Should a Speaker Tell Stories about her Speaking in her Speeches?

Movies about movies rarely succeed, just as theatre about theatre usually falls flat. Industry insiders love them, and so they keep getting performed and filmed, but the general public doesn’t embrace them as a rule. Noises Off, which is my personal choice for the funniest movie of all time, a movie about a play about […]

How to handle hecklers and loudmouths

We’ve all been there as a speaker, watching (and listening) with a fast-sinking heart as some loudmouth begins asking a question and goes on forever, long after you’ve realized that there is no question in there, just an opinion that won’t stop.  Or worse, you’ve got the heckler who won’t stop throwing in a cantankerous […]

How Your Unconscious Mind Betrays You – and What You Can Do about It

Back in the cave person era, by all accounts, we evolved this exquisite mechanism, the fight or flight response, to handle brief, intense moments of danger, when we needed to be on high alert and face the world ready to fight or get the heck outta there. We’re not even consciously aware of this mechanism, […]

The Promises a Speaker Makes

A speaker makes two kinds of promises to an audience – the explicit and the implicit.  Explicit promises involve foreshadowing, framing, and creating signposts in your talk (by the end of the talk, you’ll know how to charm sparrows from trees and have them eating out of your hand; there are five ways to prevent […]

Don’t Let Your Audiences Be Passive!

People don’t like to be passive.  They don’t like to sit still and do nothing.  They’d even rather shock themselves repeatedly than just sit and think, according to a study recently published in Science. The study received a fair amount of press attention, possibly because it harkened back to the infamous Milgram study from many […]