What have we learned so far from the debates?

The Republicans have had four official debates to date, and the Democrats two. What have we learned, in terms of body language and communications dos and don’ts, from all this adrenalized effort? What works and what doesn’t? Perhaps the most consistently surprising debater is Mr. Trump. He began by completely dominating the first debate, taking all the other candidates by surprise to greater or lesser degrees. Trump stole the limelight even when… Read More

Why Communicate Face to Face?

Audiences complain about it. Public speakers both fear and crave it. Companies spend a lot of money on it, and are always looking for ways to cut back. So why do we still keep getting together in meetings and conferences with all the travel, expense, and complaining that goes with it? Why communicate face to face? The reason begins deep in the brain. The unconscious mind can process something like 11 million… Read More

The Five Building Blocks of A Successful Speaking Career

This post is the second in an occasional series about professional speaking careers. I often get asked about how to become a successful (i.e. sustained) professional (i.e., paid) speaker. My response, from many years of working with people to establish, to ramp up, and to sustain professional speaking careers, is that there are five essential building blocks. People try to get by without one of the five, and inevitably suffer as a… Read More

The 5 Biggest Body Language Surprises of the CNBC Republican Debate

We’ve come to expect surprising things from the Republican debates in terms of body language, from Donald Trump’s dominance of the first one, way back in August, to Governor Kasich’s nervousness to Ben Carson’s quiet sarcasm about not getting many questions. Each of those lessons got turned on its head in the latest CNBC debate last night. What else happened? 1.Donald Trump disappeared. Relatively speaking, Mr. Trump’s performance in terms of body… Read More

Top Ten Body Language Insights From The Debates So Far

As a political junkie, I’ve been following the debates avidly, and commenting on them for CNN, Forbes, and Business Insider.  It has been a feast for body language fans, with over 10 hours of debate time and plenty of hits and misses. Following are my ten lessons for anyone trying to succeed in this high-stakes game. 10. Mr. Trump is a game-changer.  Let’s begin with the obvious. Whether you love him or… Read More

How to Prepare for a Speech You’re Worried About

I’ve just come from three speeches in three days. Before that, it had been just over a month. Speeches seem to go in clumps sometimes. So I was feeling a bit rusty going into this three-day stretch. I’d provided a lot of coaching, and done a couple of slots on CNN commenting on the debates – but I don’t fool myself that coaching, TV and speaking are the same thing – they’re… Read More

The Pope and Donald Trump – a study in contrasting body language

Those interested in the study of body language had a fascinating opportunity this week to study two completely different approaches to power through non-verbal communication: the Pope and Donald Trump. The Pope, as all the world must know, was visiting the US for the first time, and Mr. Trump was all over the media, as per usual, but on “60 Minutes” for the first time on Sunday. Trump, of course, has been… Read More

The Body Language Lessons from the CNN Republican Debate

What are the body language lessons from the CNN Republican debates? First of all, they went on too long. The human body has trouble sitting for so long. I even felt sorry for the candidates standing for three hours under the lights. I watched both debates in their entirety, which means I was glued to CNN for more than 5 hours. OK for a political junkie, but hardly a way for a… Read More

10 New Ways to Reduce Performance Anxiety

I’m heading off to CNN’s AC 360 again to tape a segment on body language before the Republican debate. With that anticipation goes adrenaline, and with that adrenaline comes feelings of anxiety. So I was heartened to see a number of new ways of reducing anxiety in the research literature. I can’t do all of these, and I’m going to stick to my tried and true ways of reducing anxiety – breathing,… Read More

Are You Serious About Public Speaking? Here’s a Mistake You Have to Stop Making

Anyone who is serious about his or her public speaking needs to watch – who knew? – the Kanye West MTV acceptance speech from a week ago. (Tip of the hat to Tim Sanders for goading me into watching all thirteen minutes.) I don’t know if Kanye’s farrago is the longest acceptance speech ever, but it certainly seemed to go on forever, and covered (before I stopped counting) some 15 topics, each… Read More