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, […]

Body Language for Valentine’s Day

Body Language for Valentine’s Day

As most of us who are old enough to vote have learned, words and body language don’t always synch up.  When they do, the verbal message gets through, because it’s supported by the non-verbal one underneath, the emotional one.  When they don’t, the body language message is the one that people trust.  If you say […]

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 […]

How To Be More Charismatic – Lady Gaga, the Super Bowl, and Neuroscience

How To Be More Charismatic – Lady Gaga, the Super Bowl, and Neuroscience

One thing that my clients and potential clients almost never ask me — at first — is how to become more charismatic.  I guess that’s because asking the question involves not one but two embarrassing admissions.  One, that you care about charisma, as opposed to the grand exchange of ideas.  And two, that you might […]

How We Read Other People’s Emotions – and Why It Matters

How We Read Other People’s Emotions – and Why It Matters

We humans read each others’ emotions with great enthusiasm.  Not a lot of accuracy, as anyone who has ever been annoyed by the question, “What’s the matter?” can attest.  If you answer, “Nothing, that’s just my face,” people strangely assume that they’re correct and you are grumpy. But we do this because we care, enormously, […]

The Mysteries of Eye Contact Explained

The Mysteries of Eye Contact Explained

I like to start each new year with some posts on the basic rules of the road for public speaking.  It’s a good chance to update what we know with the latest neuroscience and to review the current state of the art.  Let’s begin with eye contact, because it’s the first rule that every speaker […]

How to be a Successful Speaker in Turbulent Times

How to be a Successful Speaker in Turbulent Times

(The second of two articles about preparing for 2017.) It’s official: we are living in turbulent times.  I’ve never seen such a high level of anxiety among fellow speakers, in the audiences speakers address, and in the industry itself – among the meeting planners, conference organizers, and speaker bureau reps. It’s not entirely clear why […]

How to Reprogram Your Brain and Gut for Excellence

How to Reprogram Your Brain and Gut for Excellence

The human body is an assemblage of systems that have a surprising degree of autonomy from one another, and that are all busy managing various aspects of our mental and physical lives. Nonetheless, they do communicate with one another, and that’s why the human assemblage works pretty well most of the time. Except when we’re […]