Right now, before you read another word, look around you. What do you see? If you are at home, what is behind you? If you are out and about, reading this on a mobile device, look up and back. What do you see? Look closer; that is your backdrop. Is it conducive to your learning? […]

You can thank TED or blame TED. Things are changing in the speaking world, and it’s not so much the change in technology as it is the change in format. I hear more and more people talking about TED Talks. Even my 21-year-old nephew watches TED Talks but only knows about Toastmasters because of me. […]

Have you ever been impatient? Ever wonder if some of your goals will ever come to fruition? Me, too. Perhaps you remember being a newbie at a professional association and seeing the mentors on stage in front of the group. Maybe, somewhere in the back of your mind, a tiny little dream seed was planted, […]

When you look at this sidewalk light, what do you see? If it were not in the center of the picture, would you even notice it? Most people probably would not, not at first anyway. We’d probably notice first the city of San Diego in the background, the water, and the beach. Let’s take a […]

“Raise your hand if you would like to be a world-class presenter.” Whenever I give a presentation these days, I ask that very question. Most of the audience members raise their hand. Would you? I believe every presenter can be world-class. I think every presenter wishes they were. The bigger question is, are they willing […]

When putting a presentation together, too many people try to write the whole thing out as their first step. If your presentations are based on a slide presentation deck, you know the crutch of putting a new one together by taking a previous version of the slide deck and simply tweaking it. Guilty? I know […]

We all make mistakes. After twenty years on the platform, I still make them. They might not be as frequent or as bad as in my early days of giving presentations, but this last one was definitely a rookie mistake. When I arrive at any event, I usually look around and listen to the buzz […]

Do you study people who are the best in any industry to see how their expertise applies to you? On Mother’s Day I took my girlfriend Cathey to see Neil Diamond in concert. He is an amazing performer, especially considering that he is 74 years old. When I am sitting in an audience, it is […]

In 2001, while practicing my speech “Ouch!” in front of an Advanced Toastmasters Club, I was shocked and perplexed by a comment from two of the advanced members. At this point I had given my speech several times and had received an enormous variety of feedback. I thought I had heard it all. This comment, […]

It was 1998. I had been a Toastmaster for four years and was starting to get paid for my keynote speeches. I was sitting in my seat, eagerly awaiting the announcements of the Division Humorous Speech contest. I had worked hard on my speech; it was completely original, and I had gotten some good laughs. […]