Rob’s blog

How Obama’s messy closet saved the State of the Union speech

How Obama’s messy closet saved the State of the Union speech

State of the Union speeches are often messy, sprawling things. Countless constituencies and interests — within and outside government — vie to hear their priorities reflected in the President's words. And even without their lobbying, the scope of governing is vast,...

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A great podcast for speechwriters (and other storytellers)

A great podcast for speechwriters (and other storytellers)

"Tell a story" is advice you'll often hear about speechwriting. Telling a story—and telling it well—can be a key to connecting with your audience, and making your message memorable. What you won't hear as often is how to tell that story, and how to tell it really,...

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Boring slides aren’t what’s wrong with PowerPoint.

Boring slides aren’t what’s wrong with PowerPoint.

Kindly allow me a short rant. Because this article from Business Insider is driving me a little nuts: PowerPoint presentations are the standard for presentations in the workplace. Except that they kind of suck .... It's not really Microsoft's fault. PowerPoint gives...

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How to use humor in a speech (without getting burned)

How to use humor in a speech (without getting burned)

One of the best perks of speechwriting is the way it lets you indulge your sense of humor. Nearly every time you sit down to write a speech, there’s a chance to tell at least one joke. That’s not something most other communicators get to do nearly as often. (Try...

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Why leaders should embrace gotcha questions

Why leaders should embrace gotcha questions

The long-standing Republican hostility toward the news media was on full display last week after the CNBC GOP presidential debate. And it led them to fall into a trap that tempts many speakers: settling for easy wins instead of preparing for difficult questions. Even...

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A guide to formatting speaking notes

A guide to formatting speaking notes

You’ve written the speech, and it has everything: moving anecdotes, a few telling facts, a gripping narrative, a rousing call to action and a conclusion that will have your speaker's audience on their feet. (Clapping, not leaving. Important distinction there.) Best of...

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Public speaking and speechwriting: the essential guides

(photo of books with text) Leadership communications: the essential guides

Looking for advice on public speaking, speechwriting and leadership communications? Here are some of my most comprehensive posts, on topics that people ask me about most often.

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