Success strategy: tie the outcome to the process

By on March 8, 2016

Top performers practice what they’re bad at, even though it’s frustrating, and they do it to the point of mental and physical exhaustion. They go until they break down old habits and develop new ones. I believe in this approach–that is, I believe that it’s helpful to people to first acquire a new set of […]

Rehearsing Presentations: Is there a better way to practice?

By on April 23, 2014

Creating 10,000 presentations in the course of your career and rehearsing them all with great care will not necessarily guarantee you presentation mastery. Neuroscience, and common sense, show that factors other than blind repetition must prevail. For example, if your golf swing isn’t any good, and you hit the driving range everyday of the summer, […]

Business Communication: You Are a Professional Speaker

By on September 25, 2013

If you work for a company, and your job entails public speaking, you are paid to speak. That’s right, you are a professional speaker–in the same business as Anthony Robbins, Jack Welch, and Malcolm Gladwell. Your company is paying you to make something happen when you stand up to address a group.  They are paying […]

Welcome to the game

By on October 27, 2010

On a train to New York, I saw a man unpack a portable electric guitar, assemble it, plug earphones into it, and begin to play.  He was sitting at the window with two people packed next to him.  No one heard a sound. On the way out of the train, I asked him how long […]

Two kinds of selling

By on August 4, 2010

I spent a day working on sales messages and presentation of those messages with a sales force, except the sales force was divided in two—half were an outside field force, and half were inside sales. We discovered that it was very difficult for the inside sales force to deliver a complete presentation because they were […]

The fourth wall or not

By on July 20, 2010

Over cigars and Chivas on Sunday night with Dikki Ellis, Michael Christensen and Zach Grenier, we came across an interesting distinction between clowning and acting, and one that is helpful to business speakers. Michael is a Co-Founder of the Big Apple Circus and the Founder of the circus’s Clown Care Unit.  Dikki is a senior […]

Let us now praise specifics

By on June 2, 2010

We are entitled to our own opinions, but none of us is entitled to our own facts. In fact, most of us hold our opinions with little respect for facts.  For instance, when you ask a passionate partisan why she voted for her candidate, you are likely to hear slogans about small government or social injustice. Lots […]

An Emerging Problem at Limited Partner Meetings

By on April 14, 2010

At the annual LP meetings I’ve been working on, I have noticed that the senior guy wants to give his views on the macro economic picture. He wants to do this for good reasons:  To put the results his team will report into context, and to demonstrate his broad knowledge of economic cycles in order […]

Public Speaking: Talent or Skill?

By on June 13, 2008

Public speaking is a talent before it becomes a skill. A talent is a latent ability, something that is dormant inside you. When you work at it, it becomes a skill. If you do have a potential talent for speaking and you work at it, you are likely to receive encouragement and recognition for your […]

Public Speaking Skills: After Dinner Speaking

By on June 6, 2008

I just finished working with a client who had to prepare and deliver an after dinner talk to clients in a museum. Her firm planned to take the clients on a private tour of the museum, feed them dinner, and then she was to stand up and offer them a short talk on investment opportunities […]

Communication Skills Training: How to Give Good Webinars

By on May 23, 2008

Webinars seem to be a promising, cost-effective way of building relationships with prospects, but they’re hard to do well. As a medium for communicating with groups, they have their own quirks and require a lot of preparation. Here are a few rules of thumb. First, define your desired outcomes in terms of what the audience […]

Public Speaking Training: The Dreaded just-after-lunch Slot on the Program

By on May 22, 2008

Effective speaking has many enemies. A partial list would include a speaker’s lack of experience, stage fright, lack of training, no clear point, too much information, and finally, no clear flow, or structure. We could go on. But the items on the list are only those enemies that hide within the speaker himself. What about […]

Speaking Anxiety: Stage Fright

By on April 5, 2008

In the Jobs section of the New York Times, on Sunday March 30th, Phyllis Korkki has written an article entitled The Adroit Speaker Doesn’t Wing It. That’s true and not true. I believe wholeheartedly in preparing, rehearsing, getting feedback, even scripting a speech or presentation. But then, once I have internalized the content, I boil […]

Communication Training: The Show in Business

By on March 27, 2008

I once had a colleague who said that everyone is in two businesses: their own, and show biz. He didn’t go far enough. Every business is show business. Business would be impossible without acting skills. Theater artists have the talent to believe in the imaginary circumstances of the script and act so as to induce […]

Sales Training: The Five Don’ts of Sales Presenting

By on October 1, 2007

When transforming your house into a dream home, talk to three architects. When getting heart surgery to transform the quality of your life, talk to three surgeons. And to transform your sales presentations, talk to three consultants. I have three people in mind. The first is Ford Harding, a sales consultant to professional service firms […]

Speaking Anxiety: A Loss of Confidence

By on September 10, 2007

A friend of mine, who is a very successful consultant, told me that she has lost her confidence as a speaker. For twenty years she has been speaking to large groups of clients and potential clients with success.  Now she feels very unsure of herself. She reports to me that she’s terrified of going blank.  While she used to […]

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