Can anyone become a great speaker?

Can anyone become a great speaker? I get asked that question surprisingly often. And people struggle with the answer I give them: yes, if you’re willing to do the work. I think what they want to hear is, no, it’s something you’re born with (or not). Because that latter answer would let them off the hook. So what is involved in becoming a great speaker? If you’re serious about it, you have… Read More

How to make sure your 20-minute speech has a long-lasting impact

I’ve been working recently with clients on more and more 20-minute speeches. As I indicated in an earlier blog post, it’s the era of shorter speeches. Fidel Castro holds forth no more, and Hugo Chavez is gone altogether, so multi-hour practitioners are on the wane, but the rest of us are expected to bring it in under an hour more and more frequently. My fearless prediction is that 20-minute speeches will become… 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

Funny speeches: how to use humor in public speaking

Humor can be hazardous to the health of public speakers. Most speakers want to be funny, but you’ve got to do humor well, or it falls flat and that’s worse than no humor at all. Here I provide a guide for avoiding the worst mistakes of traditional one-liners and cheap irony, replacing them instead with ironic and witty humor that works and wins audiences over to your side. And, if you insist… 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

eBook: How to Give a Great Presentation

How do you prepare and structure a great presentation? Too many people assemble slides from “decks” of previous presentations as if a presentation were like a pack of cards, writes Dr. Nick Morgan, one of America’s top communication theorists and coaches. The right process begins by focusing on a clear point of view and picking an appropriate structure. Getting the structure right greatly increases the likelihood that your presentation will be easy… Read More

The Three Postures and Authenticity

Public Words Speaker Forum, June 2010, Harvard University. Nick Morgan talks about how audiences unconsciously evaluate the intent of speakers by how the speakers simply stand and walk on the stage. The result is that you can convey a message you don’t mean to, and give an audience the wrong impression about you. Nick shows how to create the right impression — and give your audience the chance to receive the authentic… Read More

The Two Most Important Things To Remember When Giving A Speech

From a series produced by SkillSoft, July 2010. Let go of all the extraneous stuff and focus on your audience. Make sure you tell them one idea and one idea only. Watch on YouTube»

Give Your Speech Change the World

Video Book Review by Chris Brogan. My friend, Tim Sanders sent me this book by Nick Morgan, Give Your Speech, Change the World: How to Move Your Audience to Action. I admit that as a pro speaker, I wasn’t sure what I’d take from it. Well, I took tons from it, and you might, too, either as a beginner or someone with some speeches under your belt. Here’s a quick video review…. Read More

Basic Principles of Persuasive Rhetoric – 1

Persuasive rhetoric is about phrasing your arguments so that your listeners can hear them.  I’m going to do a series of blogs on persuasive content – aka rhetoric – to match the series I just finished on nonverbal communication.  I have seen good speakers – and speeches – go bad time and time again because a well-intentioned person or a good idea didn’t meet the audience halfway.  If you want to connect… Read More