SpeakHQ Blog

What makes a good commencement speech?

By Berkun | May 14, 2012

I’m being interviewed on Wed on NPR about commencement speeches. Update: I was interviewed yesterday on NPR about this. You can listen here. Commencement speeches are the ones given at graduations, usually in the summer and often outside, where the attention spans of young people are stretched to their limits. Most of my advice about commencement speeches  is similar to advice I give…

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How To Get Paid To Speak

By Berkun | May 2, 2012

Many people attend lectures at events and think: “I could do better than that.” And they might be right. What they don’t realize is the ability to give a good presentation is different that earning the reputation required to be invited to give it. I write and speak for a living and get asked often…

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How to become a motivational speaker

By Berkun | March 21, 2012

I get asked about this often. Most of the news here isn’t good. There is a stigma around the phrase “motivational speaker”. The stereotype is a preacher or a snake oil salesman, all promises and slickness, delivering little substance. Or infomercials that promise if you just read this book, or follow this program, you’ll get everything…

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What does "motivational speaker" mean to you?

By Berkun | March 20, 2012

Update: A post based on these survey  results was posted: How to become a motivational speaker. [polldaddy poll=6060152]

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On Writing vs. Speaking

By Berkun | March 18, 2012

Paul Graham wrote recently on his perspectives on the written vs. spoken word. Graham admits he’s more confident as a writer than a speaker. This biases his comparisons and his essay. He’d have benefited from talking to people who he thinks are both good speakers and good thinkers (and perhaps good writers) as they’d have…

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Is speaking easier than writing? Some advice

By Berkun | January 25, 2012

I get many emails asking about writing, in response to the popular posts I’ve written about writing. Recently Shawnee M. Deck wrote in asking about writing ones life story. I was immediately appalled by my lack of ability to put down on paper the words that seem to make everyone laugh whenever I tell my stories. This…

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In defense of flubs (and Rick Perry)

By Berkun | November 10, 2011

It is foolish to confuse a moment of forgetting with stupidity.  All people who speak make mistakes. We forget things. We confuse words. We lose our train of thought. And if you listen to a recording of yourself for even an hour in your daily life you’ll notice all sorts of gaffs, odd pauses, and…

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How to give a perfect demo

By Berkun | October 4, 2011

There is a moment in bad product demos when everyone knows the speaker is in trouble. We watch them move their mouse, and click a button, and see the uncertainty in their eyes. Will it work? And when it fails, they fall into the downward spiral of live troubleshooting in front of a crowd. How…

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Why conferences cost so much

By Berkun | September 15, 2011

Great post on AndyBudd.com on why conferences costs so much: Let’s assume that this $1000 a ticket conference happens over 3 days with 3 tracks and attracts 300 people. That would indicate an income of $300,000. However once you’ve taken off transaction fees you looking at closer to $275,000. Let us assume that the venue…

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An Open Letter To Speakers

By Berkun | June 27, 2011

To follow up on my open letter to conference organizers, here’s an open letter for speakers. Dear Speaker: Most events and conferences are boring. And since events primarily consist of people giving lectures, who is to blame for all the boredom? It’s the speakers. Most organizers realize most speakers don’t do a very good job.…

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