Keep Your Audience Transfixed

Even the most patient and considerate audiences find it very difficult to stay focused on one person talking for an hour, especially if the speaker isn’t particularly dynamic and stays firmly planted behind a lectern. I’m an animated comedian with a message, so it’s a...

Videotaping Yourself: 3 Great Benefits

First of all, don’t listen to the so-called experts who advise you not to watch yourself “if it makes you anxious or nervous.” Baloney. Even after speaking as a pro for years, I’m always amazed at how much I learn by watching videotape of myself. In fact, videotaping...

How to Memorize ANYTHING

  The harsh fact is that if you’re going to be a FANTASTIC speaker or a PROFESSIONAL speaker, you MUST memorize your speech, period.  For some people, learning that much material looks daunting if not impossible.  Some think they can memorize a passage by reading...

Stories vs. Statistics

  Although there are as many styles and techniques as there are topics and speakers, there is one truth that I think is universal and pretty much undeniable: STORIES BEAT STATISTICS EVERY TIME. “Once upon a time…” has worked for 10,000 years...

Let Pros Write Comedy for You

Even if your topic is serious and not particularly fertile for comedy, it’s always a good strategy to relax the audience with a light comment in your opening remarks.  The very best kind of icebreaker, of course, is a quip that’s crafted specifically your...

How to Craft a Killer Icebreaker

  As a professional comedian, I can tell you with certainty that the BEST way to start your speech is with a customized line you’ve written and rehearsed specifically for that audience in that place. If you’re a beginner, this isn’t an easy task; but if you want...

Can You Really Be A Fantastic Speaker?

  Some people seem to think that public speaking is like singing or gymnastics—you’re born with the right genes or you aren’t. What a pile of baloney! Some people are better suited to speaking than others, sure. But you show me someone who sincerely wants to...

Epic PowerPoint Fail

​   I’ve seen some pretty awful slide presentations over the years, but this one was an epic PowerPoint fail. As “The Funniest Two-Time Cancer Survivor” in the U.S., I perform for lots of healthcare groups and at dozens of cancer survival celebrations. I love...

How Meeting Planners Kill Speakers

If you’re just starting out as a pro speaker, you’ll probably assume that the people who hire you are totally on top of things and will take care of all the little details that will allow you to look great, come off as a pro, and have maximum impact on the audience....

3 Ways Speakers Screw Up Their Intro

Your host asks, “How would you like to be introduced?” Here are two responses: The Amateur: “Oh, whatever. Just pick a couple of things out of my bio.” The Pro: (whipping out a one-minute intro in an easy-to-read 20-point font): “This would be perfect, thanks.” Don’t...