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,


ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott’s Moving Speech

Stuart Scott, the ESPN anchor who died of cancer today at age 49, delivered a speech in July of last year that moved me to tears.

The speech was raw and honest—it was clear that he knew death was upon him—but he used the moment to uplift others and acknowledge those who carried his fight when


Four Better Ways To Speak From a Script (If You Must)

Many speakers like to type out their entire speeches.

It’s easy to imagine these presenters hunched over their laptops for days, a steady stream of caffeine serving as their only companions. Despite their sleep deprivation, their hard work ultimately results in carefully-edited, near-perfect speeches.

At least their scripts look perfect. But when the speakers read their words

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