Best Man’s Speech

I recently finished up writing a speech for a Best Man for an upcoming wedding.  The husband-to-be is a real estate developer, so the request was to give the speech a “housing” theme.  I’ve obviously changed the names of the bride and groom, but I thought I’d share it with you today.  Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and feedback!   Normally, there aren’t a lot of ways to compare a woman to a house..and have… Read more »

Classic Speeches – Charlie Chaplin: The Great Dictator

Wildly controversial at the time of its release, the 1940 film “The Great Dictator” was written, directed, produced and starring famed comedian Charlie Chaplin. In the film, Chaplin plays duo roles, as both a ruthless dictator and a persecuted Jewish barber. In the climax of the film, Chaplin, in his role as the barber, is mistaken for the dictator and invited to give a speech to the nation. He uses the opportunity to make an… Read more »

Complicated Ideas, Simple Explanations: Milton Friedman Video

Milton Friedman was a famous–if controversial–economist, who’s theories and ideas influenced American policy in profound ways that are still felt today. Now, since this isn’t a political blog, the focus isn’t on the pros and cons of his theories or his underlying beliefs.  What I *am* interested in, and what you should be too, is his famous ability to use simple stories and analogies to relate complex ideas. Friedman was regularly brought in to speak… Read more »

Frequently Asked Questions: Should I Join Toastmasters?

Ah, Toastmasters. As one of–if not the–most popular public speaking organizations in the world. I’ve often been asked on my thoughts regarding their methodology, and the pros and cons of the Toastmasters’ ecosystem. Overall, I think that the organization is a great introduction to public speaking.  It’s a fantastic way to overcome the fear of speaking in public, being surrounded by supportive fellow members in a safe, positive environment. I also generally find it’s a… Read more »

What Should I Do With My Hands During My Speech?

One of the most common questions I get when it comes to body language and public speaking is what a speaker should to do with their hands. Especially for people who generally gesticulate less often–who typically don’t talk much with their hands–there can be a lot of confusion of how to use hand and arm movements effectively and naturally in a speech. Like all other elements of body language, one of the keys to using hand… Read more »

Quick Video Review: Malala Yousafzai

Today’s speech comes from Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate.  At fifteen years old, Malala was shot  and nearly killed by a Taliban gunman as retaliation for her support for allowing girls to go to school and for women’s rights. From a technical level, the speech isn’t perfect–but there’s still some valuable lessons to be learned from her delivery and presentation. Two things in particular stood out:   1)Pacing: With… Read more »

Ronald Reagan – A Time for Choosing (October 27, 1964)

An excerpt from an old classic. In terms of delivery, it works as much for what it doesn’t do, as what it does–there’s no accidental pauses, no exaggerated inflection or gesticulation, no theatricality. As a result, the delivery comes off as sober, heartfelt, and matter-of-fact. Those traits in turn get projected onto the speaker–exactly the kind of characteristics one might want in a future leader.  

Hilariously Bad Speeches: Phil Davison for Stark County Treasurer

This week, we’re starting a new ongoing series: Hilariously Bad Speeches. Some speeches have content that can be a little difficult to follow.  Some speakers can have great content, but have a few bad habits that hurt their delivery and weaken the message.  But some lucky few are so spectacularly awful, so incredibly bad, that they become the stuff of internet legend. With each segment, we’ll take a speech that’s gained internet fame (or infamy?) for… Read more »

Is your face ruining your presentation?

When you’re describing an awful date to a friend, your face might twist into a look of contempt, reliving a moment in the evening where someone was rude or socially unacceptable.  When we retell a story where someone was unfair or discriminatory to us, or someone we cared about, it’s almost impossible not to give off a look of anger.  Recall a story of the time you ate something that turned out to be slimy or disgusting, and… Read more »

Speech Challenge: House of Cards Meets Game of Thrones

This week, the challenge was to write a speech to match the style and tone of Kevin Spacey’s “Frank Underwood” from the Netflix series “House of Cards” — if he found himself cast into the world of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” For the speech, Underwood is attempting to mobilize the people of Westeros against Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons and a major contender in the TV series for the coveted “Iron Throne.” — My… Read more »