Story Telling

4 Ways to Boost Your Ability to Persuade

By on November 6, 2013

For a presenter, few moments are better than feeling you have the audience in the palm of your hand. And few are more painful than feeling the gulf between you and your listeners getting wider and wider. Here are 4 ways to boost your ability to persuade that seem to guide the great speakers I’ve […]

Story, Story, Story!

By on September 4, 2013

We never get tired of stories.  We read them, watch them, listen to them and tell them every day of our lives.  We even tell them to ourselves. I think science has established that we are not the only creatures with language, or the only creatures that use tools, or dance.  But so far, I […]

10 Commandments of Great Business Presenters

By on April 10, 2013

Define a problem that your audience faces.  Then solve it.  The human mind tends to fixate on problems: rubber-necking is a case in point. Presentations about problems have both emotional and intellectual appeal.  The problem, well-defined, elicits our feelings; the solution elicits our thoughts.  Everyone has problems, so why not tickle, then soothe their anxieties. […]

PowerPoint Slides: A good technique

By on October 12, 2012

Sophisticated presenters introduce the next PowerPoint slide before they leave the current one.  They do this to orient the audience to what is coming next. For instance, they might say at the end of their budget slide, “So our marketing budget is 10% greater than last year, and the main reason for this is the […]

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 […]

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 […]

Effective Speaking: Oscar Night Speeches

By on February 22, 2009

Getting ready for Oscar night? I am, and some memorable speeches from the past come to mind. Gwyneth Paltrow’s highly emotional acceptance speech  for her work in Shakespeare in Love was remarkable for her ability to verbalize in the midst of such emotion. Have you seen Emma Thompson’s acceptance speech for the Golden Globe award for Sense […]

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 […]

Communication Skills: Why Mr. Smarty Pants Has His Knickers in a Twist

By on March 31, 2008

What makes smart people dumb? Elizabeth Newton, a psychologist, conducted an experiment on the curse of knowledge while working on her doctorate at Stanford in 1990. She gave one set of people, called “tappers,” a list of commonly known songs from which to choose. Their task was to rap their knuckles on a tabletop to […]

Public Speaking: Split Shot Audience

By on March 16, 2008

Like that moment in bowling, when your ball leaves two pins standing far apart, there are times when your audience is divided into two camps. One half is knowledgeable about your area of expertise, while the other half is green.  Or, one half is interested in the science, while the other half is preoccupied with […]

Public Speaking Skills: Hillary vs. Obama

By on February 4, 2008

During the Clinton/Obama debate from California, Barack Obama seemed to get off to a good start, making his point (“I am the future, she is the past.”) at the end of his opening remarks. As I listened, I was made aware of the power of going first. I thought that Hillary Clinton would be at […]