Public speaking and emotional intelligence

Public speaking and emotional intelligence

Daniel Goleman’s brilliant 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence, gathered and synthesized some research about what it takes for people to get along in the world.  The phrase “emotional intelligence” has become part of the lexicon and indeed seems to be enjoying a bit of a renaissance just now, two decades later.  Perhaps because we are experiencing […]

Seven Good Ways to Think About Your Audience

Seven Good Ways to Think About Your Audience

I was coaching a client recently and realized that this able speaker had some serious misconceptions about how to relate to the people sitting in the chairs in front of him.  It’s essential to keep the right attitude toward your audiences despite the stresses of travel, performance, and occasionally unpredictable audience responses.  A speaker can […]

The Eight Worst Ways to Start a Speech

The Eight Worst Ways to Start a Speech

Every year about now, the conference season kicks into gear and I hear — and coach — speeches and speakers under conditions of high stress and adrenaline.  Inevitably, I hear speech beginnings that don’t do either their speakers or their audiences any favors.  Some are small mistakes and some are more fundamental, but they’re all […]

Alan Alda on Improv, Empathy, and his New Book

Alan Alda on Improv, Empathy, and his New Book

I first encountered Alan Alda as the irreverent, anti-war doctor in M*A*S*H* the TV show.  It was one of those shows that seemed important at the time because of its anti-war attitude and other acts of rebellion.  It gave comfort to those of us for whom the war was a long way off, but the […]

The Neuroscience of a First Impression

The Neuroscience of a First Impression

You’ve heard the old saying that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so you know first impressions are important, and durable.  You may have heard that people make up their minds about each other within thirty seconds of meeting, or on some other equally flimsy basis.  So you know that […]

When is it OK to swear in public?

When is it OK to swear in public?

Recently, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand swore during a speech at the Personal Democracy Forum at New York University.  She said, “If we’re not helping people, we should go the f**k home.”  And later on, talking about President Trump, she added, “Has he kept his promises?  F**k no.” There was a fair amount of scolding on line […]

Why You Need to Pitch Your Voice Lower

Why You Need to Pitch Your Voice Lower

Back in the mid- or early nineties, I was videotaped for the first time, doing some media work for my then-employer, Princeton University.  Aside from the usual reactions – I didn’t like my hair, my clothes, my physique, or what I did with my hands – I was most astonished by the shrill, pipsqueak voice […]