The Journey to Mastery

I was originally going to call my book Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Personal Impact (which launched a year ago this week) by another title: Mastery.   Now, unless you’ve been through the book writing and publishing mill, you may not know a curious fact about the process: the title of the book is one of the two things that a publisher cares about and… Read More

How To Change The World

When Joseph Campbell (The Hero with a Thousand Faces) introduced the Quest and following your bliss to the world and to George Lucas, his thinking derived in part from the Sanskrit exploration of ontology, the study of what it means to be a sentient being. As Campbell explains, “There are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence: Sat, Chit, Ananda. The word ‘Sat’ means being…. Read More

Finding Your Voice

A recent study of CEO’s voices – and they were all male – found that the ones with lower voices made more money than higher-voiced counterparts in other companies. Add that study to the many other such studies about voices and leadership, and you’d be pardoned for freaking out if your voice doesn’t sound like James Earl Jones. How can you possibly succeed? And I get asked by women clients about voices… Read More

Does It Matter What You Wear?

Speakers frequently ask me about what to wear for their big day. My advice is always the same. Now, a study has come along from Abraham Rutchick, a professor of psychology at California State University, that adds a new wrinkle. First, there are the basic ideas I recommend that haven’t changed.

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

What Was That CEO Thinking?

What’s up with the McDonald’s CEO? Steve Easterbrook, the McDonald’s CEO, delivered a video statement to the business community and McDonald’s franchisees around the world recently. The result is a classic example of how not to do it. His performance is spectacularly awful on a number of levels. CEOs and communications people everywhere should watch the video as an object lesson in bad communications.

The Secrets of Great Storytelling

I worked with a great team of people involved in teaching K–12 students last week, and it was an honor to coach them because of the important work they’re doing. When our society gives teachers the material rewards they deserve for what they do, they we will demonstrate that we really do care about the well-being of our children and grandchildren. Until then, it’s only lip service that we pay. OK, enough… Read More

What’s the secret to learning?

What’s the secret to effective learning? That’s a question that educators, teachers, professors, researchers, and the Armed Forces have been asking for as long as there have been educators, teachers, professors, researchers and so on. It seems obvious that trying hard would be key to successful learning, doesn’t it? Surely the more effort you put into learning the better the result.

Can You Present Well Sitting Down?

One question I get asked regularly is about sitting down to present. If there are only a few people in the room, if it’s an informal setting, if we’re used to presenting seated, if it’s a board meeting and all the board is sitting, if I want to send out a casual message, if I don’t want to be too authoritative – then can I present sitting down? Often, the real reason… Read More

Comedians Really Are Better Talkers

Do you have the gift of the gab? Or do you struggle for words when you’re standing in front of your colleagues – or a conference full of expectant attendees? New research suggests that if you’re struggling for words, it might be because you’re going about speaking in the wrong way. A recent study of some real pros – professional comedians – found that they do indeed speak a bit differently than… Read More