The Secret To Public Speaking Success: Focus

Consider the standard, garden-variety, dull-as-ditchwater business presentation.  A business person wanders to the front of the room, nervous as an auditor in a gambling den.  People look up briefly from their Blackberries, and, seeing nothing of extraordinary interest yet, return to their email and to-do lists.  After fumbling apologetically for a while with the technology, […]

Can you change the world in 15 minutes?

A little book arrived in the mail recently:  15 minutes including Q & A:  A Plan to Save the World from Lousy Presentations, by Joey Asher, president of Speechworks, a communications coaching firm in Atlanta.  Let me say from the outset that I love just about everything about this book.  It’s a polemic against long, […]

Aristotle Was Wrong

We want to persuade people to do something new.  It’s one of those fundamental – and fundamentally important – human acts.  And, it’s a tall order. But it is the essence of speech making: to move people to action. Anything else is wasted effort, because people simply don’t remember much of what they hear. It’s […]

Public Speaking and the Audience: We’ve Got a Problem

Most public speaking—especially business speeches and presentations—has never entirely caught up with its audience’s changed expectations. Our ordinary speaking styles have become more conversational, but public speakers haven’t learned to deliver the physical closeness that mirrors the closeness and casualness we see all the time on television.     Moreover, the candid personal disclosure that we […]

Why is most public speaking – especially in the business world – so bad?

(This blog is based on the talk I gave at the opening of the Public Words Speaker Forum, June 11-12, 2010.) Why is most public speaking – especially in the business world – so awful?  And how can we raise the bar, which is set distressingly low.  I think there are three principal reasons.  First, […]