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

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

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

How Should You Gesture When Speaking?

How should you gesture in order to win the favor of the crowd, persuade the audience of your point of view, or appear most charismatic? I get asked variants on these questions all the time by speakers wanting to up their game, executives wishing to improve the odds of their success, and thought leaders wanting to get more attention for their ideas. The key to successful gesture is not what you think… Read More

Young Public Speakers Should Investigate Lumos

I get inquiries occasionally from young people – high school students – looking to improve their speaking skills who can’t necessarily afford our fees. I haven’t had anywhere to send them until now, beyond recommending Toastmasters; I’m very pleased to have recently met Graeme Blackman and to be able to support his venture with a little (free) advice and this Q and A. Young people, at least in the Boston area for… Read More

The Three Tasks of a Public Speaker

The work of a public speaker is never done. You can never complete your expertise – true knowledge of a subject is the work of a lifetime. You can never finish perfecting your presentation – even Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech had some slips of the tongue, and it is generally considered one of the best speeches of the last century. It’s too early in this century to talk… Read More

The Public Speaking Secrets of Comedians

I ran across David Nihill the other day when he sent me his book and begged me with tears in his virtual eyes to say something nice about it. Actually, that’s what everyone else does. David just sent me the book and didn’t ask for anything, which was so charming that I immediately sat down and read his book. There’s a lot in it that’s funny, and a lot that’s useful for… Read More

How to Conquer Your Unconscious Fears

This is the final post in a series on putting your unconscious mind to work for you, rather than leaving the biggest part of your communications to chance – or letting your unconscious fears and memories hold you back. I am not a believer in that mumbo-jumbo from The Secret that says if you just believe that a million dollars will manifest itself in your pocket, it will. But I do think… 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