The Biggest Mistake You’re Making When You Write a Speech

“This just doesn’t sound right.” “It looked good on the page, but when I said it during my presentation…” My clients often tell me how perplexed they were when the words that they polished so lovingly on the page failed to come to life when they said them out loud. The simple fact to remember …

Has Anyone Ever Given You This Advice?

We’ve all heard the advice, “Just picture everyone in the audience naked!” I’ll just tell you now–this probably won’t work. Oh, you can look out at the audience and imagine them without clothes on, but then…you’re thinking about your audience with no clothes on. You’re not thinking about your presentation. (Unless you are planning to …

But I Hate to Practice

One of the questions I like to ask coaching clients is “What do you do when you practice?” More often than not, I get a confused look in response. So I clarify: “Do you start at the beginning and go all the way through your presentation? Do you stand up? Do you use your PowerPoint …

The Best Thing You Can Do to Be a Better Speaker

When we think about speeches or presentations we have seen that were terrific, we think about how the speaker made us feel. A great speaker can make us feel excited, motivated, intrigued, moved, or compelled. The same is true when we think about presentations we endured that weren’t so great—they make us feel impatient, bored, …

The Perilous Pitfalls of PowerPoint, Part One

“What’s the Point of PowerPoint?” It’s ubiquitous, everywhere from TED Talks to teachers’ classrooms. When done well, PowerPoint is a great complement to a speaker’s presentation. When done poorly…unfortunately, we can all finish that sentence. I just spent two days coaching the presenters for the Ignite Asheville event. The format of an Ignite talk is …

Public Speaking Myth: “I’m Actually Better Off-the-Cuff”

No, you’re not. Sure, you may have occasional “knock-it-out-of-the-ballpark” occasions when all the stars align and you feel incredible about your performance. But if you want to be consistently effective and powerful, you have to, (I hate to say it), practice. “But when I practice, I sound rehearsed!” Yes, that can definitely be a danger. …

Getting Better is Hard Work

For the longest time, I couldn’t understand why a few people I coached were so resistant to the process. After all, they had come to me to become a better, more confident and compelling speaker. They articulated the reasons why they needed and wanted to be better. They saw where their speaking skills needed improvement …

And then a weird thing happened…

I grew up with two amazing parents. Like most kids, though, I didn’t realize how amazing they were until I was an adult. My mom was a senior VP at a big bank, and my dad was a musician. As a teenager and young adult, I thought I had everything in common with my dad, …

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