Deborah Shames

February 18, 2018

Boned Out

Whether you’re a specialist in a sport or profession, consider your audience. Don’t dumb it down, because your explanation will still be vague and imprecise. Instead, use concrete, descriptive language.
February 11, 2018

Faster Higher Stronger

If you're like us, the Olympics will inspire you to work harder and be motivated to excel. We've always said that presenting is a contact sport. Emulate our finest athletes and thrill your audiences.
February 4, 2018

Face It

Many of us are blissfully unaware of how we are perceived. For example, we may believe our intellect and experience will carry the day. However, once a narrative is established, and that happens in a heartbeat, confirmation bias sets in.
January 28, 2018


Toss out traditional structure. Include your insights and observations. Develop stories that colorfully deliver the meat of your material. Be courageous and honor your unique perspective and style.
January 21, 2018

Quantum Sufficit

Make the complex simple. Too often, we present material as if we were still working it out. This creates slide decks that are exasperatingly long and convoluted, and the audience snoozes.
January 14, 2018

The Golden O

When your mandate is to lift the hearts of your audience, motivate them to action, or support your organization, don't get bogged down in details. Share your passion and what motivates you. Delve into the why of your mission, and what it will mean to the audience.
January 7, 2018

Speaker Staff

There are many things we can do to make 2018 more constructive, but if we emulate the Masai speaking staff custom, we will rise above the noise and create influence with grace.
December 31, 2017


Simply by being in the doing, we wake up, allow ourselves to be engaged, and more fully realize any effort.
December 24, 2017

The Other You

When you speak in public, who do you send out to represent you? It is the other you. Yes, you want to be genuine, exhibiting your personality and insights, yet the performer you send out is dressed for the occasion and delivers a script you have composed. Because we want to appear as persuasive as possible, how can we clearly assess the other, and improve them?
December 17, 2017

Keep Portland Weird

At times, we all take ourselves too seriously-- especially when it comes to public speaking. But without the persuasive qualities of joy, humor, and passion, we can lose our ability to connect. Like Vera, let's approach our presentations with high commitment, but always include what we enjoy about our subject.
December 10, 2017

Mess With It

Take the plunge and let go of the need to be perfect. Being genuine and in-the-moment creates presentations that are more powerful and moving than any varnished, pitch-perfect talk.
December 3, 2017

As If

Utilize professional techniques when preparing for your next presentation. First, determine your intention. Then outline the arc of your talk from beginning to end. When rehearsing, speak the content aloud.
November 26, 2017

Thank the Turkey

We hope you are winding down from a rich and bountiful Thanksgiving, having spent time with family and friends. While the narrative of the first American Thanksgiving was replete with creativity, the spirit of the holiday is nevertheless profound.
November 19, 2017


David recently recorded narration for a client's audio book*. A voice-over project tests one's ability to focus. Any glitch, like slurring a consonant, offbeat pronunciation, dropping an "a", or unclear interpretation can cause the director to call "Cut. Do it again."
November 12, 2017

Came to Play

We're still in the thrall of the recent World Series. After swallowing the hard lump of the Dodgers' loss, we began to admire the scrappy Astros, wondering, "How did they win this thing?" Their success is a lesson for anyone in a competitive environment, especially speakers.