More questions. More help. Introducing Mastering Table Topics Second Edition.

What Shark Tank can teach you about public speaking

Image from ABC (via Wikimedia)

Image from ABC (via Wikimedia)

Shark Tank is a popular TV show where entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to a panel of successful investors (called the Sharks) to encourage them to invest their money in exchange for a share of equity.

The entrepreneurs give a brief presentation and must then endure a tough Q & A session with the Sharks as they determine if their business is worth the investment. If the Sharks are interested, they will make an offer to the entrepreneurs. If the Sharks aren’t interested, or if the entrepreneurs can’t come to an agreement on the amount of equity they would give, the entrepreneurs walk away empty-handed.

An entrepreneur’s performance on Shark Tank can make or break him or her. Businesses picked by the Sharks have gone on to incredible success. Those who haven’t are often never heard from again.

If you listen to the speeches by the entrepreneurs closely, you can find out who the Sharks will choose — regardless of the type of business, the amount of money requested, and the percentage of equity being offered. Here’s what to look for.

Read more »

Announcing Mastering Table Topics – Second Edition (and more writing news)

Front Cover - Mastering Table Topics Second EditionYes, that is a new front cover for Mastering Table Topics. And that’s not the only new thing about it. I am releasing a second edition of this best-selling guide to impromptu public speaking, and it has a number of new features:

  • 250 new questions
  • Updated questions in several topics
  • Tips on eye contact, vocal variety, and body language
  • Updated list of resources, including books, games, and apps

Mastering Table Topics will also be published in paperback for the first time!  If you prefer eBooks, Mastering Table Topics – Second Edition will be available for Kindle, Apple devices, and ePub readers and apps.

Mastering Table Topics – Second Edition will be available in a few weeks after I review proofs and finalize the eBook. In the meantime, you can get the original Mastering Table Topics eBook at a discounted price of $1.99 from Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play. (The lower price will be available at other online booksellers soon.) Visit my website or follow me on Twitter (@maswriter) for updates and availability.

And that’s not all I’m working on with my writing.

Read more »

Body language, vocal variety, and The Great Dictator

You’ll find it on YouTube as “The Greatest Speech Ever Made.” Technically, it is the greatest fictional speech ever made. Regardless of how you look at it, Charlie Chaplin’s final speech in The Great Dictator is powerful for its message and how it turned the evil rhetoric of the movie’s target, Adolf Hitler, on its head to serve noble purposes. If you look at this speech closely, you’ll see that its real power comes from how Chaplin uses body language and vocal variety to drive home the speech’s eloquent words. Let’s take a closer look at a master at work. (Spoilers ahead.)

Read more »

What Donald Trump can teach you about communication (updated)

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore 3 (cropped)

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

Let’s talk about Donald Trump. Everyone is, and that’s what he intended. Whether or not you agree with his views — and I don’t — he clearly knows how to get attention. In a crowded field of Republican presidential candidates who mostly have the same views, he has been able to stand out and overshadow the rest. He has dominated the news cycle and has even used public criticism to burnish his image. We have to give him at least begrudging credit for keeping the spotlight on himself. What can we learn from this controversial celebrity and candidate? Read more »

Humor: What will Germany do?

Now that Greek voters rejected the referendum, what will Germany do?

Greece Referendum