The Pope and Donald Trump – a study in contrasting body language

Those interested in the study of body language had a fascinating opportunity this week to study two completely different approaches to power through non-verbal communication: the Pope and Donald Trump. The Pope, as all the world must know, was visiting the US for the first time, and Mr. Trump was all over the media, as […]

The Body Language Lessons from the CNN Republican Debate

What are the body language lessons from the CNN Republican debates? First of all, they went on too long. The human body has trouble sitting for so long. I even felt sorry for the candidates standing for three hours under the lights. I watched both debates in their entirety, which means I was glued to […]

The Dirty Secret of Public Speaking – and What to Do About It

One of the dirty secrets of public speaking is that audiences don’t remember much of what you say. I’ve seen a range of studies over the years showing retention of anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of what an audience hears. Many, many efforts have been made to increase that percentage. Microsoft funded some studies […]

Are You Serious About Public Speaking? Here’s a Mistake You Have to Stop Making

Anyone who is serious about his or her public speaking needs to watch – who knew? – the Kanye West MTV acceptance speech from a week ago. (Tip of the hat to Tim Sanders for goading me into watching all thirteen minutes.) I don’t know if Kanye’s farrago is the longest acceptance speech ever, but […]

The Dangers of Last-Minute Changes to a Presentation

Public speaking means – for most people – stress and a sudden flurry of decision-making under stress. The conference organizer tells you the audience is larger – or smaller – than expected. How should you adjust? The MC suddenly informs you that they’re running late, and it would be great if you could get your […]

We Humans Are Social Beings – and Why That Matters for Speakers

We humans are social beings; we share mirror neurons that allow us to match each other’s emotions unconsciously and immediately. We leak emotions to each other. We anticipate and mirror each other’s movements when we’re in sympathy or agreement with one another—when we’re on the same side. And we can mirror each other’s brain activity […]