What’s Wrong with TED?

What’s wrong with TED?  There’s no question it has been an extraordinarily successful venture.  It has transformed the world of public speaking in a number of ways, most of them obviously for the better.  But it has had some subtler negative effects too, and that’s what this post covers. It’s hard to remember now, but there was a time, before TED, when it was difficult to get the measure of a professional… Read More

How Do You Create Intimacy as a Speaker?

I wrote last week about how speakers need to move deeper into authenticity to achieve intimacy with their audiences.  I see this new demand as part of the increasingly blurred working and home world that our always-on, Twitter and Facebook-saturated culture brings. The question is, how do you create intimacy?  I think you have to reveal a little bit of yourself, your real self, to the audience.  You get to choose which… Read More

The Best and Worst Communicators of 2013

Who were the best and worst communicators in 2013?  In a very real sense, it’s an impossible question.  There are something like 6 billion of us humans on the planet.  All of us are communicating all the time (if mostly during our waking hours).  So, to pick 10 best and worst is to ignore the plain fact that we all could find our way on that list – for good or ill… Read More

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 get down to it. Remember that you asked yourself the question, what is the problem that the… Read More

Don’t Do Irony Like This?

I recently posted about irony as the humor of this era, and David Meerman Scott asked, naturally enough, for an example of someone doing irony well from the stage.  So here is a TED talk from Ze Frank that begins and ends with irony and has a lot in between.  And it’s hilarious.  Enjoy! Ze Frank TED

Carmen Agra Deedy Reveals the Secret to Great Storytelling

If you want to master great storytelling, you have to learn 3 essential lessons.  All of them are contained in a wonderful TED talk by Carmen Agra Deedy about her mother, driving, and a universal insight. 1.  No story from your life is as interesting to others as it is to you.   You have to be concise.  You have to pick your details.  You have to ruthlessly cut out the history and… Read More

Are you too old to be a professional speaker?

Paid public speaking often seems like a great second career idea for people who have achieved something worth talking about in their first career.  But if you’ve got the kids through college and you’ve sold your company or launched your clothing line or cured malaria – are you too old, in our youth-obsessed culture – to be successful?  Do you have to be 30-something, in essence, to pull down the big bucks… Read More

What’s the difference between watching a TED speech on your computer and attending an event?

We’re watching a great deal of video on our computers these days, and seeing fewer live human speeches.  That’s a perfectly understandable trend, born of time and money issues, but it’s important to understand that something is missing when you don’t attend the live event.  If you have decision-making power over a travel-and-conference budget, you need to know that shutting event-going down altogether will have some ugly unintended consequences. Here’s why. 1. … Read More

5 Ways to Avoid Looking Like an Idiot as a Public Speaker

I let the doctor talk me into a flu shot during my annual physical this week, and I’ve had a bit of a reaction to it.  I bled, my arm swelled up, and now I’ve got the mini-flu.  So, needing a laugh, I am thankful to friend and great speaker Micah Solomon, guru of customer service in the digital era, for sending me a link to the Onion TED-talk spoof.  It’s fun,… Read More

Election Sanity Break: Funny TED-Like, Non-TED Talk a Must-See

We succeed because of our weaknesses, not in spite of them.  With that counter-intuitive thought, David Rendall takes his audience on a funny, insightful journey through the mysteries of growing up different, coping with flaws and finding entrepreneurial success.  This video is one of the funniest, TED-like, non-TED talks I’ve seen, and I recommend it highly for David’s wit and wisdom, his energy, and some of the mistakes he makes as a… Read More