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Speeches

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 NOT to open a speech + some inspiration

When you’re preparing an important speech or keynote presentation, do you tend to default to one of these four opening lines? You begin with a long line of thank-you’s to people we may or may not know. You tell a joke you found online the night before. You share the process you used to prepare […]

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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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How to wrestle down the beast: Your next Big Hairy Audacious Presentation

Think about the last time you delivered a Big Hairy Audacious Presentation to your management team, customers, prospects or peers. How did your prep go? Were you awash in so much awesome material – that you had to clamor like crazy for focus? What did you leave in? (But more important: What did you leave […]

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10 power questions you must ask when your speech hits a wall

There we were – stuck in the boardroom on a Tuesday afternoon, three drafts in on a keynote speech – and I’d pretty much wrung all the best stuff out of my executive’s head. He was done. But his speech was not. The holes toward the end were gaping. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking. Just […]

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The kiss of death for public speakers

Have you ever heard a public speaker say these things? “Look at this chart on the screen. You probably can’t read it, but …” Or how about this? “I’m a numbers guy, so I apologize now if this seems a little complicated.” Or this? “I’ll be throwing a lot of data at you, so get […]

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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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Speakers, steer clear of the loop-the-loop (10 ways to pace yourself every time you speak)

It was an unforgettable afternoon keynote – but for all the wrong reasons. Turns out I couldn’t understand a word she was saying.  Clearly she had the clout to wow us with something wonderful. And indeed she started out OK, engaging us with a story about her best friend Steve. But then – like a […]

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