Lee Bonvissuto

Lee Bonvissuto is a communication coach and Founder of PresentVoices. They help people feel more comfortable communicating by using systems thinking to create structure in spontaneous speaking moments. They work with leaders and teams in private coaching and group workshops and believe we all communicate perfectly well when we feel seen, safe, and supported.

Tell us about your life before the venture/ leading up to your venture?

I always struggled speaking up. I joke that it’s because my mother was a mime (she was!) but I was painfully shy. I had social anxiety that took me out of the present moment and created layers of over-working, over-thinking, and over-preparing. I came to this work out of sheer desperation—I was good at doing my work but when I tried to talk about myself or my work, I’d lose my personality (or my train of thought!). For over ten years, I worked as a theater director by night and a neuropsychological assistant during the day—I merged tools from storytelling, cognition, attention, and physiology to regulate my nervous system and cultivate conversational comfort. Since then, I’ve helped thousands of people across industries trust their voice and speak with ease.

Tell us something about your organization. What is it about and how is it helpful for people?

PresentVoices helps people trust in their innate ability to communicate. When we believe there’s something wrong with our communication, it creates extra layers of over-working, over-thinking, and over-preparing that disrupt our ability to trust our voices in the present moment. Through PresentVoices, I help people build vocal power and practice being present in impromptu and public speaking moments. I’ve been collecting data for years from my corporate workshops that shows that 95% of people experience anxiety at work and only 13% of people feel satisfied with their ability to speak off-the-cuff in important moments. There’s clearly a need for people to feel heard at work and that is the work I am committed to every day.

What has been the response of the consumers towards your venture?

I just launched a self-paced online course, Trust Your Voice, for the first time and I’m excited for people to be able to come to this work in a more accessible and affordable way. Course and coaching participants are also welcome to join The PresentVoices Collective, my weekly group coaching class, where you can practice being present and speaking out loud in a supportive space with others doing this work. Clients report 94.2% improved ability to communicate with confidence, 89.4% improvement in speaking on video calls, and 92.3% improvement in their ability to speak up in meetings.

How has your life changed because of your venture?

Doing this work saved my life. Before doing this work, I thought there was something wrong with me and my voice. I was drowning in secrecy, shame, and stigma, feeling like it was my fault for not being able to speak up in important moments. Now I know that there are silencing systems that make it harder to speak up in workplaces and social spaces that don’t prioritize helping people feel seen, safe, and supported.

Give a motivational message for the audience/women who are reading this.

If you struggle speaking up, you are not alone. In working with so many people, I know that we can only communicate with confidence when we feel comfortable. Instead of trying to be a “better communicator”, focus on being a present communicator. When we prioritize our own comfort instead of how we’re being perceived, we focus our attention in the present moment and consolidate our power. We can share that power by giving others the rare gift of our full attention (when we have the privilege to do so).