Speaking Skills Blog

Turning Out the Lights – Don’t be in the Dark

A while back I was the speaker for a large group in a Convention Center auditorium. I arrived during the session before mine and saw that the lights were turned out. The room was dark. Not because no one was in it—no,  probably 200 people sat in there listening to a...

A Speech Opening Should be a “Hook”

Most people have never given the idea of a “hook” for their speech opening any thought at all. The vast majority of speakers start by introducing themselves, say what they’re going to talk about, and then launch into their presentation.  But a hook—such as a story, a...

Humanizing the Talk Adds Interest

Undoubtedly, you’ve heard more than your share of speakers who delivered a dry, fact-loaded speech. While there’s nothing wrong with facts, of course, it does beg the question: why am I here? Just give me the report, for crying out loud, and I’ll read it for myself. ...

Improve Your Presence

Standing out is a function of your presence. The best definition I ever found for that word came from a book about the ancient and universal wisdoms of our world's indigenous peoples. Ancient tribal beliefs recognized three universal powers essential to a "leader":...

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What’s Attire Got to Do With it?

No matter how important the content of your presentation is, it's meaningless if your delivery is not engaging and compelling. Research has confirmed that 93 percent of your communication impact comes from how you look and sound, which is what your delivery is all...

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Standout Strategy: Mindful Speech

Practice “mindful speech,” as some Eastern spiritual traditions urge. Before speaking, ask yourself: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Pass all words through these gates or “filters.” Whenever possible, have them pass through all three filters cleanly. Perhaps...

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Avoid Going to Abilene

This month our nation will see an historic Presidential inauguration. In the last two months leading up to this, you've undoubtedly been aware of the energy and screening that our nation's new president-elect has put into selecting his Cabinet. He has appointed people...

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Communication Tips to Avoid Going to Abilene

The parable known as the Abilene Paradox represents a concept known as "groupthink." (See "Avoid Going to Abilene.") The Abilene Paradox—or groupthink—occurs when members of a group make a decision and take action, in spite of individual group members' private...

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Humanizing Example: Demonstration

A marketing exec, making a point about enduring the unpleasantness of change for a better outcome, pounded on a flat piece of metal to demonstrate the violent work that has to be done in metal working. Then she pulled out a beautiful, handcrafted metal box to show...

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Write a Note to Stand Out

I admit it, I love to receive notes. I love opening the mailbox and seeing the small envelope with my name and address handwritten on it. Whether it's a few lines or a page long, I love reading and rereading the words. I love those notes so much that I save them: I...

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