Five Common Rookie Storytelling Mistakes

In honor of this week’s launch of our new online course, Presentation Prep: 10 Steps to Persuasive Storytelling, I’m devoting this post to some of the rookie storytelling mistakes I’ve seen in my 18 years as the President of Public Words Inc. But first a word about our course. We’ve teamed with an online course development company called Choose Growth, and we’re hoping that you’ll find it fun to do, easy to… Read More

What’s Wrong With Acronyms?

Just because it’s possible to sum up the key takeaways in your presentation in one of those annoying acronyms doesn’t mean you should yield to the temptation. “And here’s an easy way to remember the four rules of successful selling – C. R. A. P. –  where C stands for Connection, R stands for Rapport, A stands for Assumptions and P stands for Positioning!” Of course, the silliness of the word phrase… Read More

The Journey to Mastery

I was originally going to call my book Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Personal Impact (which launched a year ago this week) by another title: Mastery. Now, unless you’ve been through the book writing and publishing mill, you may not know a curious fact about the process: the title of the book is one of the two things that a publisher cares about and reserves… Read More

The Secrets of Great Storytelling

I worked with a great team of people involved in teaching K–12 students last week, and it was an honor to coach them because of the important work they’re doing. When our society gives teachers the material rewards they deserve for what they do, they we will demonstrate that we really do care about the well-being of our children and grandchildren. Until then, it’s only lip service that we pay. OK, enough… Read More

Comedians Really Are Better Talkers

Do you have the gift of the gab? Or do you struggle for words when you’re standing in front of your colleagues – or a conference full of expectant attendees? New research suggests that if you’re struggling for words, it might be because you’re going about speaking in the wrong way. A recent study of some real pros – professional comedians – found that they do indeed speak a bit differently than… Read More

Five Tips For Effective Communicating

I spent a day recently working with a team of people who belong to a part of the government that I can’t mention. But aside from talking about hamsters and flying cars instead of the real work they were doing, so that they didn’t have to kill me at the end of the day, the training focused on body language and storytelling as it usually does. And the concerns and struggles of… Read More

What a story is and is not – part 2

This is the second of a two-part post on storytelling — what it is and is not. As I said last time, connecting with another person is one of the highest forms of social being for humans. At the heart of it is good storytelling. When I’m telling you a story, and you’re engaged in it, you match your brain waves to mine. If I’m telling you a story with a familiar structure,… Read More

What Storytelling Is Not

This is the first of a two-part post on storytelling — what it is and is not. Connecting with another person is one of the highest forms of social being for humans. At the heart of it is good storytelling. When I’m telling you a story, and you’re engaged in it, you match your brain waves to mine. If I’m telling you a story with a familiar structure, your brain actually anticipates… Read More

What is your story?

People have told an infinite number of stories since we first gathered around a campfire in the dark and needed to pass the time and keep the shadows away. How many have you heard? How many do you remember? How do you find yours? There are an infinite number of stories, but only a few great ones. Because great stories are based on values. So find your story by starting with your… Read More

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