Leadership communications with Rob Cottingham
Whether you’re a leader who needs to connect with audiences, or a communications professional helping leaders tell their stories — this podcast is for you.

You’ll find out what I’ve learned over three decades of speechwriting, speaking and communications strategy. And you’ll meet some guests with their own wisdom to share on reaching audiences with powerful messages.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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