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Rob Cottingham



Leadership communications, speaking and social



Last Build Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2017 18:06:46 +0000

 



Don’t just read your speech. Perform it.

Tue, 23 May 2017 02:46:53 +0000

There’s a big conceptual leap that absolutely transforms a speaker’s connection with an audience, and magnifies their impact tremendously. It’s the leap from reading a speech… to actually, authentically performing it. Instead of a recitation, your delivery becomes a series of choices—some conscious, some subconscious—with a deliberate goal of connecting emotionally with your audience. And when […]

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Wrapping up my first Facebook Live speechwriting clinic

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 20:46:13 +0000

Thanks to everyone who joined me this morning for my first official Facebook Live speechwriting clinic. (I say “official” because I’ve done a few impromptu runs at this in the past. Let’s define “official” as “I gave people some warning and made a custom graphic for it.”) We covered a lot of ground in our […]

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Join me for a speechwriting clinic on Facebook Live: Friday, April 7

Mon, 03 Apr 2017 18:42:33 +0000

Got a burning speechwriting question, a leadership communications dilemma or a public speaking conundrum? I’ll be taking all comers in a Facebook Live speechwriting clinic this Friday, April 7 at 11 a.m. Pacific, 2 p.m. Eastern. RSVP here so I’ll know how much virtual potato salad to make. Then come on by on Friday, and […]

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Speaking at a rally? Here’s how to make it count.4886826058_138883c18a_o20170219-editing-screen4433399883_c8fd1e9676_z

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 16:05:28 +0000

If you work with a mission-driven organization, you may find yourself speaking at a political rally soon. (Maybe sooner than you think, the way things are going.) You may be there to offer a short greeting and encouragement, or to deliver a rousing featured address, or something in between. Either way, there’s a lot you […]

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The authoritarian story behind Donald Trump’s inaugural address

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 06:16:01 +0000

Last week, the good folks at Global’s BC1 news channel asked for my analysis of Donald Trump’s inaugural address. You’ll probably be less than surprised to learn I wasn’t a fan… and not just because it was pretty tedious.

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Leaders and communicators: please stop saying “health outcomes”

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:11:43 +0000

The politician I saw on TV yesterday morning clearly wanted to convey his earnest concern over an issue with ambulance delays. He was doing a pretty good job, too…right up to the point where he said his goal was “positive health outcomes.” Oof. Few areas offer the chance to connect emotionally to an audience than health. […]

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The danger of “but.” The power of “and.”Instagram Photo2016_State_of_the_Union___whitehouse_gov

Thu, 24 Nov 2016 18:46:11 +0000

Yesterday, Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted something that, on the face of it, looks perfectly reasonable for a left-wing political leader to say: Yes, we need more candidates of diversity, but we also need candidates? ?to be fighters for the working class. https://t.co/561r5qBjfC — Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 23, 2016 The fact that Sanders says but […]

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How Obama’s messy closet saved the State of the Union speech

Thu, 14 Jan 2016 00:58:13 +0000

State of the Union speeches are often messy, sprawling things. Countless constituencies and interests — within and outside government — vie to hear their priorities reflected in the President’s words. And even without their lobbying, the scope of governing is vast, offering potentially thousands of agenda items. That’s why so many SOTU speeches (and their […]

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Punch up your presentation deck (before you jazz up your template)

Wed, 16 Dec 2015 21:31:26 +0000

In the last post, I tackled a Business Insider article that claimed the reason most PowerPoint presentations aren’t effective is that they use boring templates. My response: what makes presentations awful isn’t boring templates. It’s boring content (slide or spoken), poorly structured and badly delivered. So what could you do with your presentation deck instead of jazzing […]

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A great podcast for speechwriters (and other storytellers)

Tue, 15 Dec 2015 05:38:30 +0000

“Tell a story” is advice you’ll often hear about speechwriting. Telling a story—and telling it well—can be a key to connecting with your audience, and making your message memorable. What you won’t hear as often is how to tell that story, and how to tell it really, really well. How to keep your audience leaning […]

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Boring slides aren’t what’s wrong with PowerPoint.

Fri, 20 Nov 2015 15:57:59 +0000

Kindly allow me a short rant. Because this article from Business Insider is driving me a little nuts: PowerPoint presentations are the standard for presentations in the workplace. Except that they kind of suck …. It’s not really Microsoft’s fault. PowerPoint gives you all kinds of templates and graphics tools, but all anyone ever uses is boring […]

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How to use humor in a speech (without getting burned)emoji-jokes-souls

Thu, 19 Nov 2015 17:49:18 +0000

One of the best perks of speechwriting is the way it lets you indulge your sense of humor. Nearly every time you sit down to write a speech, there’s a chance to tell at least one joke. That’s not something most other communicators get to do nearly as often. (Try slipping a one-liner into the annual […]

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