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. 8: Consider all of your audiences

Ep. 8: Consider all of your audiences

The folks in the room are just one of the audiences your speech is going to reach. Here’s how to think through who else may be listening in… and how you’ll account for them when you’re writing your speech.

Ep. 6. Defend your narrative arc

Ep. 6. Defend your narrative arc

Between “helpful” suggestions from others and your own creativity, it often isn’t easy keeping a speech on topic and on track. Here are some tools for sticking to the path.

Ep. 5. Get vulnerable

Ep. 5. Get vulnerable

Confidence isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If you want to truly connect with your audience, a little vulnerability in your speech can go a long way.

Ep. 4. Plot Your Emotional Arc

Ep. 4. Plot Your Emotional Arc

We’ve talked about your speech’s one big story, the narrative arc. But running in tandem with it is something at least as important to your audience: the emotional arc.

Ep. 3. Tell one big story… with your audience as the hero.

Ep. 3. Tell one big story… with your audience as the hero.

No matter how you write your speech, it boils down to a story where the audience can identify with the protagonist — one that pulls them forward to the conclusion. Here’s how to make your speech’s story powerful and compelling.

Ep. 2. Know your audience

Ep. 2. Know your audience

Before you can move an audience to where you’d like them to be, you need to know them. Here’s what to look for, and where to find it — so you know exactly how to reach and move them.

Ep. 1: Know what you want to accomplish

Ep. 1: Know what you want to accomplish

The first thing you need to know before you start crafting a speech is this: what’s your goal? What do you want your audience to think, feel and do at the end of your speech?

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