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More great public speaking advice from Nick Morgan

Nick Morgan keeps giving away solid advice about public speaking. If you speak in public ever, you really should be following his blog. (And his book, Give Your Speech, Change The World, has been required reading for my team.) Today he posted an excellent list of twelve public speaking rules. Rules three and four on […]

Presenting? Rehearse, out loud.

   I gave a new presentation at a conference last weekend. I had been unsure about how it was going to be received. The topic was more esoteric than I usually do for a conference session. And in the days leading up to the session, I still wasn’t “feeling” it. My ideas and the narrative […]

My presentation today: Do less, better

   I’m presenting at a conference today. I’m posting a PDF of my slides here for those in the session or for any who are interested.  I use slides to support what I say, not to make what I say redundant. So, seeing my slides is not the same as seeing the presentation. Conference organizers […]

Showing my work: Analog color

I’m leading an educational session at a conference this week. It’s a first for this topic for me, and I don’t feel I’ve found my framework yet. It just hasn’t clicked. I’ve floundered around with digital tools — Keynote, Mindnode, text editors — but the flow hasn’t come yet. So, today I turned around to […]

Don’t hold back when you present

I gave a couple of presentations already this week. Both were somewhat informal. No slides. Fewer than 25 in each group.  Today I was Skyped into a student staff meeting at Stanford. That was a first for me. It’s an odd experience to not be physically in the room with the audience. It was a […]

Be the audience

Filmmaker Christopher Nolan (Inception, the Batman trilogy, Interstellar) had this response recently when asked how he thinks of the audience when creating films: “Every stage in the process, I try to be the audience,” he answered. “I don’t think of the audience as someone else. We’re all a part of the audience.” I’m in the […]

TED inspired speaking advice

It seems the fundamental advice about how to give a good speech is pretty obvious by now. How often can you repeat the basics of effective public speaking? But I saw two articles recently that had fresh takes worth reading, both inspired by the TED Talk experience. 5 Secrets of a Successful TED Talk highlights solid […]

Notes to myself

These are the notes I wrote on the board for our student staff meeting today. I was reminding them of what I think are some key principles when connecting with all the visitors we encounter every day. Make the audience the hero – It’s not about you. Put yourself in the mindset of those you’re […]

Speech season

I’ve given six presentations on three different topics over the past two weeks. I’m always a bit surprised when I get an invitation to speak. How do these groups find me, and why do they want me on their meeting agenda? I’m not exactly hustling to get gigs. But do enough gigs and word spreads. […]

Four thoughts

This has been speech week for me. Three speaking gigs in four days, each on a different topic. My final one of the week is tomorrow morning as keynote for a student leadership honor society event. I don’t actively pursue speaking opportunities. They just come to me, mostly through word of mouth and groups I’ve […]

Speak to spark change

I was a guest lecturer in a class on campus today. I spoke about how to make effective presentations. A presentation about presentations. So meta. I get excited talking to groups about effective presentations. So few people seem to relish the opportunity to speak publicly. Yet it’s such a worthwhile way to force yourself to think […]

Talk with, not at

Note to self: Even if it’s a speech, talk with, not at. It’s a stance, a tone, a shift in perspective that can make an audience of hundreds feel like the speaker is with them, connecting directly and personally. Ask questions. Move. Make eye contact. Feel what they are feeling. Be with the audience. And […]

The truth about art

We all know that art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth. –Pablo Picasso Jason Silva keeps making good stuff. I appreciate his effusive expressiveness. He’s got charisma, and I love how he’s using video to convey in short bursts his passion for ideas and feelings that awaken possibility and […]

Presenters: Prepare for AV to fail

I did a talk to a student group last night and the AV didn’t work. It was in the main classroom building on campus where I’ve never had any AV problems before.* I had just created a new version of this presentation earlier in the day and hadn’t taken the time to rehearse, so when I […]

Showing my work: FAB 4

Showing my work helps remind me what a rewardingly messy process creation is. An audience typically only sees the well honed final creation, but it’s worthwhile to share openly the process that creates the product. I take heart when I see an artist show the rough drafts and discarded wrong steps. I’m remixing a presentation […]

Hero Quest

I’m tweaking the slides for a presentation I’m giving tonight to a group of business students. This is my “HeroQuest” talk. If I had to tweet the purpose of this talk, it would be this:   I want these college students to walk away tonight with new possibilities for the future and knowing it is […]

The elevator pitch, the tweet, and clarity of purpose

Can you pitch your idea or make your point in the length of an elevator ride? That’s been a long-standing and effective thought experiment to help determine if you’ve thought clearly enough about your plan and can articulate it simply and quickly. So, if you’re working on a speech or a business idea or a […]

Talk with, not at

Even when standing before an audience, no matter the size, make it feel like a conversation. Talk with people, not at them. Ask questions. Even rhetorical questions feel conversational without actually needing a response. Make eye contact. Connect and respond to the vibe of the room. And in interpersonal communication, master the nuance of listening […]

Hear, forget. See, remember. Do, understand.

If you want something to stick, you’ve got to take action. Thinking about it or learning about it probably won’t be enough to make meaningful change. Doing something, though, could make all the difference. Listening to a lecture on cooking won’t make you a chef. Watching the Food Network won’t either. But, crack some eggs […]

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