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 speechwriting and public speaking 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. 44. Speakers, have a seat (in the audience)

You can write a speech for a someone. Read it through. Rehearse with the speaker. But you won’t really know how effective it is unless you’re there when they deliver it. This episode: why speechwriters should fight for a spot in the audience, and how to use it to write better speeches.

Ep. 41. Changing the world… with op-eds

We’ve focused on speaking and speechwriting in the podcast — but there’s more than one way to connect with an audience. And one of the best: the venerable op-ed piece. Today’s guest knows op-eds better than anyone I know: Professor Mira Sucharov is the author of Public Influence, and a prolific writer of op-eds.

Ep. 40. Cop an attitude … and take a stand

If you really want your audience to care about what you’re saying, they need to know you care about it too. And that starts with the attitude you project… and the stands you’re willing to take.

Ep. 39. Quote me on that: Using quotations effectively in your speech

Quotations are one of a speechwriter’s essential tools — right up there with metaphors, jokes and 3 a.m. espresso. But borrowed eloquence doesn’t always work out, and as handy as a quotation can be, using it requires care. This episode looks at how to use quotations to elevate your whole speech, and how another person’s fine words can make yours shine even brighter.

Ep. 38. To tell the truth: Speaking without misleading

Most of us like to think of ourselves as basically honest people. But as speakers and speechwriters, it’s surprisingly easy to find ourselves misleading our audiences: accidentally or (gulp) deliberately. Find out how — even with the best intentions — you may be leading your audience astray… and how to get back onto the path of truth.

Ep. 37. Making the most of a rally speech, with guest Tzeporah Berman: part 2

Political protest is on the rise — and with it, a growing need for leaders to speak to protest rallies. This episode, we talk with veteran environmental and climate campaigner Tzeporah Berman about rally speeches: how to plan, write and deliver them for maximum impact. This two-part episode started with a discussion on planning your speech and thinking about strategy. Here in part two, we conclude by talking about writing and delivery.

Ep. 36. Making the most of a rally speech, with guest Tzeporah Berman: part 1

Political protest is on the rise — and with it, a growing need for leaders to speak to protest rallies. This episode, we talk with veteran environmental and climate campaigner Tzeporah Berman about rally speeches: how to plan, write and deliver them for maximum impact. This two-part episode starts with a discussion on planning your speech and thinking about strategy. We’ll conclude in part two by talking about writing and delivery.

Ep. 35. Speechwriters on stage

Want to be a better speechwriter? One of the best ways to improve your speechwriting is to get out from behind your keyboard and get in front of an audience. Why speechwriters should also be speakers — and how you can get started.

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