The Three Tasks of a Public Speaker

The work of a public speaker is never done. You can never complete your expertise – true knowledge of a subject is the work of a lifetime. You can never finish perfecting your presentation – even Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech had some slips of the tongue, and it is generally considered one of the best speeches of the last century. It’s too early in this century to talk… Read More

How to Prepare a Presentation

How do you prepare for an upcoming presentation? Let’s say it’s an important one, so you’re not going to wing it, just showing up in the moment and saying whatever comes into your mind. Not a good idea, really, even for a minor presentation, so good for you for prepping – this time. A recent study about dealing with stress highlighted two of the worst ways to deal with that pesky phenomenon:… Read More

Slideware: Just Don’t Do It

I was talking this week to a very nice group of folks who were prepping me for a speech to their organization in December. We first talked about the audience, their issues, what they needed to hear, and what was keeping them up at night. Then, we discussed logistics. And during the course of this logistics discussion, The Question came up, as it always does: are you going to use slides? Now,… Read More

The Five Basic Secrets of Great Speechwriting

This is my most popular blog post ever.  I’m trying to grab a little vacation this week, so enjoy, and forgive the summer re-run. David McCloud, the Chief of Staff of the Governor of Virginia, taught me how to write a great speech: •    Great speeches are primarily emotional, not logical •    Small shifts in tone make an enormous difference to the audience, so sweat the details •    A great speech has… Read More

Which Is Better — A Humble Speaker or an Arrogant One?

Should a speaker be humble or – its opposite? Let’s call it ‘arrogant’? ‘Conceited’? ‘Egotistical’? Or the more neutral ‘assertive’? It takes some confidence to stand up in front of an audience and share your ideas, your passions, your point of view. And in fact, in my coaching, I spend a good deal of time helping clients move past issues of the lack of confidence manifesting itself in one form or another…. Read More