How to Listen to a Speech

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I post often about how to give a speech.  But most of us also find ourselves on the receiving end of speeches too, and listening to them is nearly as hard work as giving them.  So how do you listen critically and well to a speech to get the most out of it, and avoid [...]

How to Change the World in 2014

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The only reason to give a speech is to change the world.  The world, in the case of your next speech, is that audience right in front of you.  It’s an incredible opportunity – a group of people has voted with its feet and put butts into chairs to listen to you.  These people are [...]

The Basic Building Blocks of a Great Speech – 6

This post is the sixth in a series on the basic building blocks of a great speech.  You’ve researched your audience, asked the right questions, and learned the particulars of the occasion.  You’ve created the opening frame of the talk with an engaging story that hints at the glories to come.  You’ve plunged the audience [...]

The Basic Building Blocks of a Great Speech – 5

This post is the fifth in a series on the basic building blocks of a great speech.  You’ve researched your audience, asked the right questions, and learned the particulars of the occasion.  You’ve created the opening frame of the talk with an engaging story that hints at the glories to come.  You’ve plunged the audience [...]

The Basic Building Blocks of a Great Speech – 4

This post is the fourth in a series of the basic building blocks of a great speech.  You’ve researched your audience, asked the right questions, and learned the particulars of the occasion.  You’ve created the opening frame of the talk with an engaging story that hints at the glories to come.  You’ve plunged the audience [...]

The Basic Building Blocks of a Great Speech – 3

This post is the third in a series of the basic building blocks of a great speech.  You’ve researched your audience, asked the right questions, and learned the particulars of the occasion.  You’ve created the opening frame of the talk with an engaging story that hints at the glories to come.  Now you’re ready to [...]

The Basic Building Blocks of a Great Speech – 1

How do you put together a great presentation?  Here I’m presenting a series of 7 blog posts on the basic building blocks of a killer speech.  And no, for the pedants among my readers, I’m not very interested in the false distinction some maintain between a presentation and a speech.  Whether you’re talking to a [...]

Less Is More

Public Speaking Less is More

Less is more. That’s the single most important public speaking rule of thumb.  When speakers make mistakes, it’s most often because they try to cram too much data into their talks, because they try to make too many points about the subject, or because they try to tell the audience everything they know about the [...]

How to prepare a 20-minute TED-like talk

How to prepare a 20 minute TED talk

More and more the call is for short speeches.  Of course, the popularity of TED and TEDx talks is one cause, but the impatient of the times is another, along with our shrinking attention spans and all the other distractions competing for our mindshare.  Keynote speeches, which used to be 90 minutes, are now 60, [...]

What’s the best way to end a presentation?

A speaker asks a lot of an audience.  Understanding, enthusiasm, support — and inactivity.  Speakers expect audiences to be passive most of the time.  That's after all what speakers are paid for — to inform and entertain the audience.  Not the other way around.  And the higher the price, the more entertaining the speaker better [...]