Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 265) – Neale Donald Walsch

Neale Donald Walsch – American Author and Speaker

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

— Neale Donald Walsch

Photo courtesy of Sarah Rozenthuler and Gil Dekel
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Rhetoric – The Public Speaking Game™ featured in Toastmaster Magazine

My fellow public speaker, business partner and good friend Florian Mueck and I are proud to announce that Toastmasters International has published an article about Rhetoric – The Public Speaking Game™ in the October 2017 edition of its monthly magazine.

Readers of this blog will have seen posts about RHETORIC in the past: the physical board game; the launch of the app; news about upgrades to the app. It is great to see the game now being recognized by one of the world’s largest public speaking organizations.

Florian and I extend our thanks to Shannon Dewey who did a great job in putting the piece together. It was a pleasure working with her. Below is the interview portion of the article.


How did you meet?

Florian: In spring 2010, John and I met at a Toastmasters division conference in Porto, Portugal. He was the keynote speaker; I was one of the International Speech contestants. What I did not know was that he was also a competitor in his division that year. The competition was on!

John: (laughing) In the end, we each won our division, but neither of us placed at district. But we came away with something better: the foundation of what has become a great friendship and partnership. Today, besides Toastmasters, we work together with clients, co-author books and products, and enjoy more than a few beers together.

How can a game help those who fear public ­speaking?

Florian: Before joining Toastmasters, my heart wasn’t pounding when I had to speak in public; it was a galloping herd of 1,000 wild horses. Playing Rhetoric can help you tame those horses. Yes, you are giving speeches, but you are also playing a game with others. Gamification turns fear into fun.

John: The nerves never go away entirely. When you play ­Rhetoric, there is that same adrenaline rush every time it is your turn. But instead of days or weeks, there are only minutes between one speech and the next. We have seen incredible progress over the course of a single game. People who were nervous at the start are jumping onto the stage by the end of the game. They don’t even realize that they are sharpening their speaking skills.

Since you live in different countries, how did you ­collaborate on this project?

Florian: Usually when we work on specific issues, we use Google Docs. Next to our computer screens we place our smart phones and use the video function of Whatsapp. We see each other and work simultaneously on specific challenges. Once I edited a sentence that John was editing at the same time. He uttered those immortal words: “Get the cursor out of my face!”

John: We come from different countries, have different backgrounds and have different personalities. Just compare us onstage! But that is our strength. When we combine our different ­qualities, cool things happen. If we were a car, Florian would be the gas pedal and I would be the brake. Without the gas, you won’t move; without the brake, you are going to crash. With both, you can go anywhere.

Did you test the game on family and friends?

Florian: Feedback is a cornerstone of Toastmasters’ success. With the prototype, the board version and now the app, we have played with, and listened to, hundreds of people. Their feedback has been invaluable.

What future developments can we expect from Rhetoric?

John: Right now, the app can be played in six languages: ­English; Spanish; French; Russian; German; and Catalan. We plan to add more such as Mandarin, Italian and Portuguese. For themes, we already have Classic and Family (suitable for all ages). Future themes will include Business and Comedy. And we are always open to suggestions, so get in touch!


You can read the entire online version of the Toastmaster’s article here.

Seeing RHETORIC go from an idea to a prototype to a board game to an app on our smartphones and tablets has been incredibly rewarding. To everyone who has supported us along the way, Florian and I sincerely appreciate it.

And if you haven’t played RHETORIC yet, check it out.

Now, it’s your turn to speak.

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Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 264) – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey – American Talk Show Host, Actress and Philanthropist

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.”

— Oprah Winfrey

Photo courtesy of oprah.com
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It was one of those days


“A nightmare!”

“Wretched freakish luck, and agony to behold.”

These were just some of the reviews in the press of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s 4 October 2017 speech in Manchester.

This speech was an important one. With May’s popularity dipping, with the recent setback of the Conservative Party in the general election and with the U.K. slogging through the complexities of Brexit, there was a lot on the line. But things did not go according to plan.

As I have said before, if you speak in public often enough, there will be days when things go wrong. For Theresa May, this was one of those days. In spades!

First, a comedian with a penchant for pranks named Simon Brodkin managed to walk right up to the stage—where was security?!—and hand May a P45 form. A P45 is the British form that one receives when one’s employment has been terminated.

Brodkin told May that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had asked him to give it to her. He was soon led away, but not before walking up to Johnson, telling him, “Boris, job done there. I’ve given her the P45.” and giving him two thumbs up.

Embed from Getty Images

Shortly afterwards, May was struck with a coughing fit and a croaking voice. It took a glass of water and a throat lozenge handed to her by Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, to get her back on track.

Embed from Getty Images

But, there is a saying that bad luck comes in threes—could this be the karmic equivalent of the tricolon?—and so, in a final indignity, the letters of the slogan behind May began to fall off. What began as




as the “F” in “FOR” fell to the ground. (Mind you, the resulting message is interesting if you think about it.) But that wasn’t all. No, by the end of her speech, the final “E” had also fallen, leaving


Embed from Getty Images

The BBC has put together a short video that captures the essence of everything that went wrong for May.

I’m no fan of Theresa May, but that is some pretty rotten luck. So kudos to her for seeing the speech through to its conclusion. While the fallout remains to be seen, there has been some praise for the way she handled the mishaps.

Still, it is no surprise that May’s speech prompted a boatload of memes on social media.

But the Prime Minister herself also got into the game on her Twitter account with a short, clever tweet.

If you speak in public often enough, there will be days when things things go wrong. The next time you have “one of those days” think of it as a character-building exercise and remember that it happens to everyone.

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12 easy hacks to be more charismatic

PG LogoI am one of the co-founders of Presentation Guru, a digital magazine for public speaking professionalsThis post is part of a series designed to share the great content on Presentation Guru with the Manner of Speaking community.


Charisma. It’s not a special talent bestowed on a chosen few. We are all born with charisma. I challenge you to show me any baby who is not charismatic.

Unfortunately, with time, many people lose their charismatic edge. So when we do meet with someone who is truly charismatic, we notice that person. We remember that person. It’s like the human equivalent of fireworks.

The good news is that charisma is something that can be developed and strengthened. And if you speak regularly, charisma is something you want.

A charismatic on-stage presence is like rocket fuel for your speech or presentation. Many speakers forget that conveying information is only part of their responsibility; they also have to connect with the audience on an emotional level. As Seth Godin, has said,

Remember, the presentation is to make an emotional sale. The document is the proof that helps the intellectuals in your audience accept the idea that you’ve sold them on emotionally.

Charismatic speakers do just that. But how?

In this excellent post on Presentation Guru, my friend and business partner, Jim Harvey, delves into the issue and comes out with 12 simple, but powerful, ways to enhance your charisma when speaking.

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