Confidence Unleashed: Owning the Stage with Authentic Presence with Dr. Christina Madison [In-Person Speaking Series] Podcast Ep: 348

Confidence Unleashed: Owning the Stage with Authentic Presence with Dr. Christina Madison

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When you step on stage, I know you want to feel comfortable and confident, to project authenticity and energy.

Developing your confidence and stage presence happens both externally and internally.

When your content and your delivery are aligned, you can have a bigger impact on your audience with your message.

This is what I talk about with my guest, Dr. Christina Madison.

Christina has delivered a TEDx talk and has been on TV over 250 times, including two appearances on Good Morning America.

I’ve known Christina for nearly two years: we worked together on her TEDX talk and she attended our in-person client retreat.

In this episode, we talk about:

  • Why Christina said ‘yes’ to her first TV appearance
  • How what you’re wearing can make a big difference in how you feel on stage
  • Embodying the qualities you want to feel and portray
  • Taking care of yourself so you are at your best for your speaking engagements
  • What it looks like to feel authentically you

This is the final episode in our new podcast series to help you up level your in-person speaking skills.

Want to work with us and practice on our stage? Registration is now open for our 3-day in-person client retreat speaking accelerator coming up in February 2024 in Orlando, Florida. Get all the details and apply at



About My Guest: Christina Madison, PharmD, FCCP, AAHIVP is an award-winning clinical pharmacist. She is a clinical pharmacist specializing in public health with a focus on communicable disease, gender-based health, and professional development. She founded The Public Health Pharmacist®, PLLC, a public health consulting firm, in 2019. Dr. Madison has been featured in over 250+ on-air TV appearances related to public health including being featured on Good Morning America (GMA3 – What You Need to Know) and a panelist for the COVID-19 What Works Summit at The White House. Dr. Madison is currently an Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice with Roseman University of Health Sciences (RU), College of Pharmacy and the Public Information Officer and Chief Pharmacist for Wellness Equity Alliance.

About Us: The Speaking Your Brand podcast is hosted by Carol Cox. At Speaking Your Brand, we help women entrepreneurs and professionals clarify their brand message and story, create their signature talks, and develop their thought leadership platforms. Our mission is to get more women in positions of influence and power because it’s through women’s stories, voices, and visibility that we challenge the status quo and change existing systems. Check out our coaching programs at


Show notes at 

Christina’s website (you can see her TEDx talk and GMA appearances): 

Solita Roberts – image stylist: 

Discover your Speaker Archetype by taking our free quiz at

Register for our in-person client retreat = 

Connect on LinkedIn:

Related Podcast Episodes:

348-SYB-ChristinaMadison.mp3: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

348-SYB-ChristinaMadison.mp3: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Carol Cox:
Your confidence on stage comes from how you feel both inside and outside here, how you can develop both with my guest, Doctor Christina Madison on this episode of the Speaking Your Brand podcast. More and more women are making an impact by starting businesses, running for office and speaking up for what matters. With my background as a political analyst, entrepreneur and speaker, I interview and coach purpose driven women to shape their brands, grow their companies and become recognized as influencers in their field. This is speaking your brand, your place to learn how to persuasively communicate your message to your audience. Hi there and welcome to the Speaking Your Brand podcast. I’m your host, Carol Cox. I hope you’ve been enjoying the series that we’ve been doing all around Upleveling your in-person speaking skills. If you haven’t yet listened to the past three episodes, I highly recommend listening to them as well as today’s. Today, my guest is Dr. Christina Madison, an award winning clinical pharmacist who specializes in public health. She’s been featured in over 250 on air TV appearances, including on Good Morning America. She’s also was a panelist for the Covid 19 Wetwork summit at the White House. Christina was on this podcast back in November of 2021 when we talked about all of those TV appearances. I titled that episode, TV can make you famous, but don’t read the comments. And we share both of our experiences being on TV and the good side of it, but also some of the downsides. So definitely go back and listen to that episode. Episode 253 after you listen to the one today.

