature of his character.

While Yoda’s speaking style might be memorable, it could also be challenging for some audiences to understand, particularly if they are not familiar with his language patterns. Also, Yoda’s character is known for being reserved and contemplative.  This may not translate well to a high-energy public speaking environment.

However, Yoda is an iconic character that many people admire and respect and frequently quote. If he were to deliver a speech on a topic that resonated with his audience, I believe he could captivate and inspire them with his wisdom and insights.”

Yoda would benefit from reading Deliver Unforgettable Presentations as it is a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their public speaking skills. By studying the techniques and strategies of successful speakers, Yoda like everyone else, can learn how to connect with their audiences and deliver unforgettable presentations that leave a lasting impact.


No, it is NOT!

How often have you heard, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” and believe it or questioned it?

Comedian Jack Benny’s classic pose

This is only the first part of a quote from Oscar Wilde.

It’s absolutely clear what Oscar Wilde meant (so many forget the second half of the quote) when he wrote “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”

As a speaking coach and professional speaker and long-time member of the National Speakers Association, I strongly advise against the practice of imitation in your public speaking.

Please be inspired by great public speakers. Learn to analyze what they do well and adapt to your own style and message. While it may be tempting to try to replicate the message, style, or mannerisms of a successful speaker, doing so will definitely be detrimental to your own growth and development as a speaker.


Rehearsal Is the Work in Sales Presentations

Oscar winner Sir Michael Caine said, “Rehearsal is the work; performance is the relaxation.” That applies equally to delivering a sales presentation.

When delivering a recent sales presentation skills training Dan, the national sales manager, told me, “It takes us a year to have the opportunity to deliver an hour presentation to executives from the company of one of our prospects. At that point, a new relationship is worth


On the evening of April 18, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren summoned Paul Revere and gave him the task of riding to Lexington, Massachusetts, with the news that British soldiers stationed in Boston were about to march into the countryside northwest of the town.  Paul Revere never shouted the legendary phrase later attributed to him “The British are coming!”

April 18, 1906, the San Francisco Earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, shook my now hometown and ranks as one of the most significant earthquakes of all time.

 April 18, 1956, Actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier of Monaco. They met filming the Hitchcock movie, To Catch a Thief (1955) in the French Riviera. For her, it was not love at first sight.

April 18 my birthday. I will not tell you what year I was born. Just let it be said that my good friend Steve Gerardi said, “You look like you are in your 40s…

Stories are the #1 way to increase sales

Have you noticed, some of your prospective clients act as if they have attended a seminar on How to Resist a Good Sales Presentation?

Even the most hardened prospect can’t resist a good story when it is well told. Keep in mind, when you tell stories of satisfied clients in the same situation they are in, they will not remember everything you say. They will, however, remember what they see and feel while they listen to you. Especially when you select a story that they relate to.

You can be confident this powerful story formula is invaluable.

Formula 1: Situation, Solution, Success


Whenever you open your mouth, whether your audience is one person or one thousand, you want to get a specific message across. Maybe you want your opinions heard at a meeting, or you will be giving a formal talk. Perhaps you deliver sales presentations. To present, persuade, and propel with the spoken word, be aware of this major pitfall: irritating non-words.

“Ur, um, ah, you know, kinda, well, like…”

Pay attention to whether you are unconsciously using these common non-words.

Non-words, also known as filler words or vocal crutches, are meaningless sounds or words that speakers use to fill the silence or pause between words or ideas. These non-words can include “um,” “uh,” “like,” “you know,” “so,” “well,” “actually,” and many others. While using non-words may seem like a natural part of speech, they can greatly detract from the effectiveness of a speaker’s message.