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

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

The art of storytelling

These days, we’re awash in data and information and can’t remember it all. But we do remember stories. Effective storytelling is the key to making your ideas stick, your path to market unique, and your brand memorable. In this newsletter, we focus on a number of ways to make your storytelling better. First, a blog series, with five quick ideas on what storytelling is, and is not. Each one of these blogs… Read More

Leadership communications — four steps to authenticity

Authenticity is the most important quality in leadership communications today. With it, you can move people to action. Without it, you can’t even get a hearing. Where does it come from, and how can you achieve it? Every communication is two conversations. The first conversation in every communication is the one you’re aware of: the content. The second conversation is the one that most humans are unconscious experts on: the nonverbal one…. 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

Is Q&A a good idea? And other questions

Why go to all the trouble of preparing a speech when you can just take questions? I’ve been asked that question many times by executives I’ve worked with that aren’t comfortable with the idea of all that focus on themselves, or the work involved in getting a speech ready, or simply can’t think of anything particularly earth-shattering to say. If you’re not sure what you want to say, Q&A can seem like… Read More

Rehearse Away Your Fear

In this podcast, the ninth and final one in the series based on my book, Give Your Speech, Change the World, I talk about ways my clients and I have found useful over the years for reducing fear.  I offer some tips on preparing just before a speech or presentation, and some longer-term ideas.  In addition, I talk about rehearsal — why it is helpful, and how to do it, including some… Read More

From ‘Yes We Can’ to ‘I don’t quit’ — a rhetorical analysis of President Obama’s State of the Union speech

President Obama gave his first official State of the Union address last night.  He gave a similar speech at a similar time last year, but he had just taken office, so the White House did not call that one a State of the Union.  This time, it’s POTUS’s first SOTU, as the insiders would say.  How did he do?  The classic dictum has it that ‘you campaign in poetry, but you govern… Read More

The basic principles of nonverbal communications – 5

Principle V:  The source of our nonverbal conversation is deep in the oldest part of the brain, in emotions, survival, and relationships – all that’s fundamental to our connections with others and with our surroundings.  Recent brain research has shown us something about the way our minds work that’s deeply counter-intuitive:  we gesture before we think.  We believe it’s the other way around because we’re aware, naturally enough, of our conscious thoughts… Read More