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 […]

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 […]

Principles of Public Speaking – IV

Principles of Public Speaking – IV

I’m continuing a series of public speaking principles in the next few blog posts that are a summation of what I’ve learned about this fiendishly difficult art and science over three decades of practice, coaching, learning from others, and research, especially neuroscience.  Here are the next seven, numbers 22 – 28.  These principles cover mainly […]

Principles of Public Speaking – III

Principles of Public Speaking – III

I’m developing a series of public speaking principles in the next few blog posts that are a summation of what I’ve learned about this fiendishly difficult art and science over three decades of practice, coaching, learning from others, and research, especially neuroscience.  Here are the next seven. 15.A speech is performance art – and science. […]

Principles of Public Speaking – II

Principles of Public Speaking – II

I’m developing a series of public speaking principles in the next few blog posts that are a summation of what I’ve learned about this fiendishly difficult art and science over three decades of practice, coaching, learning from others, and research, especially neuroscience.  Here are the next seven. 8.A good speech is a contract that exchanges […]

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: […]

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, […]

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, […]

An Analysis of President Trump’s Inaugural Address

An Analysis of President Trump’s Inaugural Address

What was uppermost in the mind of Mr. Trump on the day of his swearing-in?  Apparently, our new president deeply resented all those contributions he talked of making to politicians when he was campaigning. Because Mr. Trump signaled his change of tack and made his goals clear – at least at a high level – […]

President Obama’s Final Address – What Did He Say and How Did He Say It?

President Obama’s Final Address – What Did He Say and How Did He Say It?

My blog posts this week are all about presidential oratory.  First, in this episode, I’ll be analyzing President Obama’s farewell address.  In the next one, I’ll analyze the new President’s inaugural address.  Please note that one will go out Friday afternoon, since it seems best only to write about the address after I’ve actually heard […]