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 […]

Alan Alda on Improv, Empathy, and his New Book

Alan Alda on Improv, Empathy, and his New Book

I first encountered Alan Alda as the irreverent, anti-war doctor in M*A*S*H* the TV show.  It was one of those shows that seemed important at the time because of its anti-war attitude and other acts of rebellion.  It gave comfort to those of us for whom the war was a long way off, but the […]

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 […]

Q and A with the Founder of the New York City Urban Debate League

Q and A with the Founder of the New York City Urban Debate League

I was amazed to discover recently that the New York City Urban Debate League – which brings debate to the elementary, middle and high schools of the New York City area – is only six years old.  It sounds like a program that should have existed since the 1800s.  So when I had a chance […]

What Should the Role of Speaker Bureaus Be in 2017?

What Should the Role of Speaker Bureaus Be in 2017?

Ever since the Internet blew apart the old analogue job of speaker bureaus – to present speakers to their buyers, the meeting planners and conference organizers – many bureaus have struggled to clarify their real purpose in our half-online, half-in-person world.  Some have indeed simply added more and speakers, trying to make up for the lack of […]

Q and A with Rick Altman of the Presentation Summit

Q and A with Rick Altman of the Presentation Summit

I’ve been a fan of the Presentation Summit and Rick Altman for a long time.  I even spoke at one a few years ago, and I’m up again this fall at the 2017 version, so I’m very excited to renew some old acquaintances, make new ones, and see how fast Rick falls apart under maximum […]

Why Speakers Need to Worry About Sleep

Why Speakers Need to Worry About Sleep

Back in the day when I taught public speaking at Princeton, one of the bits of bad news the students found most unfair was the attractiveness bias.  Basically, psychologists have found over and over again that more attractive people have an unfair advantage when it comes to attracting partners, getting hired, getting paid, being perceived […]