Nicole LaBonde received a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Dance, as well as a degree in Music, from Eastern University, on Philadelphia’s Main Line.
She is the creator behind CABARRET, a new dance fitness program that combines ballet and burlesque. Nicole is also the founder of Public Persona, a public speaking coaching and consulting firm, which uses theatre techniques to teach public speaking.
Nicole also teaches Pilates at True Pilates Miami in Hallandale Beach, FL. She is a certified Pilates Instructor through the prestigious Romana’s Pilates program and whose work and teaching comes directly from Mr. Pilates himself!
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you elaborate on how you use theatre techniques to help teach public speaking? Can you share a tip with our readers who get anxious when speaking to groups?
Nicole: Sure! Theatre is all about telling stories. Part of our anxiety when we speak in public comes from feeling that we HAVE to impart something of great value. If we told ourselves we were sharing a story, and inviting the audience to be a part of it, a lot of those anxious feelings would dissipate. It is the letting go that you become the character. It is investing in your moment that you leave the worries of outside appearances behind. Theatre teaches us how to do that, and it is incredibly applicable in public speaking and presenting. We want our audiences to be caught up in the moment with us. But if we aren’t, how can we expect them to be? I created Public Persona’s coaching services to teach the skills that will have you fully embodying the moment, and bringing your audience right along with you. One of those skills is breathing. It sounds incredibly simple but often, when we speak, we forget to breathe, and then our voice changes, and we speak faster, and we hear ourselves doing it, and we can’t stop, and the cycle continues and continues, sending us further out of control and deeper into anxiety. Mark places in your speech notes to breathe. Write it in just like you do your words. It’s actually probably more important than them!
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk us through the process and inspiration behind the merging of your three businesses? What’s been the most challenging aspect so far?
Nicole: I’ve realized that even though my business appear to be different: Fitness , Mind/Body Coaching and Public Speaking, they really all have one thing in common- Confidence. So, I’m currently in the process of putting all the businesses under one website (www.cabarretfit.com and www.publicpersonallc.com will soon automatically redirect to their own pages on www.nicolelabonde.com ). This has made me get incredibly clear on what, exactly I offer, and how those things benefit my audience. Confidence has become my main target. The most challenging thing has definitely been the letting go of some products I worked really hard on. Like the original websites for the businesses. I was very proud of them. But, they simply are not serving their purpose (bringing in business) as well as I would like, so some changes need to be made.
BusinessInterviews.com: What happens during the first session with a Confidence Coach?
Nicole: We determine what you goals are. Fitness, nutrition, public speaking, online content creation, online branding, mind/body connection or mindset work. Many clients have a desire to pick more than 1 area, but, I remind them, from my personal experience, that targeting and simplifying is more effective! From there, we make a course of action- my program is called Ten to Transformation, so we plan out our 10 sessions, starting from the end. We know what our goal is, so we reverse engineer. Then the client knows, from day 1, what is expected to get what she has said she wants! And I give homework!
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk about the process of developing a new dance fitness program that combines ballet and burlesque? What strategies have you used when it comes to marketing?
Nicole: CABARRET came about because I was looking for a class to take. I was no longer a professional dancer, and would go to company class and feel intimidated or competitive, or worse, bad about myself. Pole dancing is super popular in Miami, but it wasn’t for me (way too hard on my shoulders). I went to a barre class and thought- “What the heck? This has nothing to do with the barre as I know it!”
So, I decided to make my own! Ballet was my first love, but my body really found it’s favorite way to move in vintage jazz/Fosse style movement. So, I combined them. I figured I couldn’t be alone in feeling like there wasn’t a “right” option out there for my fitness needs. And I was right! Other people like my class too!
For marketing, I started by teaching it in places where I was already teaching Pilates, so I already had the “know, like and trust factor” with the studio/gym owners and the students. From there, I approached other gyms with the testimonials of current students. I use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for online presence.
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s the biggest risk that you’ve ever taken and how did it turn out?
Nicole: Ha. Well, the biggest risk I’ve taken emotionally is probably staying in Florida and pursuing my own business ideas. I moved to Florida over a year ago, with great expectations. Dream job. Dream city. Dream life. I quickly realized that things were not going reach “dream” level. I wasn’t getting paid in a timely fashion. Moving was expensive. Living was expensive. It was hard to meet people. I was discouraged. Scared. Lonely. And then it got worse. The job was gone (due to no fault of my own, I might add. The company couldn’t pay their bills.). So there I was. In a new city for less than a year. With just a few friends, a small network, and no job. My expectations were completely, and thoroughly dashed. And I chose to stay, because I had these ideas for business, and I knew I had the expertise and credentials to back them up.
It really would have been easier to go back to Philly. I had friends, my family was within a 6 hour drive, I had good networks in dance, fitness and theatre. I’m not sure how it’s turned out yet. It’s still a work in progress! But I think I’m on the right track! If I had gone back, it would have felt like giving up on myself. Plus, if you can make a life in South Florida, why wouldn’t you?! Sunshine and beach, yes please!
BusinessInterviews.com: How have you been preparing for the launch of your first online course in January 2014?
Nicole: I have a couple of interviews (besides this one!) coming up that will help me advertise it. I’ve been asking friends and clients what their pressing issues are that they wish someone would address. I’ve been writing a lot. It looks like the content will focus on mind/body connection and personal/professional balance. Those areas really do have a lot in common, as they require a lot of self-listening. And of course this new website update is critical!
I’ve played on Google Hangout frequently, which will be the platform. I think that’s going to be so cool, because video is just so much more personal- a face AND a voice. Plus, it will automatically record to YouTube, so my students will be able to access it, even after the course is over!