We Are All Motivational Speakers

We Are All Motivational Speakers

Motivational speakers have something of a bad name in some circles, but the truth is that every speaking event has at least a little motivation in it, or it doesn’t happen at all.  The purpose of speaking, after all, is to change the world, and that requires persuasion.  And we can’t persuade an audience of […]

What’s the Most Important Personality Trait for a Speaker?

What’s the Most Important Personality Trait for a Speaker?

What’s the most important trait for a speaker?  Extroversion?  Confidence? Charisma? I’m going to suggest something that may surprise you.  I think the most important trait is that one that has become obscured of late in our information-overloaded, media-hungry, celebrity-obsessed world:  humility. Why?  Because the only reason to give a speech is to change the […]

Max Martin, Number One Song Hits, and Public Speaking

Max Martin, Number One Song Hits, and Public Speaking

There’s only one songwriting team who has written more Number One Billboard hits over more years than Max Martin:  John Lennon and Paul McCartney.  And yet few people outside of the music biz have even heard of Max Martin, a media-shy Swede who divides his time between Stockholm and Los Angeles. Martin has written and […]

Five Body Language Takeaways from President Trump’s Address to Congress

Five Body Language Takeaways from President Trump’s Address to Congress

President Kennedy began his famous inaugural address with a line about a torch: Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans. . . . And he closed it with another image about lighting up the world: […]

Five Ways to Ensure Presentation Success

Five Ways to Ensure Presentation Success

Clients often ask me, “How can I raise my game?” or “How can I take my speaking to the next level?” or “How can I deliver a kick-ass keynote?”  It usually turns out that they’re thinking about delivery.  They’re looking for some secret voodoo hand gesture that will turn them into charismatic combinations of Mick […]

Can Political Beliefs Be Changed, or the Cultural Divide Repaired?

Can Political Beliefs Be Changed, or the Cultural Divide Repaired?

The proverbial visitor from Mars – especially one who was here for a return visit — might be pardoned for wondering how societies across the globe have become so polarized in their beliefs.  Whether it’s the Trump crowd, or its opposite, or the Brexit fans or the Remain folks, or the Marine le Pen people […]

Why Speakers Should be Helping Audiences Forget What They Know

Why Speakers Should be Helping Audiences Forget What They Know

There’s a particularly tedious kind of speaker that ostentatiously tries to teach his audience something by having the audience repeatedly recall some big idea, or some list, or the seven levels of . . . knowledge about a certain subject.  The hapless audience has to shout out, or chant in unison, or (worst of all) […]

What the *#@&! Should Speakers Swear?

What the *#@&! Should Speakers Swear?

Should a speaker swear on stage?  Is it ever appropriate, and if so when? These questions used to have an easy answer:  no, no, and never.  Profanity on stage used to be a deal killer, a contract ender and a career finisher.   Twenty years ago, I watched one promising speaker say “sh*t” on stage once, […]

What James Bond Can Teach Us About Public Speaking

What James Bond Can Teach Us About Public Speaking

Sometimes New Year’s resolutions have unintended consequences.  I started a new exercise program – with the usual results, which is to say, nothing much yet – and needed something to while away all those hours on the treadmill.  So I began watching all the James Bond movies in order, from the early, cool days of […]

Simone Vincenzi, Michelin Stars, and Public Speaking

Simone Vincenzi, Michelin Stars, and Public Speaking

Today I’m pleased to chat with coach Simone Vincenzi of the UK, who left the restaurant business to become a speaker coach and coach for events. Nick: Tell us how you went from working in Michelin-starred restaurants to coaching speakers? Simone:  I started working in restaurants when I was 14, and at the age of 19, […]