Deborah Shames

June 17, 2018

The Ideomotor

Kahneman suggests that our words can be very persuasive, especially if we are thoughtful in their selection and use. For instance, if you relate a client anecdote with strong visual details of the protagonist's obstacle and your solution, the listener's memory kicks in with their version of the same narrative.
June 10, 2018

Change the World

What can we mere mortals learn from forward-thinking pioneers? Masterful speaking requires purpose, intense focus and the ability to set aside other interests to achieve success.
June 3, 2018

Genuine Article

Create your own style, and don't copy anyone else. When you commit to exhibiting your genuine qualities and perspective, you may not be liked, but you will be respected and appreciated. In fact, if you can manage all of the above, you will be a magnet for those who thirst for the genuine article.
May 27, 2018

Be Here Now

The night before your meeting or speech, retire early. If you don't sleep well, you lose 30 to 40% of your cognitive ability. Whether it's magnesium-zinc-potassium, sublingual melatonin, or another sleep aid, pack it and use it.
May 20, 2018


When you feel fear but don’t want the audience to perceive it, breathe deeply, open your hands, and stride with purpose onto the stage.
May 13, 2018

That’s My Voice?

To determine the true quality of your voice, record yourself and then listen carefully. Become familiar with your voice and commit to making it a compelling instrument. The effect on others will be dramatic.
May 6, 2018

Rule of Three

After determining your single intention, or what you most want to achieve, employ the Rule of Three to make your ideas stick and engage the listener. Three concepts or ideas also make the speaker appear clear, knowledgeable and organized.
April 29, 2018


The world needs more forums to bring out our better selves and revel in our humanness. Ben Franklin exchanged scientific knowledge in his salon...Gertrude Stein invited Picasso to attend hers... Seek out your own fascinating persons and let them shine. You will be the better for it.
April 22, 2018


Every industry, whether it's science, art, or business, awaits that next visionary who can assess what's working and what could be improved. Then, with insight and hard work, they make it better. New developments rarely appear on the world stage all bright and shiny.
April 15, 2018

Punk Monkey

For the greater good of our species, let's emulate marmoset empathy, selflessness and polite communication. We've been on the earth about the same amount of time. Let's use that big brain of ours for better communication and cooperation.
April 8, 2018


When you are aware of the rhythm and meter of your presentation, you can slow it down or speed it up, depending on what you’re sensing from the audience. Counterpoint is critical, so that each of you handles a different role. The expressive power of a duet, invisibly interlaced, is profound.
April 1, 2018

Eye Level

Match tone and behavior to your desired outcome. Leveraging physical signals gives you an enormous advantage.
March 25, 2018

Immerse Yourself

Over the years, we know that when attendees focus on conquering one challenge without interruption (i.e. immersion therapy), they have a high likelihood of success. The same is true for acquiring new skills. When you focus on one element at a time, and then test it out in front of others— you embed this new skill into your muscle memory.
March 18, 2018

Almost Real

When you speak, employ the strategies and tactics that the squawkers use, but do it for a positive purpose. Infuse your presentations with novelty and surprise. Drive your stories with emotion to engage audiences and embed your message into their memory. Show your commitment. Speak openly about the challenges you face. And speak without affectation or bluster.
March 11, 2018

Hawk’s Prayer

Whether you are in sales, professional services, or social media, know that your competitors are honing their presentations. And if you leave your speaking skills unattended, you may very well lose your edge.
March 4, 2018

Big Air

Even seasoned speakers experience fear, trepidation, or the “yips.” In the fear zone, mindfulness has its limitations. Instead, dive into fear, bring it into your being, and use it as a saber to cut away the noise and sharpen your intention.
February 25, 2018

Your Gold

We've been thrilled by the 2018 Olympics. There are divots in our wood floor from jumping up and down in front of the TV, watching incredible tests of human will and physicality. As the Games wind down, let's review what can be transferred to speaking and presenting.
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.