Opinion / Public Speaking and Speechwriting

Giving a Speech: Who’s Next?

My latest public speaking victim reports from the battlefield: Excellent feed-back from various (incl very critical) people. The speech set the right tone for the conference. The organisers had kindly agreed to let me go last – which made a big difference. Ah! Here the task for Mr X was to […]

Continue Reading

Giving a Speech: Speaking Notes

I’ve been basking in my latest speechwriting glory that left the speaker mobbed on the evening and over breakfast the following morning: people pressing grateful congratulations, including people who praised her for ‘helping us think in a different way’. We talked yesterday – some of her points: I used to […]

Continue Reading

Faux Authenticity

Over on LinkedIn I stumble over Ten Unmistakable Habits of Utterly (sic) Authentic People. Complete with a picture of a toothsome massively haired young female for added clicks. Thus: To live authentically, you must own your actions and ensure that they align with your beliefs and needs. This can be a […]

Continue Reading

Amazing Public Speaking! Or Not

Say you’re Mary, a woman executive. Clever. Doing well. Rising fast. Ambitious. Self-confident. I can do this! You give a TEDx talk. Fame! It turns out to be like many (most?) TEDx talks. The faux-jokey ‘strong start’. The almost desperate attempt to be NEW and INTERESTING. Over-rehearsed. Contrived. Formulaic. Not-so-subliminally […]

Continue Reading

Starting a Speech by Being Funny

This is my most popular answer on Quora with over 20,000 views, replying to an interesting question: What is the funniest opening line that you have heard (or said) in a public speech? Hmm. Right Ho, Jeeves “Boys,” said Gussie, “I mean ladies and gentlemen and boys, I do not […]

Continue Reading

Back to Toastmasters

You recall my exciting controversial Toastmasters adventures earlier this year? Here and then here. A member of a Vienna Toastmasters club who joined one of my ‘live’ masterclasses on Public Speaking kindly invited me to address her club when I was next in town. I warned her that I had […]

Continue Reading

Toastmasters Evaluated (2)

+++ Update +++ See Brian Jenner’s positive tale on Toastmasters and their rituals here. As you can see, my education is complete! * * * * * My piece on Toastmasters has attracted some modest interest, including in the Comments and via LinkedIn. Both Against and For. Against I came, […]

Continue Reading

Toastmasters Evaluated

Over on Quora in the broad Public Speaking area you can’t move without someone extolling Toastmasters. Have nerves? Lack confidence? Join Toastmasters! Need to practise your oratory away from a mirror? Join Toastmasters! What is this phenomenon? The fons et origo: Do you want to become a confident public speaker […]

Continue Reading

Public Speaking: No Mirrors

Over on Quora I am startled by how many ostensibly sensible people suggest that a good way to get over ‘fear’ of public speaking is to ‘practise in front of a mirror’. No. NO. NO. Why not? Let’s count the three ways. First, it’s narcissistic. Pondering yourself orating from a […]

Continue Reading

Tense Speeches and Presentations

One of the great clichés of public speaking and presenting: tell a story! That’s a good idea. Only you know the story. You don’t need to write it down. You just talk! But how exactly to express the story on the day? First. Strip the story down to the absolute […]

Continue Reading
Older Entries