Counter-intuitive speaking lessons from the road

Counter-intuitive speaking lessons from the road

I was inspired by some recent client stories of successes and failures to create a short list of counter-intuitive speaking lessons that most people learn the hard way.  Here you go: I hope this list saves you some pain down the road. First, a couple of thoughts about the business of speaking, then three about […]

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 […]

Trends in Public Speaking in 2017

Trends in Public Speaking in 2017

I’ve been chatting recently with speakers, clients, managers, speaker bureau people, meeting planners – the whole universe of people who are involved in public speaking and conferences.  It seemed time to update the trends I’m seeing in the professional speaking world.  Please note this is an unscientific survey, based on anecdotal evidence.  But also some […]

The Seven Worst Things That Speakers Do to Sabotage Themselves and Their Careers

The Seven Worst Things That Speakers Do to Sabotage Themselves and Their Careers

There’s something about the approach of fall that always makes me think about renewal.  Maybe it’s because I was tied to an academic calendar for a good deal of my work life.  The fall, then, is time for going back to school and learning something new to improve yourself, and your career, just as much […]

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 […]