A Simple Body Language Trick to Increase Your Audience’s Trust in You

I’ve written occasionally about the power of mirroring to create trust in human interaction. The reason is relatively straightforward – we are more inclined to trust people who look and feel similar to us, and that is precisely what you do when you mirror someone. Recent studies show that mirroring makes a sales pitch 20 percent more effective, and that in salary negotiations you can get up to 1/3 more by mirroring… Read More

How to Increase the Persuasiveness of Your Speaking

I was struck recently by a set of research studies that reinforced the importance of touch in persuasion. Touching people (in a safe place such as the upper arm) causes them to leave bigger tips, return lost money, provide help to strangers, sign petitions, and assign higher status to the person doing the touching. Touching someone twice increased the effects. That got me thinking about how the importance of touch might apply… Read More

Ten Questions Public Speakers Should Ask Themselves Before They Speak

My favorite quote about public speaking is “the only reason to give a speech is to change the world.” I began my first book, Working the Room, with it — and it got re-titled in honor of the quote as Give Your Speech, Change the World. It does not come from President Kennedy, as many have thought. The origin is uncertain. I was thinking once again about this quotation when I ran… Read More

How to Warm Up for a Presentation

Today’s the day. You have a presentation to give. It’s your biggest audience yet. The organizers tell you there could be as many as five hundred people in the room. You can’t afford to screw up now. What thoughts run through your mind? Will I screw up? Will it go well? What if the technology fails? What if the audience gets bored? What if they don’t laugh at my jokes? What if… Read More

Eight Ways to Begin a Speech

The most difficult moments of a speech are those seemingly endless seconds of stage time while you get to your spot, find your notes or your clicker, look at the audience, wait for the applause to die down, and gather your wits to begin. You’re hoping it all goes well, wondering if the technology will work, fearing that it won’t, and trying to figure out why you agreed to speak to this… 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

Why I’m a Coach

Few people dream as children of becoming a coach when they grow up. The clichés run to more glamorous, limelight-stealing jobs, like movie star, or rap singer, or President. As a shy, awkward kid I wanted to be a writer because I loved the world of books and thought that creating those little universes would be the coolest thing possible. I did become a writer; I never thought of becoming a coach… Read More

What We Can Learn from President Obama’s Eulogy for Reverend Pinckney

The public speaking world has been abuzz for the past week about a standout speech delivered by President Obama in the form of a eulogy for the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, one of the nine people murdered at the historic Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 18th. Over the past week, David Meerman Scott and I have been discussing both the content of the eulogy and its delivery – and… Read More

Speakers Need to Beware of the Air They Breathe

Speakers, beware! The very air you breathe could be sabotaging your presentations. A recent study found that dry air – which is to say virtually any air you might breathe in your air-conditioned office, the car on the way to the airport, the airport, the airplane, the car to the hotel, the hotel, and the conference room where you’re speaking – all that air – leads to less elastic vocal chords, something… Read More

Five Signs You Have What It Takes to be a Public Speaker

I frequently chat with people who wonder if they should throw their hats in the ring of public speaking and go for the rarified life of a paid public speaker. The money is appealing, of course, but mostly what they wonder is, “Do I have what it takes?” By that they mean, “Does the world want to hear me hold forth on my area of passion and expertise?” When I ask them… Read More