The Art of Doing

How to be a Master at Public Speaking?

Sweaty palms, racing heart, find out how the masters deliver masterful presentations.


How to start, how to hold, how to build, how to end—eight master strategies of public speaking 

Your legs wobble as you approach the podium. Your hands tremble as you adjust the microphone. Your head throbs. A wail builds deep inside you and threatens to escape.

It’s showtime, and the feelings are primal.

Evolutionary biologists tell us that in the presence of a presumed threat, we go into fight-or-flight mode, kicking off a millennia-old chain-reaction that starts in the brain’s fear centers and ends with our muscles pumped with blood and oxygen, prepared for battle or escape.

If you experience this, don’t worry. You’re in good company. In a recent story for the New Yorker, Joan Acocella writes that some of the greatest performers—Daniel-Day Lewis, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Barbra Streisand and Sir Laurence Olivier—have all faced symptoms of extreme stage fright.

As panicked as the thought of presenting in front of a group can make us, whether we’re delivering a speech before hundreds, doing a business pitch, attending a job interview, or introducing a report in a meeting, our careers may depend doing it, and doing it well.

So how can we get better? Our story here.

Bonus: See how comedians handle hecklers.

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With MLK as Her Inspiration: How Constance Rice Fights for Justice

Civil rights lawyer and activist Constance Rice fights for justice on a large scale, devoting herself to changing the institutions that affect all of our lives.

Constance Rice, a L.A. civil rights activist and lawyer (who happens to be Condoleeza’s second cousin), has known from a very young age that she’s wanted to fight for justice.

When we interviewed her in our book (Chapter 14 “How to Fight for Justice”), Rice told us that she could have become a social worker or drug counselor helping one person at a time. Instead, inspired by Martin Luther King, Rice wanted to fight for justice on a larger scale. She devoted herself to changing the institutions that affect all of our lives—a process that King called a radical restructuring of our economic and political systems.

At first, Rice fought most of her battles in the courtroom, treating the police department and other institutions as adversaries. But inevitably she realized that she was winning in the courtroom but losing in the streets. She was not even coming close to achieving the radical restructuring King had inspired her to pursue. Continue reading “With MLK as Her Inspiration: How Constance Rice Fights for Justice”