Blog

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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Harness the power of the pause

As a communication skills trainer, the vocal fault I observe more than any other is – failure to pause. There are plenty of other vocal infelicities I am called on to correct, such as: flat, uninflected voices that utterly fail to engage; voices that rise at the end of sentences in the manner popularised by […]

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Don’t bury the lead

There’s this memorable bit in James L Brooks’ wonderful media movie Broadcast News where brilliant but prickly TV reporter Aaron tells gifted but neurotic producer Jane why she shouldn’t run off with his charismatic but unethical rival Tom. ‘He personifies everything you’ve been fighting against’, he pleads. ‘And I’m in love with you. How do […]

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