Category Archives: Public Speaking

6 W’s Of Effective Speechwriting

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to organize your next speech. Reading time: 2:06

     Set your speechwriting compass and  lead your audience down a well-lit, easy-to-find and follow path of understanding, acceptance and action with the 6 W’s in organizing a speech for optimum impact.


    ID-10040030 Reach out and let the audience know you are just like them. Show them you care about them And they will care about you. Show them your ideas will be meaningful to them because your thinking is in tune with their thinking.


     Tell the audience what this speech is all about. Billboard the essence of your message in 10 words or less.

     Write a headline that embodies the theme of your message, sets the tone and foreshadows the conclusion. Use this headline to anchor your point of view and specifically establish where you are coming from and where you are heading.

     Develop this headline as a guideline the audience can follow to better understand, assimilate and act on your message.


     Tell the audience how important this message is to them. Get the audience as excited as you are about how your speech is going to make a meaningful difference in their lives.

     Be sure to tune in to the needs of the audience and answer the question: Why should I listen to this speech? How will it make a difference in my life? Continue reading

Taming the Media Tigers

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you deal more effectively with the media.  Reading time: 2:56

          The newly appointed vice president got caught with his foot in his mouth during a media interview. All the TV cameras and radio microphones were gone. Only one reporter in the room was left. He closed his notebook and began to exit.

   Microphones from San Diego media and news outlets are gathered for a news conference    But just then the reporter pulled a Lieutenant Columbo tactic – “just one more thing he said.” And the vice president took the bait and subsequently hung himself out to dry.

The press can be tough. Wielding microphones like guns and firing off questions in a barrage, reporters can behave much like detectives. At least that’s the way the then four year old daughter of golf legend Arnold Palmer saw it when her dad was besieged with a mob of reporters. The littler girl wondered to her mother: “Why does daddy have all those detectives asking him questions?”

      Every CEO can relate to that onslaught. Sometimes the spotlight that comes with a leadership role can seemingly blind a newly-minted CEO and even burn a frustrated CEO out of a job. Continue reading

Turning Stage Fright Into Stage Might

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help better endure stage fright. Reading time: 4:05

        For the first time in your career you will be making a company-wide presentation to the largest audience you have ever faced. Sure, you’re nervous. Maybe even a little scared.

Astronaut Gus Grissom (center) flanked by Glenn (left) and Alan Shepard (right)

Astronaut Gus Grissom (center) flanked by John Glenn (left) and Alan Shepard (right)

          You know your material. You spent more than a month researching, writing and rehearsing. Yet now –two hours from show time —the butterflies in your stomach are tearing you apart. (WTF!)

         Your heart’s thumping. Your lips are quivering.  Your voice is quavering. Your head is swirling. Your knees are knocking. Your palms are sweating. Your face is reddening. Your throat is choking. And your eyes are tearing.

       Whoa there Mealy Mouth! Take a breath. And take comfort: You’re not alone.

       In fact, stage fright inflicts the best of leaders but it doesn’t get the best of any leader, especially those leaders as prepared as you.

       And you can take some solace knowing that even the most pioneering and courageous leaders suffer from those butterflies. Even if they can perform admirably out of this world. In outer space.

      Astronaut Gus Grissom for example struggled with stage fright at the podium. “Asking Gus to just say a few words was like handing him a knife and asking to a main vein,” writes Tom Wolfe in his book The Right Stuff.

Continue reading

Strengthening Your Q & A Punch

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here is the second of two posts on the design of a Q&A session. Reading time: 7:23.

     Think of yourself as a boxer the next time you conduct a Q&A session after a speech.

       boxing glovesYou bob and weave, protecting yourself with one hand and powering yourself with the other. You look for key openings to land your ideas with impact, insight and intensity.

     Like a boxer whose preparation begins long before stepping into the ring, a Speaker Leader’s  preparation for his or her Q&A begins long before they step up to the lecturn.

      In fact, their  Q&A research and preparation forms the backbone of the Speaker Leader’s speech in much the same way a boxer’s  roadwork and sparing sessions informs the strategic intent of his planned boxing match.

     And the Speaker Leader’s  preparation– much like the proficient boxer –anticipates the strengths and leverages the weakness of his or her opponent.

      So too the prescient Speaker Leader senses what the audience’s knows and needs to know; what the audience needs to –and wants to –hear and most importantly what the audience is afraid of hearing.

       No wonder with all that focus on preparation, the most effective Speaker Leaders anticipate and develop extensive FAQs –Frequently Asked Questions–and well-researched answers well in advance, sound answers in more ways that one written for the ear. Continue reading

Q & A: With a Cherry On Top

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to add impact to the closing of your speech. Reading time: 3:27.

       The most competitive runners know their overall performance depends as much on their cool down as their workout.

        ice sundae cherry   So too, the most effective public speakers know their question and answer session –their Q&A preparation– is just as integral as their speech to the overall impact of their message.

          One enhances the other. One primes the other. One complements the other. And most significantly one creates the other.

           Unfortunately, too many wanna-be leaders confine most of their preparation to their main speech and little or none to their Q&A. And the results are predictably devastating.

           You know drill. We’ve all been there. You ask for questions. No takers. The silence is deafening. The energy in the room collapses. Your message falls flat. And your audience scurries for the exits.

  Sparking a Catalyst

           But it doesn’t have to be that way.

           In fact, the most effective leaders can and do conduct more proficient Q&A sessions when they think of their speech as a catalyst, a catalyst that stirs a reaction in the audience — a catalyst that steers the Q&A into acting as a stabilizing solution.

           As a catalyst, your speech sparks more engagement in the audience to understand your message. And they dissect it in the Q&A portion of your presentation.

          As a catalyst, your speech ignites more interaction in the audience to study and act on your message. And they more fully understand it in the Q&A portion of your presentation.

          As a catalyst, your speech prompts more probing questions in the audience to amplify and clarify your message. And they own it more completely in the Q&A portion of your presentation.

  Continue reading