Do You Have An Idea That Will Change The World?

I often get asked by potential clients, audience members, and random virtual acquaintances if the idea they present to me as their candidate for a thought leadership program will sell. My reaction is almost always that that’s the wrong question. If you want to develop a thought leadership platform, and a profitable speaking career to talk about that thought leadership, don’t try to choose the message you think will sell. Because even… 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

A Good Use of PowerPoint

Readers of this blog will know I’m not a big fan of slideware for speakers. This position is so heretical for most of the business world that I often end up working with executives to simplify and otherwise improve their slides because they can’t live without at least something on the screen behind them. You can’t win ‘em all. Now, honesty demands that I confess that I’ve run across a new study… Read More

We Humans Are Social Beings – and Why That Matters for Speakers

We humans are social beings; we share mirror neurons that allow us to match each other’s emotions unconsciously and immediately. We leak emotions to each other. We anticipate and mirror each other’s movements when we’re in sympathy or agreement with one another—when we’re on the same side. And we can mirror each other’s brain activity when we’re engaged in storytelling and listening – both halves of the communication conundrum. This view of… Read More

Why Can’t I Leave my Body Language to Chance?

Regular readers of this blog (and my book Power Cues) will know that I’m an advocate for a version of mindfulness that involves first learning to monitor your own body language, then others’ and then controlling your body language in order to control the conversation you’re having with other people, whether it’s a meeting, or a presentation, or even a simple one-on-one chat. But why should you do that work? It’s unnatural,… Read More

Why You Should Become Intentional

Sometimes when I work with clients, there’s a moment when the full implications of what I’m asking from them in terms of intentionality become clear. Wait, you mean that I’m responsible for my body language from the moment I walk out on stage until the end of the presentation? Or, you mean I have to be conscious of my body language for the entire meeting? The shocked look in their eyes reflects… Read More

How to think about storytelling

Back in the day when I was trying (and not succeeding) to make a living as an actor, one of the classes I took introduced a simple game that I’ve been playing off and on ever since. It was at first useful for developing Improv skills as an actor, then for storytelling skills as a speechwriter, then for passing the time in the car with young children, then as an icebreaker for… Read More

Phil Simon’s Message Has Been Received

I’ve known Phil Simon for a while now as a speaker and author on management, and so when he told me he was writing a book on my favorite subject, communication, I thought it was time to have a chat. Specifically, Phil’s taken on that perennial problem, jargon and business nonsense-speak. I can only stand back (way back) and applaud as Phil takes on this monstrosity. Here’s the Q and A –… Read More

How to train your brain for peak performance

So if we’ve got at least three brains and two of the three are busy sabotaging us at key moments of stress and performance, what can we do about it? What we’re going to focus on now is the unconscious work that you have to do to keep from giving up leadership automatically in those first few minutes of any conversation, meeting, negotiation, presentation, or high-stakes event, where the top dog gets… Read More

How Your Unconscious Mind Determines Your Communications

I posted recently on the dangers of leaving your body language to chance. I’m going to continue on this subject for a couple more blog posts. Your unconscious mind is busy 24-7 running your body, freeing up your conscious mind to think about things like the temperature of your latte and your Spotify playlist. That’s all good. But the unconscious mind also makes decisions for you and determines how confident or not… Read More