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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Seeing Double, What We Can Learn from Dynamic Duos

John and Paul, Jobs and Woz, Watson and Crick—in his new book, “Powers of Two,” Joshua Wolf Shenk offers an alternative to the myth of the lone genius.

John and PaulLennon and McCartney, Buffett and Munger, Jobs and Wozniak, Watson and Crick—how creative pairs come together and create together and why greatness so often arrives in two’s.

We have long been under the influence of the myth of the lone genius that toils in isolation and one day emerges with the brilliant creation. But if you dig deeper, you’ll find that a great achievement—the groundbreaking scientific discovery, work of art or technological breakthrough—is often the result of two individuals who come together as a pair to form a joint creative identity.

In his new fascinating and meticulously researched book, the Powers of Two, Josh Wolf Shenk writes about dozens of creative dyads. Shenk’s analysis of the inner workings of some of the world’s most famous creative pairs—why some work and others don’t and why some that once worked, break apart—is a goldmine of information for any two people wanting to become the next John and Paul or Jobs and Woz.

Even though he spent six years writing and researching his book, Shenk told us, he’s been astounded to find that the creative dyad phenomenon is even more widespread than he thought. “Ever since the book came out, people have been contacting me with stories of famous collaborators,” he said, “when all along I had thought it been just been the one guy.”

Here are Shenk’s four steps of the creative dyad life cycle: Continue reading “Seeing Double, What We Can Learn from Dynamic Duos”

Think Like a Bug: How to Know Your Enemy

It’s a tough world out there, and the competition is fierce. Here’s how some of the world’s greatest leaders—Charles Darwin, Sam Walton, Jack Welch, Arianna Huffington, Madonna—have embraced the challenge, and one-upped the other guy.

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At a fourth of July barbecue, New York Times reporter, William J. Broad marveled at his hosts’ ability to keep mosquitoes at bay with an unlikely weapon–an electric fan.

Curious as to how his hosts had come up with the idea, in a story for the New York Times, the reporter traces the dissemination of the information all the way back to its originator, a Philadelphia businessman, who told him, “The solution came from trying to think like a bug, and realizing ‘I don’t like flying into a 15 mph wind.’” Since mosquitoes are weak flyers that clock in at a pokey 1 to 1.5 mph, the blow-‘em-away theory works.

This think-like-a-bug philosophy reminded us of the adage, “Know your enemy.” We’ve all heard the maxim, “Know your customer,” but that will only get you so far if part of your mission is to dominate or defeat a condition, say, Barbecue Host vs. Mosquitos or Big Pharma vs. the Big C. Or if your mission, in large part, involves dominating or defeating a rival as in Coke vs. Pepsi or Instagram vs. Vine. Sometimes for you to win your rival has to lose. So in a world of fierce competition, why do recent studies suggest that business managers who think-like-their-enemies are in the minority? Continue reading “Think Like a Bug: How to Know Your Enemy”