Leadership communications with Rob Cottingham

30 years ago this spring, I wrote my first speech as a professional — and started a career in leadership communications that has now spanned three decades.

To celebrate, I’ve launched a podcast: 30 short episodes with the key lessons I’ve learned in the business of planning, crafting and delivering powerful speeches.

Check for the latest episode every Tuesday and Thursday.

Ep. 23. Go all in

This episode ties together everything we've talked about around speech delivery with one big idea for truly powerful speaking: commitment.Links: Here's David Granirer's long-running comedy course at Vancouver's Langara College. David's also the founder and driving...

Ep. 22. Own the space

Break out of the lectern cage! Make the stage your own... and learn how to use movement to deepen your presentation's connection to your audience. (Also, I go off on that whole "podium vs. lectern" thing.)Music: "Upbeat" by John Luc Hefferman. Used under a Creative...

Ep. 21. Make the most of your voice on stage

When you treat your voice as an instrument (and not an afterthought!) great things happen to your speeches... and to your audiences. This episode we break down three powerful vocal tools: pitch, pace and volume.Music: "Upbeat" by John Luc Hefferman. Used under a...

Ep. 19. Get your hands dirty (and know your tools)

Roll up your sleeves... because this episode we talk about the tools of the public speaking trade. And one tool in particular: your microphone. Music: "Upbeat" by John Luc Hefferman. Used under a Creative Commons license. Photo: Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash [iframe...

Ep. 18. Prepare… even when you don’t have time

I'm all about encouraging speakers to prepare and rehearse — but let's face it. There are times when you just haven't had a moment to prepare, and now it's 10 minutes 'til stage time. So maybe this isn't going to be a virtuoso performance. But it can still be a really...

Ep. 17. Practice. No, really practice.

Think rehearsal and preparation kill your spontaneity? This episode could change your mind — by showing you how rehearsal actually frees you to make spontaneous choices in the moment. Tips, techniques... and an excuse to use coloured highlighters. What more could you...

Ep. 16. Don’t just read your speech. Perform it.

This episode, we pivot from speechwriting to speaking itself. And we start with the single biggest way most speakers can level up: authentic performance. Links: Steal the Show by Michael Port is a smashing book on speaking and performance. I reviewed it a while back,...

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...

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:...

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