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Communication skills

Three things your speech ending needs to do

When you deliver a speech or presentation, everyone knows the first thing you say matters. But do you want to know the truth? The last thing you say matters even more.   Think about how you ended a recent speech.  Did you leave the audience feeling satisfied? Attracted to your Big Idea? Ready to act […]

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How to make a keynote speech resonate when your audience is wildly diverse

Worried whether your speech has the power to connect with listeners from very different backgrounds and levels of experience? Jump-start your thinking with these seven steps based on a Cicero Speechwriting Award-winning keynote that resonated with 250 men and women from age 18 to 80.   When Barbara Hayde — former president of The Entrepreneurs […]

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7 ways to rock your next acceptance speech

Your audience will thank you if you skirt the predictable – and instead give them something to think about or act upon after the evening is over. For many executives, receiving an award is a good news, bad news thing. First, the good news: “Congratulations! You’ve won an award for your outstanding achievements!” (And now […]

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Can a panel discussion change the way people think or behave?

Last week a fellow speechwriter called for some advice: Her potential client, a professional speaker, needed a new “generic” speech and was asking for a proposal. My fellow speechwriter was concerned because no specific audience had been defined, and how in the world could she write to a nameless, faceless bunch? First, I told her […]

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6 questions to ask before you start to write

I’m often asked, “What’s the biggest mistake people make when they write?” The answer? They simply start writing – and fail to do their best thinking first. Here’s a fix: Before you start to write anything, always take a moment to answer these six questions: WHAT is the point? WHO will be interested in this? […]

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23 ways to be an exceptional emcee (don’t skip #13!)

Have you ever attended an event with a cadre of amazing speakers – one after the next – that still felt a bit stilted? Disjointed? Disorganized? Even downright awkward? Maybe that’s because the emcee was far less than exceptional. As a speechwriter, speech coach and author, I’ve been asked more than once to emcee professional […]

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Policinski: ‘We need people in the creativity business’

I enjoyed hearing veteran journalist Gene Policinski of the Newseum Institute talk about “The Future of Principles” at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., last month. Policinski, chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute and its First Amendment Center, gave the keynote address at “A Capital Event,” a one-day conference by the American Society […]

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Writing to persuade? (Invoke Cialdini)

Do you rely on electronic communication as your “first touch” when marketing to prospective customers or clients? If so, consider applying Robert Cialdini’s Six Principles of Influence when crafting your message, and see if you get better results. Every day HR pros around the country recruit “passive” candidates by sending targeted emails and LinkedIn messages […]

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Speechwriting Sunday School (a new view from the pew)

Last Sunday I discovered a way to make sure not one word is wasted when you write your next speech. Imagine someone will have to sign every word you speak for people who are deaf. Last Sunday I watched and listened, on the edge of my seat, in absolute amazement while Fr. Benjamin Jimenez spoke […]

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Let’s get personal

Want to engage your audience right upfront? Try sharing a little piece of yourself. That’s what I did last night as emcee of the Woman of Distinction Awards Reception-Dayton for Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. The event at Dayton’s Schuster Center celebrated the legacy of Girl Scouting by honoring six exceptional women in the Dayton region who […]

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