Carol Cox:
Today, Christina and I talk about how she developed confidence to grace the Ted stage that she delivered her talk on last year, those Good Morning America appearances, the other TV appearances and the other speaking that she’s done. We talk about how to develop confidence not only on the outside, but even more importantly, on the inside. I know you’re going to love this conversation. I really got to know Christina when she attended our in-person client retreat, speaking intensive, the first one that we held in April 2022. We are doing our third one coming up in February 2024 in Orlando, Florida. Now, I know February seems like a long way away, but we are already enrolling and we are halfway full. We limit the retreat to 12 women, so you get plenty of time to practice on our stage to get our coaching and feedback on the speaking segments that you’re going to have professionally filmed on day three. This way you walk away with professional video, including an edited video that you can then use for your speaker reel on your website and in your social media. This truly is a life changing and transformative experience. You will absolutely build your confidence and your stage presence by being with us for three days plus being around an amazing group of women. If you would like to learn more and apply, you can go to speaking your Again, that’s speaking your Now let’s get on with the show. Christina, welcome back to the podcast.

Dr. Christina Madison:
Oh, my goodness. Thank you so much for that incredible introduction, Carol. You are such a fantastic human being. I love you in so many ways, but since the two years since I’ve been on your podcast before, I feel like so much has changed and and a lot of that I owe to some of the guidance that I’ve received through you and being able to go through the Speaking Your Brand Academy and then also attending your live retreat and then being able to come to you as a also a fellow TEDx speaker. That was super important when I was starting my TEDx journey and getting that opportunity was really life changing. So I’m so grateful for you and so many ways and I’m super excited to have this conversation about confidence and showing up as your best self.

Carol Cox:
Absolutely, yes. And Christina, as you mentioned, you delivered a talk at TEDx Reno in May of 2022, so over a year ago now. And as I mentioned in the introduction, you’ve been on Good Morning America a few times. I know you’ve been on your local television stations in Las Vegas, Nevada, hundreds of times. And as we talked about in the last time you were on the podcast about coming on going on TV when the Covid 19 pandemic started in March 2020, you had never been on TV. You were asked to come on to talk about this brand new thing that we were all trying to figure out. And you said, yes and you did it and look where you are today. So let me ask you this, Christina. Why did you say yes to that in the first place? What did you have some type of internal confidence you had built up? I know you’ve been a professor of pharmacy for 16 years, so lecturing to students, working with students. Did all of that kind of help you to say yes when those opportunities came about?

Dr. Christina Madison:
So I would say for sure that that was definitely foundational when I was asked to go on and speak. And so being in front of a room, being in front of students, having to know all of the facts is great training ground for being in front of the camera. I will also say that with that being said, there are some other things that are a little bit different and a little bit unique about being in studio. Those kind of tips and tricks that you get from, you know, being around people who are in media, talking to other journalists, even just something as simple as what to wear was very fortunate to have some people that were very familiar with how the sausage was made and how everything worked in the background, and so contacted them in advance. And so I did have a little bit of a heads up. But yeah, you’re right. I mean, this was really my kind of first foray into being in studio on camera live, which is also very nerve wracking. So I think again, practice makes perfect. And so having the opportunity to keep being invited back has really helped me to hone my skills. But foundationally wise, I do think that being, you know, in the classroom in front of all those students really did help me foundationally to to have confidence, to be able to speak to others and then also to speak on health related topics.

Carol Cox:
Yes. And Christina, I remember when you were on the podcast, which was in November of 2021, it was episode 253. We commiserated about our experiences because I’ve been on TV as a political analyst since 2005, so a very long time. I, I go back on during election seasons and I titled that episode, TV can make you Famous, but don’t read the comments and we don’t have to go back and rehash that. But for those of you listening, if you want, it’s a great episode. Listen to our conversation about Yes, TV can be great, but there are some downsides to it, and I appreciate you sharing that. Christina. All right. So let’s go on to this idea of authentic confidence and feeling comfortable in your own skin, feeling comfortable with who you are both inside and outside, because we, of course, know that having an impactful and memorable experience for your audience is not just about your content, it’s also about your delivery. But you’re delivering your content aren’t going to feel aligned if you’re not feeling it, and if you don’t feel connected to who you are. Christina, I want us to flash back to that Ted Reno talk that you delivered. I’ll include a link to the video in the show notes so everyone can go check it out first. You looked absolutely incredible in your I don’t know what color that is.

