What do Joshua Bell and Aristotle Have in Common?

For my blog post today I’m linking to a video crafted by my good friend and fellow coach and blogger Conor Neill. In it, he tells the story of famous violinist Joshua Bell playing in the subway and being ignored by hundreds of people walking by, despite the fact that he played to a sell-out crowd days earlier in Boston’s Symphony Hall. Conor brilliantly explains the mystery using Aristotle and ideas of… Read More

How to write a great speech

A great speech puts the occasion, the audience, and the speaker together in an unforgettable way. All three pieces of the rhetorical puzzle are important. When Churchill was going to give his famous ‘Iron Curtain’ speech after WW II, he didn’t go over to the House of Commons, where he delivered most of his orations. Churchill knew that the speech would be controversial, since the post-war world was not in the mood… Read More

People I’m Grateful for #11: Robert Cialdini

There is one book that everyone needs to know on why people do what they do.  It’s called Influence:  The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert B. Cialdini, and it is a classic.  Cialdini is professor emeritus of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University.  He doesn’t speak often about persuasion, but he has people approved to speak on the subject for him, so if you get a chance to hear a Cialdini… Read More

The Secret to Powerful Communication in 2 Words

If I had to sum up in two words everything I’ve learned in 25 years of work on communications, rhetoric, public speaking, speechwriting, and body language, those two words would be:  charismatic storytelling. Charismatic because in an over-stimulated, impatient world, it’s passion and charisma that get attention.  But passion alone doesn’t get you to charisma; that magic ingredient takes a little additional work.   Storytelling, because we’ve already got way too much… Read More

How to tell powerful stories in your speeches

Why tell stories in speeches? Because they are interesting, they help people remember what you say, and they are a good way to convey information and emotion memorably. Mark Turner, a writer and philosopher who has been associated with the Institute for Advanced Study, and the Center for Neural and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Maryland, goes even further. In his landmark book, The Literary Mind, published by Oxford in 1996,… Read More