Rob’s blog

Don’t just read your speech. Perform it.

There's a big conceptual leap that absolutely transforms a speaker's connection with an audience, and magnifies their impact tremendously. It's the leap from reading a speech... to actually, authentically performing it. Instead of a recitation, your delivery becomes a...

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Wrapping up my first Facebook Live speechwriting clinic

Thanks to everyone who joined me this morning for my first official Facebook Live speechwriting clinic. (I say "official" because I've done a few impromptu runs at this in the past. Let's define "official" as "I gave people some warning and made a custom graphic for...

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Speaking at a rally? Here’s how to make it count.

If you work with a mission-driven organization, you may find yourself speaking at a political rally soon. (Maybe sooner than you think, the way things are going.) You may be there to offer a short greeting and encouragement, or to deliver a rousing featured address,...

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The danger of “but.” The power of “and.”

Yesterday, Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted something that, on the face of it, looks perfectly reasonable for a left-wing political leader to say: https://twitter.com/SenSanders/status/801253188821250048 The fact that Sanders says but instead of and in that tweet makes...

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Communicators, it’s time to end audience abuse.

Audience abuse comes in many forms. It happens in speeches. An unprepared speaker who just can't communicate. A bait-and-switch session that doesn't deliver what it promised. A speaker who spends their time pitching themselves. A speaker who leaves you cheering......

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A speechwriting lesson from House of Cards

I'm (finally) watching the convention episode ("Chapter 48") of season 4 of House of Cards. And early on, there's a great exchange between a new speechwriter and the pair of writers who've been with the Underwoods from the beginning. They complain about his...

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Speaker as performer: Michael Port’s “Steal the Show”

When I coach speakers, there are many moments that feel like breakthroughs. When they show a little vulnerability, and share something of themselves. Or when they internalize the text of a speech well enough to hit every point effortlessly. But few moments give me the...

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Why, yes — I’d LOVE to speak at your event

Rob Cottingham speaking

"Rob has the uncanny ability to convince us we're just having a good time, when secretly he's implanting the game-changing secrets we'll need to help our organizations change the world."

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