Dr. Christina Madison:
It was a it was a lime green. And I will tell you when you watch the video, because also this was a thing I had to end up recording it three times. So for those of you guys who don’t know about Ted and they tell you when you when you do it that you are recording a video, it just happens to be in front of a live audience. So that is typically how they. Propose everything to you. So when you start out, they will tell you if you go over, if the sound is bad, if something is wrong, they will stop you. And unfortunately, I was that one person in our entire set that that’s what happened to me. And so went out the way that they had my mic. It was hitting my hair. It was like super fuzzy. They couldn’t get it to work. So they stopped me like right at my introduction. And then they, you know, said they fixed it and it didn’t work. And so when they went back, they when I got off stage, they were like, Christina, we’re going to have to do it again. And I was like, Are you joking? So the third time I had to do it and I did it in front of all the other Ted speakers, which was they were so supportive and so kind. But I will tell you, it did take a lot of my joy and that that same like, you know, appeal and that, you know, you get so much life from the audience.

Dr. Christina Madison:
It was so challenging to do it a third time. But I will say the first time I did it, when I walked out on stage in that lime green suit dress. Audible gasp from the audience. Audible gasp. So that like, right there set the stage because I was like like all these people went like because I was the only one of my cohort that was like, in this super flashy color, you know, if you can imagine standing in that red dot with that bright neon green. I mean, it was just such an incredible moment. And I have some fantastic photography from that that like is just out of this world. But I think the main point that I’m trying to make, which by the way, I, I had someone style me because I wanted to feel my best and look my best. And I only wanted to worry about what I was having to say. I don’t want to have to worry about what I had to wear. And so tried everything on in advance. Um, the day before, stood up there in my shoes to make sure I was comfortable in my shoes, because that’s another thing, making sure that you’re comfortable in your footwear and that I just felt amazing and what I had on. And then obviously they had hair and makeup there. So you just, you know, you just had full glam squad and it was just incredible.

Carol Cox:
All right. And I know that you, the person you had style you was Selena Roberts, who works with speaking your brand. And she also has her own company where she does image styling. I’ll make sure to include a link to her in the show notes as well. And you met Selena at our in-person client retreat, the first one we held in 2022. That was the one that you came to. And I know you hit it off and she she did an amazing job with that that lime green dress. Okay, So, Christina, you’re on the stage. You get that gas from the audience, you’re feeling good. Like, you know, okay, I look great. Now you have to deliver the talk. Okay, Let’s pretend you didn’t have to do it two more times. Let’s just go with the first one. What, like, did you were you channeling a persona or not A persona in the sense of someone that you’re not? Not but like these alter egos or these qualities that you that you know, you wanted to adopt for that particular 8 to 10 minutes that you had on that Ted Dot, what what were you what were you hoping to do?

Dr. Christina Madison:
So I really wanted to embody, um, what my talk was about was, was being the messenger that my community needed. And that was the whole reason why I wanted to do the talk. My idea worth spreading was that we need more people that look and sound like the communities that they serve in order to provide better health care. And so that’s really what I was embodying when I was standing on that stage, was thinking about, you know, all of the people of color that have come to me and said, you know, I wasn’t going to get that shot. But then I kept seeing you on my TV. And you just you you seem so calm and and and caring. And I don’t know, it was just something about the way that you talked about the information. It just made me feel more confident about knowing the facts about getting vaccinated. And and that was so like, I just I can’t tell you the just the the amount of joy, just pure, unadulterated joy that that gave me, knowing that there were people that were looking to me for such an important decision in their life and that they felt like because they had such a positive interaction with me, because they identified with me, because of who I am and what I look like based on their own lived experience, that that was enough for them to make such a big decision.

Dr. Christina Madison:
It was it was something that I still truly feel very blessed to be able to come and be in people’s homes and to have that credibility factor, because again, we can be on YouTube, we can be on Instagram, we can be on TikTok. But the same level of credibility that you get from being on network television is just not the same. And so that in addition to having the Ted talk, when I was invited to be a panelist for that White House discussion, that was one of the things that they told me was one of the reasons why they wanted me on the panel was because they said they saw my Ted talk. I just feel like there’s so many things that that lends itself to credibility. And again, going back to that authenticity factor, it’s just being yourself, being your authentic self, right? I’m very social. It just is what it is. I like to smile. I love to be around people. I’m very social. And so that’s really what I brought to that stage. And I think that that was the connection I was able to make.

