My chat with Bill Clinton about Public Speaking

Bill Clinton talked about public speaking mistakes Al Gore made during the 2000 election when I spoke to him at the Global Business Forum in Feb 2006. Victorian Premier Steve Bracks introduced him as the World’s Greatest Communicator, and his speech on the day was compelling, but I was more interested in asking him questions about speaking style. In particular, More…

From sportsperson to sports media

The sports media industry is growing rapidly and sports jobs are increasing in this area. Are you ready to transition from the field to the microphone? Picture the scene for the sportsperson… Microphone in hand, you stand… waiting. The sound guy and cameraperson is milling around while another guy fiddles with cables and lighting. What do you More…

‘First Impression’ Myth when public speaking

You must have heard this one. Your first impression is everything and people form their lasting opinion of your presentation in the first 30 seconds’ (or 8 seconds depending on who tells it). Not true. This implies that the lasting impression of your presentation won’t be your wisdom, your character, the clarity of your message or More…

Crazy over public speaking gestures for 70 years

Found this old film from the 1940s that runs through the ‘basics’ of effective public speaking. It’s absolute rubbish, but very funny, with an over-emphasis on body posture and forced gestures. There’s some hilarious footage here; especially in the scene demonstrating how not to make public speaking gestures. And in the final “live” speech the speaker’s motions are More…

Release the anxiety for effortless public speaking

We can gain some insights from the work of F.M. Alexander. One hundred years ago Alexander developed a technique to use our bodies more effectively yet with less effort.   Forcing a style can damage your health Alexander was an actor, but when he performed in front of an audience he would rapidly become hoarse. More…

Get a method! Public speaking rules stop you thinking

There is a big focus on public speaking rules. The ‘Dos and Don’ts’ – a list of things you should always do to be successful. And a (typically long) list of thing you should never do. The core idea behind the Rules approach to public speaking is that by simply following the rules you will be a great More…

How to develop poise as a Speaker

Poise is a lovely word. It implies ‘calm’, ‘balance’ and ‘assuredness’ and it underpins powerful delivery skills. Most speakers don’t have poise because they don’t fully understand the (normal) anxiety that comes with public speaking. The ‘Stress Response’ to danger/uncertainty/fear actually causes us to shrink, tighten and contract our muscles. When you understand what’s happening to you – and when More…

Natural Style: Vital secret from ‘The King’s Speech’

King George in the movie ‘The King’s Speech‘ was naturally left-handed, yet forced to use his right hand at a young age. His speech therapist, Australian Lionel Logue, explains that this is quite common in stutterers. The implication; forcing people out of their natural style can interfere with efficient mind-body coordination. Particularly in relation to communication. We More…

Confused about public speaking nerves? (you’re not alone)

Confusion creates fertile ground for anxiety, so it’s important to understand how public speaking nerves work. You might recognise parts of this conversation with a successful and confident senior manager. It’s similar to 100 or so conversations I’ve had about public speaking anxiety. Note the words in bold… CAM: What do you do? SM: I manage More…

Focus on the gaps, not just your words

I recently attended a conference where two of the speakers raced through their talk without pausing. It was so exhausting. And their ideas seemed less important with the speaker racing through them. We all crave a START and/or an END: The human mind responds instinctively to the start or the end of anything so when More…