Rob’s blog

Ep. 15. How to get great feedback on your speech

How often have you asked for feedback with "let me know what you think"? If you're trying to spark conversation, it isn't a bad gambit. But if you want actionable feedback on your speech, you need to use a much more focused approach. Here's how to ask the right...

read more

Ep. 14. Get your audience to expect more… of themselves.

Your speech has brought your audience on an emotional odyssey, and you've reached your narrative destination together. Now's the time to invite them to continue the journey themselves—with a powerful call to action and conclusion. And you can do it in four steps:...

read more

Ep. 13. Don’t meet your audience’s expectations

...Wait, what? By all means, meet — or beat — your audience's expectations for what they'll get out of your speech. But not for what you put into it. Here's how to be surprising and unpredictable, but still reliable. Music: "Upbeat" by John Luc Hefferman. Used under a...

read more

Ep. 12. Make your audience a little uncomfortable

Every instinct tells us to make our audiences comfortable. Yet a little discomfort can lead to some of the most powerful experiences your speech can offer. Here's how. Links: "Nanette" by Hannah Gadsby on Netflix, and Gadsby's speech on "The Good Men" Music: "Upbeat"...

read more

Ep. 11. Use slides well… if at all

The world is full of speeches weighed down with terrible slide decks. Don't let yours be one of them. This episode, we look at how to make PowerPoint work well for you and your audience — and I make the case for not using slides at all. Links: Here are the books I...

read more

Ep. 10. Ease up on the statistics

When your speech unleashes a flood of statistics, you can lose your audience's interest — and their emotional connection — fast. Let's talk about how to chose a gem of a statistic and put it in the perfect setting... and then make it part of what drives your story,...

read more

Ep. 9. Suspense!

One of the most effective ways a speech can hold an audience's attention is suspense. And withholding a little information can whet their appetite for the answer to the question, "What happens next?" Links: Story by Robert McKee. He wrote it with screenwriters in...

read more

Ep. 8: Consider all of your audiences

The folks in the room are just one of the audiences your speech is going to reach. Here's how to think through who else may be listening in... and how you'll account for them when you're writing your speech. Music: "Upbeat" by Jon Luc Hefferman, and Cheese by David...

read more

Ep. 7. Use plain language… but not just plain language

Plain language can make your speech a lot clearer, and allow your ideas and thinking to shine through. But there are times when speechwriters and speakers want to reach for the more complex words... and even use (gasp!) jargon. Music: "Upbeat" by Jon Luc Hefferman,...

read more

Ep. 6. Defend your narrative arc

Between "helpful" suggestions from others and your own creativity, it often isn't easy keeping a speech on topic and on track. Here are some tools for sticking to the path — and a few tips on handling unavoidable detours. Music: "Upbeat" by Jon Luc Hefferman, used...

read more

Ep. 5. Get vulnerable

You've probably always been told to project confidence and certainty  when you're speaking from the stage. But if you want to truly connect with your audience, a little vulnerability in your speech can go a long way. Links: Probably the best-known writer and...

read more

Ep. 4. Plot Your Emotional Arc

We've talked about your speech's one big story, the narrative arc. But running in tandem with it is something at least as important to your audience: the emotional arc. Music: "Upbeat" by Jon Luc Hefferman, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial...

read more
%d bloggers like this: