How Many Questions Should You Ask an Audience?

A recent question from reader and creator of the great blog and book about inquiry, A More Beautiful Question, Warren Berger, had to do with involving the audience. What is the right time, and what are the right ways, to involve audiences? Warren had heard a keynoter ask lots of questions of the audience, rhetorical and otherwise, and was wondering what the pros and cons of that approach were. Let’s go back to… Read More

How to master your gestures to become a more effective communicator

Every communication is two conversations. The first conversation is the one you’re aware of — the content. The second conversation is the one that you’re an unconscious expert on — the non-verbal one. These two conversations always go together. They are so integral to one another that most people tend to gesture with their hands and face even when they’re talking on the phone. Think about it. No one else can see… Read More

10 steps you can take right now to improve your presentations

Improving your presentation skills can be hard work. Changing behavior takes time. But there are some easy things you can do right now that will make a concrete difference in your presentation success rate. Some are physical, some are about a change in attitude. But they’re all practical, simple, and immediate. Get started now! 1. Lose the PowerPoint When you put up PowerPoint slides you ask the audience to look at 2… Read More

How to interview well

How do you pull off a great job interview, especially if you need the job, or if you feel that you are the supplicant and the interviewer holds all the power in the situation? Only a very few people seem to enjoy job interviews, or do them well. Following are some tips on how to join that elite crew and make your job interviews fun and successful. The first idea to get… Read More

Body language: how to master non-verbal communication

If you’re like most people, you think about body language as follows. I’m pretty much in charge of my body. I direct it, from the control tower in my head. I tell it what to do. ‘Make coffee’ I say, and it goes through the motions. ‘Now drink it’ I say, and it obliges. Sure, there are activities like breathing that I let it handle on its own, but that’s mostly low-level… Read More

How to decode other people’s body language

We are all unconscious experts in reading other people’s intentions toward us. We evolved these skills in the woolly mammoth era because our lives depended on them, and the unconscious mind works must faster than the conscious mind. But we are not very good at making this unconscious awareness conscious. We can react with blinding speed, literally before we can think about it consciously, to duck a punch that some drunken lout… Read More

How to be a good corporate communicator

Presentations are a fact of life in the workplace. Most of them are about as exciting as Jello – and about as well formed. In this newsletter, we address the problem, hoping to improve the lot of audiences everywhere. We talk about how to get the structure of a presentation right, why your body language is just as important as your speech (and your slides) and how to overcome nervousness. We also… Read More

Speakers worth catching – 4: Craig Mod and the Do Lectures

Watch out, TED.  There’s a rival for your viewers’ attentions out there:  the Do Lectures.  The Do Lectures are granola and Birkenstocks where TED is arugula and, I don’t know, Italian loafers.  The Do Lectures happen on a small farm in the little country of Wales, and they’re mostly about sustainable living, but the big idea is that they are talks about people who Do Things, and who might inspire us to… Read More

Speakers worth catching – 2: Doug Keeley

I’m back from some travel with the second in my series about speakers worth catching.  If you have speakers you’ve seen recently that inspired you, please send along the names and I’ll see about including them in the series. On to Doug Keeley.  Doug is the CEO and Chief Storyteller of The Mark of a Leader, a program that brings leadership training to corporations around the world.  He’s also the author of… Read More

Body Language Quick Takes – What Does Passion Look Like?

What are the body language signs of passion?  You’re thinking, this is a joke, right?  No, I’m not going to talk about sex.  I’ll leave that to the experts and the Internet.  What I’m talking about are the signs that a co-worker or friend or family member is about to erupt in rage, or frustration, or pique, or excitement, or even hilarity.  We put such a premium in most workplaces — and… Read More