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. 48. Find your speaker superpowers in your origin story

Ep. 48. Find your speaker superpowers in your origin story

we love to hear how superheroes got their powers — their origin stories. And audiences will want to hear yours, too. Here’s how to tell the story of how you got here in a way that connects with your audience and even moves them to action… faster (cough) than a speaking bullet.

Ep. 47. Careful with that spotlight!

Ep. 47. Careful with that spotlight!

As leaders, it can be tempting to forget that not everyone likes being the centre of attention. And when you have an audience, you can all too easily throw a harsh, unforgiving spotlight onto someone who isn’t ready for it. This episode, we look at how to wield your audience’s attention responsibly, whether it’s from the stage or online.

Ep. 44. Speakers, have a seat (in the audience)

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. 43. “How do you do, fellow kids?” — Speaking to young audiences (with Robin Stevenson)

Ep. 43. “How do you do, fellow kids?” — Speaking to young audiences (with Robin Stevenson)

A lot of speakers who’d happily get up in front of a thousand-person audience start getting the shakes at the thought of speaking to children or (gulp) teens. Fortunately, we have child-and-teen author Robin Stevenson here to share her experience speaking in front of countless school auditoriums and classrooms. She’ll tell us how you can keep your next young audience rapt from beginning to end.

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

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

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

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.

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