How Tidying Up Your Mind Can Spark Public Speaking Joy

As millions of people now know, Marie Kondo — the international de-cluttering guru and author of four bestselling books — has a new show on Netflix called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

Her message is simple and powerful: You can live a better life when every object in your home matters (in Kondo’s words, “sparks joy”).

Now I’m no stranger to tidying/organizing/purging. I live in a 750-square ft. New York City apartment with my spouse, a jazz guitarist (equipment!), so getting rid of things is pretty much the definition of self-defense. But when I’d tried to read Kondo’s first book, I couldn’t get past page 10. Her approach seemed too absolute, too austere, too much.

So figure my surprise when, halfway through episode 1 of her TV show, I was sold.

I couldn’t wait to start tidying!

The Marie Kondo Approach to Streamlining

For every object in your house, the Kondo’s (self-named) method, “KonMari,” asks:

  • Does it “spark joy”?

And (if you can’t answer that question),

  • Do I want to take it into the future?

And though the method has five steps — first you tidy up clothes, then books, then papers, then “miscellaneous” (bathrooms, kitchen, basement, etc.), then sentimental items like photos — the most important step comes before those five.

That’s when Kondo asks you to imagine the life you’d like to have in the future…  the one that you may or may not be taking your current stuff into.

How KonMari and My Public Speaking Coaching Services Are Similar

Here are just a few things our methods have in common:

1. Start With an Image of What’s Possible

Remember when Kondo asks you to imagine the life you’d like to have in the future? Well with public speaking coaching, we do the same. We’ll imagine the person you want to be when you communicate for business. And then we’ll work to get you there.

But there are other important similarities, too — and the main one is how Marie Kondo works with her clients.

2. Magic Happens When You Tidy up Your Message

Many people are caught up in the chaos that’s created when their homes overflow with stuff.  And many public speakers are caught up in the chaos that’s created when their messages overflow with words.

Would you rather hear someone say:

We’re working toward providing the sort of quality in our new product that meets and exceeds the expectations of our target audience.”


We’re working hard to make new products that you’ll love!

That’s what it sounds like when you eliminate public speaking clutter. (Marie Kondo would be proud!)

But that’s not even the biggest similarity between KonMari and public speaking coaching.

3. Real Transformation Can Only Happen When You Do The Work Yourself

A lot of “makeover” shows present themselves as DIY — but aren’t really do-it-yourself because a behind-the-scenes crew is doing all the hard work that goes into a transformation.

Take Queer Eye, one of my favorite reality shows.

If you haven’t seen the latest season, five gay guys from Atlanta drive to someplace in rural Georgia, pop out of their van, and induct someone (usually, though not always, a straight man) into the ranks of cool by teaching him how to dress, groom, decorate his home, and cook party basics.

The show couldn’t be more delightful, and the relationship stories are always winners.

The only problem, from a DIY point of view, is that most of the real magic happens offstage. The person who’s being transformed doesn’t do most of the grunt work, and we viewers don’t get to observe that process and find out how it’s really done.

Not so with Marie Kondo, who instructs, offers support, and then sets her subjects off on a journey where they will do the heavy lifting themselves.

My public speaker coaching is the same way.

Imagine that you come to me wanting to create a TED Talk  … and then, two scenes later, we see you presenting triumphantly at a TEDx event.

No good.

There are lots and lots of steps in between idea and execution as a public speaker, just as there are lots and lots of steps if you want to pursue the KonMari method of tidying.

Just as Marie Kondo has her clients touch, evaluate, and relate to every object in their homes, my clients get to touch, evaluate, and measure their commitment to every word in a speech that we’re writing together.

They get to experience what it’s like to speak every single word in a message with clarity and commitment, instead of rushing through some prefab phrase and hoping that the point is made.

4. Learn What Sparks Public Speaking Joy for You

Most of all, my clients, like Marie Kondo’s, develop a sensitivity to what sparks joy in them.

Because if an idea doesn’t spark joy in you — the person who’s speaking it — how will it ever spark joy in an audience?

So, if you want to tidy up your public speaking — if you want to envision the best public speaker that you can be and then work step-by-step to achieve that result — and if you’re not afraid to jump in, learn a new skill, and get your hands and mind, and body deeply involved in a fantastically satisfying DIY project, public speaker coaching with me might be just the method for you.

Contact me, and let’s find out.

My books, ready to be tidied.
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