How to write a great speech

How to write a great speech

A great speech puts the occasion, the audience, and the speaker together in an unforgettable way. All three pieces of the rhetorical puzzle are important. When Churchill was going to give his famous ‘Iron Curtain’ speech after WW II, he didn’t go over to the House of Commons, where he delivered most of his orations. [...]

How do you take an ordinary presentation and turn it into a powerful story?

Powerful stories

How do you take an ordinary presentation about 3Q profits or the S-17 update and turn it into a powerful story? And why would you want to go to that effort; is it worth it? Let’s deal with the second question first. Our minds remember stories, especially stories with emotions attached, much better than they [...]

How to master your gestures to become a more effective communicator

Public Speaking Gestures

Every communication is two conversations. The first conversation is the one you’re aware of — the content. The second conversation is the one that you’re an unconscious expert on — the non-verbal one. These two conversations always go together. They are so integral to one another that most people tend to gesture with their hands [...]

10 steps you can take right now to improve your presentations

Ten steps to improve presentations

Improving your presentation skills can be hard work. Changing behavior takes time. But there are some easy things you can do right now that will make a concrete difference in your presentation success rate. Some are physical, some are about a change in attitude. But they’re all practical, simple, and immediate. Get started now! 1. [...]

How to interview well

How to interview well

How do you pull off a great job interview, especially if you need the job, or if you feel that you are the supplicant and the interviewer holds all the power in the situation? Only a very few people seem to enjoy job interviews, or do them well. Following are some tips on how to [...]

Seven ways to rehearse a speech

Public Speaking Rehearsal

Rehearsal is a practice more honored in the breach than the occurrence, and it should be the other way around. People wiggle out of rehearsal in a variety of ways. They say, “I’ll just wing it.” That’s usually fatal, and ends up turning a modern virtue — the casual approach — into a sin — [...]

Body language: how to master non-verbal communication

Non-verbal communication

If you’re like most people, you think about body language as follows. I’m pretty much in charge of my body. I direct it, from the control tower in my head. I tell it what to do. ‘Make coffee’ I say, and it goes through the motions. ‘Now drink it’ I say, and it obliges. Sure, [...]

How to decode other people’s body language

How to decode body language

We are all unconscious experts in reading other people’s intentions toward us. We evolved these skills in the woolly mammoth era because our lives depended on them, and the unconscious mind works must faster than the conscious mind. But we are not very good at making this unconscious awareness conscious. We can react with blinding [...]

Funny speeches: how to use humor in public speaking

Funny speeches

Humor can be hazardous to the health of public speakers. Most speakers want to be funny, but you’ve got to do humor well, or it falls flat and that’s worse than no humor at all. Here I provide a guide for avoiding the worst mistakes of traditional one-liners and cheap irony, replacing them instead with [...]

How to tell powerful stories in your speeches

Story telling in speeches

Why tell stories in speeches? Because they are interesting, they help people remember what you say, and they are a good way to convey information and emotion memorably. Mark Turner, a writer and philosopher who has been associated with the Institute for Advanced Study, and the Center for Neural and Cognitive Sciences at the University [...]