Comedian performing on a black background

The Comedy Formula Every Public Speaker Should Try

Stand-up comics are often on the road for hundreds of dates each year.

No matter how successful their performances, they know they can’t keep returning to the same cities with the same set—so they continually try new material. But introducing new, untested material can be risky.

Here’s a technique comedians use to mitigate that risk. It’s a technique public speakers everywhere should use.

PowerPoint Projector

How To Select The Perfect PowerPoint Image

Many presenters understand that it’s a bad idea to clutter their PowerPoint slides with dozens of words, numerous bullets, and a handful of sub-bullets. They know that it’s better to use a compelling image, one that visually reinforces the point they’re making verbally.

Knowing that is a good start. But it’s not enough.

In this post, you will see the evolution of a single idea over four slides, which will help you learn an easy way to identify the right images for your next presentation.

Fitbit Flex

A Clever Way To Control Your Time At Speaking Events

I bought a FitBit Flex Wireless Activity Wristband last year.

The FitBit is a terrific little device that tracks the number of steps you take, the number of miles you walk, and the number of calories you can eat each day based upon your activity level. It’s a high-tech and feature-rich modern day pedometer that syncs automatically to your smartphone or computer.

Believe it or not, the FitBit has also made me a more effective public speaker.

Young girl climbs a ladder on green meadow with blue sky

How To Answer Tough Questions #1: Walk The Ladder

In this post—the first in a new occasional series about how to answer tough questions during media interviews, presentations, and job interviews—you’ll learn a technique that will help you reframe hostile questions and answer them directly (but on your terms).

You’ll also see a video of Steve Jobs demonstrating the technique brilliantly.

And if you never do public speaking, you’ll be able to use this device the next time your partner snaps at you for neglecting your chores.

Caitlyn Jenner ESPY

My Review: Caitlyn Jenner’s ESPY Award Speech

Caitlyn Jenner accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award with a high-profile speech at the ESPYs last night.

Her recognition was greeted enthusiastically by many, but with a fair bit of skepticism by others who questioned whether someone who went through gender transition was really the best symbol of bravery.

Against that backdrop—and bearing the hopes of many who struggle with their identity—she proceeded to deliver a knockout speech that hit almost all of the right notes. It’s a speech worth watching.

Jenny Horne

One Woman’s Impassioned Speech To Bring Down The Flag

Jenny Horne, a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, received national attention for a four-minute speech she delivered last week imploring her colleagues to take down the Confederate Flag at her State House.

Her speech was almost universally well reviewed. USA Today called it “stirring.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution credited her speech with helping to bring down the flag.

With praise from so many corners, I was sure I’d love her speech. I didn’t.

101 Ways to Open a Speech Start at Beginning Not Clickable

Announcing My New Book: “101 Ways to Open a Speech”

I’m delighted to announce that my second book, 101 Ways to Open a Speech, was released today and is now available on Amazon!

101 Ways to Open a Speech introduces you to a broad range of speech starters, using dozens of real-life examples and original suggestions. You will find opens intended to surprise, persuade, motivate, engage, and amuse your audiences. Some tell a story, others help frame your topic, and a few rely on modern technology.

I wrote the book with the hope that it would become an indispensable desktop reference for everyone who ever presents to any audience.


The Science of Storytelling: Why Your Brain Loves Stories

For years, we’ve been advising our presentation training clients to incorporate storytelling into their presentations, often during the opening. We’ve consistently observed how stories captivate an audience and lead to the most memorable moments of an entire speech.

Frankly, it doesn’t take an expert to spot that. Everyone sitting in the audience sees the same thing. 


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