Why Learn About Body Language? Here’s One Reason.

Why Learn About Body Language? Here’s One Reason.

Why do we bother with the hard and imprecise work of trying to understand body language?  After all, we’re already expert at it, more or less, with our unconscious minds, and those unconscious minds are faster, better, and infinitely more powerful human CPUs than our conscious minds.  Why do the hard work of taking this […]

We Are All Motivational Speakers

We Are All Motivational Speakers

Motivational speakers have something of a bad name in some circles, but the truth is that every speaking event has at least a little motivation in it, or it doesn’t happen at all.  The purpose of speaking, after all, is to change the world, and that requires persuasion.  And we can’t persuade an audience of […]

What Should Speakers Wear?

What Should Speakers Wear?

What should speakers wear?  I’ve posted on this fiendishly difficult question in the past and it seemed time to do so again, since neuroscience has weighed in on the subject recently.  But first, some of the same basic issues remain, with the fresh twists that the ever-changing fashion world always provides. 1.The trend continues toward […]

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 […]

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 […]