Rob’s blog

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

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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I believe crash reports should be worth reading (14)

Everything froze for a moment as the full realization struck Commander Akal: the altimeter had been sabotaged. She didn't have five hundred metres of room to play with; she had perhaps one hundred and twenty, and that number — like the landing craft — was plunging....

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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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Canada needs more Marion Dewars

At age 16, my first experience volunteering on my own was heading down to Ottawa's Lansdowne Park.It was the home of Project 4000, an initiative spearheaded by the city's newly elected mayor, Marion Dewar:Canada had a quota of 8,000 Southeast Asian refugees for the...

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Wake up your audience by turning up the contrast

Even the most interesting topic can be rendered inert by the simple application of a dull speech. Audiences are human, and they crave a little drama along with their intellectual content.Nobody knows drama better than Nancy Duarte, famous for her concept of the STAR...

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