Suffering from headache. Side view of depressed mature businessman touching head with hand with people sitting in a row behind him

How To Answer Tough Questions #2: Emotional Questions

Let’s say you represent a government agency and have been tasked with speaking at a local community meeting. A natural disaster occurred in that town—a major flood, perhaps—and local residents are furious at what they see as your agency’s inaction to help them rebuild.

In such a heated environment—one in which people have suffered the loss of life, work, or property—you can expect to be asked emotionally charged questions.

Your response to those questions must be aligned to the audience’s emotional concerns. Responding to emotionally heavy questions with facts alone isn’t enough. People need to know—and feel—that you get it.

Businessman holding wooden alphabet blocks reading - Shy - balanced in the palm of his hand.

A Trainer Asks: How Can I Expand My Client’s Range?

A fellow presentation trainer wrote in with a question about a client who was particularly shy. After three hours of working together, the trainer had exhausted his options and run out of ideas to help draw his client out.

In this post, I’ll discuss two techniques I’ve used successfully with shy clients. The first I use somewhat frequently. The second is rather dramatic — and while I don’t use it often, it’s yielded interesting results when I’ve needed it.

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.

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.



Why Being Witty Can Kill Your Presentations

In the mid-1990s, my cousin invited me to join her for a bar crawl in Washington, DC. At some point during the day, we swung by an apartment in Dupont Circle to pick up one of her friends.

When we entered her friend’s basement apartment, I noticed a flier on a coffee table supporting Joe Biden’s


How To Deliver Someone Else’s Presentation

Many speakers are asked to deliver a template presentation provided to them by their corporate office. They might be asked give an employee training workshop, a sales pitch, or a generic “about our company” seminar.

Oftentimes, the presentation is delivered to the speaker in the form of PowerPoint slides. If the company has its act together,

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