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Ten things every presenter can learn from TED Talks

TED Talks: how did we ever manage without them? What a rich store of wisdom, wit, creative thinking and sheer brainpower is freely accessible to all in that online collection of 18-20 minutes presentations https://www.ted.com/talks And what a gift they are to any speaker looking to raise their presenting game and improve their influencing skills. As […]

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Lessons for public speakers from Sir Tim Hunt’s downfall

As a communication skills trainer I have always tried to impress on clients that while good spoken communication can raise profiles and enhance prospects, poor communication can damage careers and trash reputations. Nothing demonstrates the truth of this assertion better than the vertiginous fall from grace of Nobel Prize-winning biologist Sir Tim Hunt, whose poorly […]

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Beat performance nerves for good

Recently I sang a substantial solo in a public performance of Mozart’s Coronation Massgiven by my choir. I hadn’t sought this ‘honour’ but all the other singers in my section made it quite clear that they wouldn’t put themselves in the spotlight, so eventually the finger pointed at me. I would have had very good reasons […]

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Why your passion leaves me cold

Why your passion leaves me cold  These days it seems that everyone has to look passionate, to sound passionate and to feel passionate if they want to be taken seriously. Labour leadership contender Liz Kendall says her party must become ‘as passionate about wealth creation as wealth distribution’. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is passionate about […]

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Exorcise the curse of knowledge

When I was medical correspondent of a national newspaper, some years ago, people used regularly to ask me how I was able to write in such depth and detail about science and medicine when I was neither a doctor nor a scientist. I replied that I was much better equipped than either of those experts […]

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Presentations and the myth of multi-tasking

  One of the great myths of modern life is that people – particularly women – can do more than one thing at a time: cook while watching TV; study while listening to music; drive while talking on the ‘phone; text while watching a presentation…   In fact, according to psychologist  Susan M Weinschenk in […]

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Effective communication and the rule of three

In common with most communication skills trainers I know, I advise the people I work with to identify three key messages for media interviews and presentations. Why three? Why not two, four or five? And wouldn’t one message be the most powerful of all? Well, no. A shedload of evidence and examples suggests that in […]

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Fight nerves with preparation

Surveys consistently rank speaking in public as one of our greatest fears – more terrifying than heights, insects, financial problems, deep water – even death! What this means, according to comedian Jerry Seinfeld, is that: ’at a funeral, most people would rather be the guy in the casket than the one giving the eulogy’. In […]

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