How Do You Start A Speaking Career?

People ask me all the time how they can get started on a public speaking career. Perhaps they’ve seen someone give a keynote speech at a conference and they think to themselves, “I could do that. Better.” Or perhaps they’ve heard that there’s a lot of money to be made – at least, per hour – giving those big-conference keynotes. Or, most likely, they are passionate about an idea and want to… 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

What’s the Most Important Thing for a Speaker to Worry About?

What’s the most important aspect of speaking for a professional speaker to develop? I get asked that question all the time by people at the early stages of their careers, people who are passionate about some idea or cause or field of knowledge and who want to spread their expertise to the world. They’re thinking that they need to develop their storytelling ability, or their charisma, or perhaps just to create a… Read More

How to Communicate with Passion

I’m going to close out 2014 with a final word on passion. I’ve talked all year about techniques, neuroscience, and rhetorical devices designed to make you the best communicator you can be – the best public speaker you can be. In the end, though, I never forget – and you should never forget – that it comes down to passion. You’ve got to show up and be present in order to reach… Read More

The Happy Speaker

The professional speaking life takes a tough constitution. First of all, of course, it means travel, on today’s terms – which are not pleasant. Unless you’re going first class all the way, and even then, travel is stressful. You have to manage your health, and your time away from home, and your diet, and your exercise, and, well, everything else. It’s all tougher out of a suitcase. Then, there’s the adrenaline cycle…. Read More

Are you too old to be a professional speaker?

Paid public speaking often seems like a great second career idea for people who have achieved something worth talking about in their first career.  But if you’ve got the kids through college and you’ve sold your company or launched your clothing line or cured malaria – are you too old, in our youth-obsessed culture – to be successful?  Do you have to be 30-something, in essence, to pull down the big bucks… Read More

How to Get a Standing Ovation

Be honest.  If you’re a speaker, you crave one.  Everyone else gets one, why shouldn’t you?  And those invitations to speak are going to flow much more often if you can say, “She’s greeted with rapturous audiences giving standing ovations wherever she goes!” So how do you get a standing ovation?  Three simple steps.  Simple, but not easy to do well. 1.  Speak on a topic you’re passionate about.  Ultimately, it comes… Read More

How to Wield More Influence

How much do you dominate the conversation?  That’s one way of thinking about influence – how much you’re in control of the conversation in your work and in your life.  Influence in this sense is governed by four things:  positional power, emotion, expertise, and control of the interaction.  Do you have all the influence you want – and no doubt deserve? Influence Has Four Sources Start with positional power.  If you have… Read More

5 Quick Steps to a Killer TED Speech

I spend a fair amount of time these days as a communication coach helping people prepare for TED speeches.  Even people who never prepared a speech before, preferring to wing it, suddenly get coaching religion when it comes to TED.  There’s something about knowing that 18 minutes of you will be there, forever, on the Internet, to compare to all those other geniuses, that gives even confident b*llsh*t artists pause.   So,… Read More

There’s No Such Thing as a Motivational Speaker

A friend sent this funny video dispelling the myths of motivational speakers.  It has a good time poking fun at the occupational hazards of the job.  But let me take the idea here one step further.  There is no such thing as the job category, “Motivational Speaker.”  At least, there shouldn’t be, and you shouldn’t think of yourself as one, or even aspire to become one.  Why, you say?  What’s wrong with… Read More