Carol Cox:
And Christina, I remember when we were working together on your Ted Talk on the script and I had you start with a story of being at a vaccination clinic in an older black woman who seemed a little bit hesitant or a little bit nervous about getting the vaccine. This was. The very, very beginning, the first rollout of the vaccine. So you shared that story. And I love how you say that you’re naturally a very social, upbeat person because I feel like that’s the story we chose to go with, because you imagine a talk about public health, about public health messaging, about especially about Covid and the need for vaccinations in communities. And you could pick a lot of stories and some of those stories could be very downbeat. But we kind of naturally picked an upbeat story which very much matched your personality.

Dr. Christina Madison:
Yeah. And also the fact that that connection that I was able to make, I did not. I named the woman in the story after my grandmother who unfortunately passed away during Covid. And so for people who knew me well, they saw that I had put that little Easter egg in there.

Carol Cox:
Oh, that is so sweet. You did the Ted talk. You get invited not only to do that panel at the White House, but you also get invited to go on Good Morning America. You fly to New York City. You’re in the studio now. I’ve done a lot of local TV That can be somewhat nerve wracking because it is live. You want to do a good job. You want to make sure the words coming out of your mouth make sense. But here you are on Good Morning America. What was that like and what did you do to prepare yourself for that? Prepare yourself mentally and physically.

Dr. Christina Madison:
So two things. So I’ve been on since again since the first time I went. So the first time I was on was in August of 2022. So there were still a lot of the Covid restrictions. Fast forward to me going back in May of this year, totally different experience, complete like red carpet rollout, like car service, all the things, you know, walk around the studio, get your, you know, you know, get yourself ready and enjoy yourself. Have some coffee. There’s fresh flowers in your green room, like totally different experience. How to prepare. I had my notes because I in you know, I jointly created the segment with the executive producer. And so a lot of the content and a lot of the stage that they had prepared was based on recommendations that I had stated for like props and stuff. So they had a couple of different stanchions where we sort of moved through these different sections in order to talk about the different topics. So the first time I talked about drug disposal, the second time I talked about menopause. So fun fact was not allowed to say the word vagina on television.

Dr. Christina Madison:
Well, you can say it here. That was fun. Yeah. So that was fun. Not being able to say vagina. I had to talk all around it, but couldn’t actually say it. So that so that is if anybody wants to look it up. It was called the menopause manual I was on. It was some serious verbal judo to not have to say that word and be able to talk about menopause. I think that the fact that the hosts are very gracious also helped to make me feel a lot more calm. And then, you know, just engaging with people that, you know, really want you to succeed. I think that’s the other thing, too. Like you’re not going to be invited to such a large stage unless they feel like they’re confident that you’re going to do a good job. And so they also want you to do a good job. So again, that authentic confidence really comes from knowing your craft and being confident in your own self and your ability to be there. Because they asked you.

Carol Cox:
And from my experience, the TV anchors, the reporters, the hosts, they are professionals. And like you said, they want you to do well and they know exactly what to do to make you feel comfortable, to ask you the questions, to do the follow ups, to to, you know, to to interject if they if they need to in order to kind of get to where they need to go or to get to the next section thinking about this idea of confidence and being our authentic selves and feeling good inside and outside when we take the stage or we’re in front of a camera. And I know that you obviously, obviously as a pharmacist, Cristina, and someone who’s very much, you know, interested in health and invested in health, what are some things that we can do for ourselves, not just the night before, to make sure that we sleep well and all that, but just in general, what would you recommend?

Dr. Christina Madison:
So I would say 100% self-care. Self-care is not selfish, so that is a big thing. I always say that, you know, you need to if you’re somebody who’s very hyper scheduled, you need to schedule it in your calendar that you need to take time for yourself.

Carol Cox:
And I imagine that it’s it’s not a matter of, you know, you can just decide two days before a big event, a big speaking engagement. Oh, now I’m going to get my body in tip top shape. It’s like, you know, they always say about, you know, if you want to run a marathon, you can’t start practicing a week ahead of time because you’re not going to make that 26.2 miles. So the same thing. Like, obviously we want to prioritize our health and be as healthy as possible every single day of the year, much less leading up to a big event, because then we’re going to have the reserves, we’re going to have the fuel to be our best selves in front of the audience. Side note at our in-person client retreat next one coming up in February, we make sure we have healthy lunches and dinners all three days and we make sure that we take care of whatever your dietary preferences or requirements are. So we we take care of you because I’m a super healthy eater. I mean, the food is good.

