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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Q and A with the Founder of the New York City Urban Debate League

Q and A with the Founder of the New York City Urban Debate League

I was amazed to discover recently that the New York City Urban Debate League – which brings debate to the elementary, middle and high schools of the New York City area – is only six years old.  It sounds like a program that should have existed since the 1800s.  So when I had a chance […]

Q and A with Rick Altman of the Presentation Summit

Q and A with Rick Altman of the Presentation Summit

I’ve been a fan of the Presentation Summit and Rick Altman for a long time.  I even spoke at one a few years ago, and I’m up again this fall at the 2017 version, so I’m very excited to renew some old acquaintances, make new ones, and see how fast Rick falls apart under maximum […]

How to listen to a speech

How to listen to a speech

I so often write about how to create and give better speeches that I rarely write about listening to speeches.  But of course the audience is one of the three essential elements of a public speech – without an audience, it’s not a speech any more than it’s a speech without a speaker or content.  […]

What’s the Most Important Moment for a Speaker?

What’s the Most Important Moment for a Speaker?

What’s the key moment in the life of the speaker?  Is it the standing ovation? The off-script excitement of a Q and A session? The moment of connection with an audience at the beginning of a talk? All those moments are important, but the most important moment is the moment before you go on.  How […]