3 The Art of Speaking

The Four Bones of a Transformational Speech

Cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien, author of The Four-Fold Way, teaches there are four bones to which we must pay attention if we are to remain fully present in our lives. As in life, so it is in speaking! Here are the four bones:

1. First, the wishbone. That is where our vision resides, the place of dreaming and re-dreaming so that we live the life we came to live. When you’re developing your presentation, what is the vision you hold of what is possible because you choose to show up? A transformational speech begins with knowing the new story you want people to embrace and act upon. So exercise your wishbone as your very first step to a transformational speech. What is the outcome you wish for that makes all the energy of preparing and delivering a presentation worthwhile? Continue reading

The Three Faces: Staying Alive to Your Life and Your Speaking

This month I am experimenting with You Tube and not just writing but also talking to you about the three faces, an African teaching I learned from Angeles Arrien. It is said we stay alive to our lives if each day we express the three faces. The first is the face of the child, the face of wonder and curiosity, imagination and awe. The second is the face of the young lad or young maiden seized by passion and creative fire. The third is the face of rude magnificence, the face of the elder with its wisdom, and yes, often its fierceness. ( I tell a favorite story about the face of rude magnificence as it showed up in me in Switzerland in my book Transformational Speaking.) Continue reading

The TED Commandments



Who has not been inspired by a TED Talk? TED is a small nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading.” It started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. While attending the conference is by application and costs $5,000, the 18-minute talks travel the internet and are available to all at www.TED.com.

Listen to some of the talks to behold the richness and wisdom that can be communicated in just 18-minutes. A few of my favorites are Jill Bolte Taylor’s Stroke of Insight, novelist Isabel Allende on creativity, and Elizabeth Gilbert on recognizing the muse. Check them out! Continue reading

Seven Principles of Learning Another Way To Be – applied to speaking anxiety

Have you ever agreed to do a presentation and as the time got closer wonder what ever possessed you to say yes? Then you’ll benefit from the experience of Michael Hansen of Whidbey Island, Washington. Michael is the author of the award-winning parable Another Way to Be – The Path Within. While he had several successful book signings under his belt, the prospect of speaking to his own community created high apprehension. Here he applies the seven principles of learning from his book to delivering a masterful talk – and experiencing a great connection with his audience. As Another Way to Bereminds us, “The universe is not out to get us. It is trying to get us out – out of our limited thinking, our limited feeling, our limited believing. It is attempting to guide us back to the path of awareness, understanding, and knowledge.” Continue reading

Activism + Artistry: Speaking Out for Change

This month in Vancouver, 17 inspiring people attended my Speak Out! workshop to build their speaking skills to catalyze personal and planetary change. Ten ideas emerged to support you when you are faced with an audience whose worldview and values are markedly different from your own.

1. Recognize that if everyone is already on board with you, you are preaching to the choir. It’s uplifting to find audiences that respond, of course. But often your mission requires that you open up new avenues of understanding and potential support. The first step in change is beginning a conversation that introduces a new framework or language. Consider the changes in your own awareness over time and honor what it takes to move to a different point of view. Continue reading

Keynoting: An Art Form Unto Itself

Recently AOL ran a story about “The Top Ten Most Overpaid Jobs.” High on the list were “motivational speakers” with warmed-over messages. While that delivers a sting of truth in some cases, I believe speakers who build lasting careers really earn their fees and then some. Here’s why:

Speaking takes many forms. Some speakers are successful in intimate settings, other on large platforms. Few do both with equal ease. Shakespeare’s exhortation “to thy own self be true” is absolute wisdom in the case of where to invest your energy in building a speaking career. Continue reading

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