Dr. Christina Madison:
Yes. If it’s at the same place that I remember, I remember the food was very lovely and like lovely healthy snacks, nice breakfast. Like I’m a I’m a tea drinker. So it was nice that there was like a hot water stand. And so I was able to kind of go back and forth and get my hot water.

Carol Cox:
Yes, we have a lot of attention to detail at this event for sure. All right.

Dr. Christina Madison:
Which is what I love. That’s what I love about the event.

Carol Cox:
Great. I’m so glad to hear that. All right. So we talked about kind of making sure that we’re feeling good internally. You mentioned about the outfit that you wore at Ted. And before we hit record, you had a great story that I that I that you shared with me that I said, okay, we have to include this on the podcast because it is such a great reminder not only the benefits of practice, which is obviously what we do at our three day in-person client retreat, really getting you practicing on our stage, which we can’t really do in the same way on Zoom. So practice rehearsal, but also a full dress rehearsal. There are so many reasons to actually put on the clothes and the shoes that you’re going to be wearing and before the event and tell us, Christina, what happened to Mel Robbins, who’s a very well known speaker and author.

Dr. Christina Madison:
He’s told this story multiple times where when she first started speaking, which by the way, she started speaking after she gave a Ted talk and that Ted talk went viral. And that’s when she started getting asked to do speaking engagements. And she vividly remembers being at this conference. And there was another speaker there. And she was like super nervous because it was somebody that she admired. And she was like, okay, I’m going to go out there and I’m going to kill it. And she did. She did an amazing job, just phenomenal. And it was one of the first talks, I think she said that she was paid for, which was also something else that she talked about because she was like talking to someone else and she was like, you got paid for this. And that’s when she realized that this could actually be a business. And someone came up to her after and she was like feeling so amazing because she just did such a good job. And the person was like, Um, you know, I don’t know if you know this. But your dress is completely see through like Jumbotron on the big screen, completely see through. Didn’t know that when she put the dress on. Right. Because she didn’t put it on and practice with it on. Right. And so she said first thing she did was she threw the dress away. And then after that, she was like, I never again, like, had that problem. She she’s like, I always make sure that wardrobe is. Good. Because the other thing, too, is when she tells the story and she says she didn’t even really like the dress.

Dr. Christina Madison:
Like. So like, not only was the dress see through, but she didn’t even really like it that much. She said she felt okay in it, but she didn’t feel great. Right. And so it’s like again, also trust your gut, right? Trust your trust. What your body is telling you. And if your body is telling you this might not be good, then you probably shouldn’t do it right. Same thing about like with your outfit. Like it should be perfect fit, even if it’s not a tailored piece of clothing. You should feel as if that piece of clothing was made for you.

Carol Cox:
Yes, I really appreciate all of these tips, Christina. And, you know, I think about the the, you know, the dress and what Mel Robbins experienced. And I always say that if you put enough reps in speaking wise, if you’ve spoken in front of enough audiences, you’re going to have some mishaps here and there. It’s just inevitable because we’re human technology. Well, technology is not human. Maybe, maybe one day soon. But. But technology doesn’t work, right? Your your heel breaks on your shoe and your unexpectedly like things happen. So I always say make sure to bring an extra pair of shoes and an extra outfit or a jacket or what have you, because you never know the backdrop that you’re standing in front of. They swore up and down it was going to be yellow. So you’re wearing a black outfit and you get there in the backdrop is black. And if you’re wearing black, you’re going to be a floating head. So you you need to change. Like, yeah, so you always bring, no matter what they tell you, always bring contrasting color clothes and extra shoes.

Carol Cox:
Yes. Yeah. Oh, Christina. Oh, this has been such a fun conversation. All right, I’ll make sure to include links in the show notes for those of you listening so that you can connect with Christina. Thank you so much for coming on the Speaking Your podcast. I always love talking with you.

Dr. Christina Madison:
This was incredible. Thank you so much again for the opportunity. Carol.

Carol Cox:
Thanks again to Christina for coming back on the podcast. If you would like to attend our next in-person client retreat Speaking intensive, you can get all the details, including the agenda pricing and what you get as speaking your Again, that’s speaking your Until next time. Thanks for listening.

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