How to give your audiences what they want

Our courses and books and blogs are full of great advice for improving your speeches and presentations: tell more stories, use more pauses, be more conversational, make strong eye contact, don’t overload slides with text. But please remember one thing: all audiences are different. It’s very rare that two audiences have the same expectations about your …

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Why rehearsed gestures so often fall flat

Are you rehearsing the authenticity out of your presentations? Dr Nick Morgan, a preeminent communications coach and occasional contributor to this blog, thinks it’s possible.  Nick tells the story of Carol, VP of sales, tasked with inspiring a sales team to strive for a really challenging new target. Carol walks to the podium with great …

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Are you filling your presentations with filler words?

Avoid too many filler words

A lot of the words we fall back on when we’re making a presentation or speech, especially if we feel under pressure, don’t actually serve any useful purpose. In fact they are obstacles to understanding and barriers to engagement. What are these lazy, good-for-nothing words? Here are a few: You know Right Like Well Um …

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Why you need to be in the M and M business

Dave Carroll

If you are called on to make many speeches or presentations, we have some great food-for-thought for you from a speech by singer/songwriter, author and social media activist Dave Carroll. Dave, the guy who had that viral blockbuster United Breaks Guitars, was speaking in Halifax at a fund-raiser for the bush fires disaster in Australia. The …

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How will your speeches and presentations be judged?

How do you judge a speech, particularly a political speech? By what it achieves at the moment of delivery? Or should history be the true judge? Recent events in Washington had Eliot Cohen pondering this question in an article last week in The Atlantic magazine. Cohen is dean of The Johns Hopkins University School of …

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Four speaking tips from Oscar winner Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt on public speaking

Today’s quick quiz question: who recently said: “Speeches make me nervous. I’ve always been really tentative.” OK, if you answered Brad Pitt, award yourself an Oscar. Brad Pitt is no stranger to making speeches. This year he delivered acclaimed acceptance speeches at the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and sent a speech …

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Why news alerts are not giving you the whole story

Your phone just pinged and you checked the news alert. You may be up-to-the-minute, but are you well-informed? The question is prompted by some research done this month in the UK, into how people have been keeping ‘informed’ about the election that just ended in a crushing win for Boris Johnson’s Conservatives. Millions of us …

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When you need a shift, you need a story

Stories are all about shifts. Shifts from loser to victor, from oppressed to liberated, from lost to found, from unloved to loved. That’s why stories are such effective tools for communicating a vision of change, for persuading people to think or act differently. From time to time we still run across business leaders who disparage …

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