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Executive communications: Is your speechwriter putting you on the spot?

CEOs and other leaders who’ve never worked with a speechwriter before sometimes wonder about the process. “How will this speechwriter get my ideas to resonate with the audience I need to influence?”   It’s an important question in executive communications. Because when you work with a speechwriter, it’s the speechwriter’s job to do the hard […]

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Public speaking tip: Don’t throw too much stuff at your audience

Have you ever heard a speaker say this? “Today I’m going to share a lot of information with you about Topic X, and I apologize in advance for throwing so much stuff at you all at once – but it’s all very important.” Yikes. Sharing a lot of “stuff” without a clear message or main […]

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1 thing you must do after your keynote presentation is over

A couple months ago, I’d written a keynote presentation for an executive who needed to travel across the country to deliver it at a major industry conference attended by peers, partners and competitors. Several days had passed, and I hadn’t heard anything. I was wondering how his keynote presentation went since he’d been under the […]

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Ethics in public speaking (don’t do this to cure writer’s block)

Sometimes speakers like to put some initial thoughts on paper for their speechwriters to use as a starting point. It’s the speechwriter’s job to first decide whether this material should be used, and if so, how it should be used. Yes, I’m talking about ethics in public speaking. Here’s a true story: Recently I wrote a speech for […]

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Public speaking tip: Connect the dots when sharing facts and figures

In certain speeches, sometimes it’s important to the message to share a few facts and figures, numbers and statistics. Here’s my question for public speakers: Do you take the time to connect the dots? A colleague of mine in the Professional Speechwriters Association, Carlos Razo, has a Ph.D. in economics. As special assistant and adviser […]

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The biggest mistake teams make when collaborating to write high-stakes brand content

The client on the end of the line was desperate. The clock was ticking, and internal attempts to write high-stakes brand content as a team weren’t working. Could I assist? I met with the client to discuss the scope of work. “What writing process have you used to work with the subject matter experts on […]

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Public speaking tip: Don’t play inside baseball

Every industry has a language that only insiders understand. But what if you’re presenting to a diverse group of people who don’t live and breathe the words you use every day? I once heard a logistics expert give an overview presentation to a roomful of business people – from attorneys, bankers, accountants and consultants, to […]

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Good public speaking starts and ends with this

“What Matters in Speech?” is a talk given way back in 1921 by Henrietta Prentiss, then a passionate teacher of speech at Hunter College in New York City. Prentiss answers her own question, “What Matters in Speech?” rather directly in her remarks about good public speaking: “The first thing … is my identification with my […]

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Speechwriting tip: Don’t let your speech look like grandma’s quilt

Have you ever seen someone patch together material from two or three off-the-shelf presentations and call it a keynote? A colleague admitted this to me moments before her boss went on stage to deliver a presentation to a roomful of business people. My colleague told me she’d spent the past few days cutting and pasting […]

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Speechwriting techniques: 7 reasons why you should tie your speech opening to your speech closing

In a recent post on 10 big mistakes public speakers make on stage, I said it was important to work hard on a blockbuster ending that answers three questions:  In the end, what do you want your audience to remember? How do you want them to feel about what you said? And why does it matter? You can […]

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