How Should You Gesture When Speaking?

How should you gesture in order to win the favor of the crowd, persuade the audience of your point of view, or appear most charismatic? I get asked variants on these questions all the time by speakers wanting to up their game, executives wishing to improve the odds of their success, and thought leaders wanting to get more attention for their ideas. The key to successful gesture is not what you think… Read More

Authenticity or Charisma?

Somewhere between the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries, the general public became tired of hype and decided that it wanted authenticity instead. It’s the most important quality in leadership communications today. Don’t believe me? Think about it: with it, you can move people to action. Without it, you can’t even get a hearing. You’re in Dilbertland. And then there’s charisma — the X factor every leader wants, even if some won’t admit… Read More

Seven Ways to Enchant an Audience

How can you go beyond the usual efforts to create a successful presentation – and enchant the audience?  What are the secrets to creating magic with a speech?  Here are seven ways to take your speech beyond the ordinary.  Some of these will be familiar to you, but I’m guessing that at least one will be fresh and help you find a new level of connection with your audiences. 1.    Tell a… Read More

The Zen Secret for Successful Public Speaking

Seth Godin’s latest blog post is very wise (as usual!) and reminds me of something I often say to clients:  the Zen of public speaking is realizing that it is not about you.  Once you have that realization, you are freed up to find joy in the act of giving a speech. Seth quite rightly locates the fear that most public speakers feel first in the idea that they’re being judged by… Read More

Why You Need to Tell Us Stories, Not Dump Information on Us

Everyone seems to get these days that storytelling is important, because we’re awash in data and information and can’t remember it all.  But we do remember stories. They’re even more important than that.  They are how our brains work.  For example, they are why we all feel that it’s safer to drive than fly, even though the statistics prove the opposite.  We remember the horrifying stories of plane crashes, and forget the stats. … Read More

Brain Mastery – Part 8

These seven steps to brain mastery are designed to put the best, most recent brain science together with traditional knowledge about storytelling and presence – and with what my work with clients has shown to produce results – in order to put you in control of your communications. Strong human communications form the basis of a successful career, of leadership, or of celebrity.  If you have charisma, you can effortlessly dominate a… Read More

The Seventh Step to Brain Mastery

The seventh and final step in brain mastery is to do something you might think impossible:  take control of someone else’s brain and synchronize it with yours.  The research in this area is in its early stages, but the implications are fascinating. It turns out that when we communicate with someone else effectively, we do something that has been described colloquially for a few generations:  we get on the same wavelength.  Literally. … Read More

The Third Step to Brain Mastery

The third step in brain mastery involves learning how to read the body language of others around you. There is a huge body of misinformation that has built up around reading body language.   The research approach for most of the last 40 years studied gestures as if they had specific meaning.  In other words, if you put your hand to your chin, you were thinking – in all circumstances – and so… Read More

The Second Step to Brain Mastery

The second step to brain mastery and powerful communication follows directly on from the first.  Now that you’ve taken inventory of your gestures, it’s time to learn to control and shape them. Here’s the surprise:  once you take charge of your own gestures with the right techniques, you’ll be well on the way to controlling the emotions and reactions of the people around you.  That’s because of mirror neurons. Mirror neurons were… Read More

Communication and Brain Science — Part 3

The brain research of the last few years revolutionizes our usual ways of thinking about communications.  Here’s a summary of what the new science is telling us: We communicate more powerfully through our bodies than our words; Communication is mostly unconscious, and, unless we become aware of it because of some extraordinary moment or action, out of reach of our conscious minds; Our bodies tell us what to do and how to… Read More