LISTEN TO THE COACH When I was 14 years old, I began playing football (soccer) competitively in school, and was named captain of the Calabar High School Colts team. (That’s me in the back on the left, beside the coach, showing way too many teeth!) We represented our school at the junior level. To be […]

Before and After

  During a recent speech coaching session, one of my clients said, “I saw you speak in London a couple of years ago, and I was particularly impressed with your personal stories. They made me feel connected to you.” His words simply reinforced a principle that has come to mean a great deal to me; […]

I Second That Emotion!

Some time ago, I received an e-mail in which a Toastmaster asked me ‘HOW MUCH emotion should be expressed in a speech?” Immediately, my mind ran in rewind to the finals of the 2010 Toastmasters International Speech Contest. That day, David Henderson delivered a stirring speech, and he openly expressed deep emotion during his presentation. […]

The Call for CLARITY

    Everyone enjoys a good story, which is why we like intriguing mysteries, sentimental romances, gut-wrenching dramas, horrifying thrillers, and belly-busting comedies…in books, television programs, videos, and movies. Stories that we tell can be just as effective, and most often they are. However, every once in a while we see a film, read a […]

Holiday Memories

It’s early January, and Christmas trees have been dragged to curbs to be hauled off with the trash. Pine needles have been ingested by vacuum cleaners around the world. Curios, coffee tables and other furniture have reclaimed their rightful positions in living rooms and dens. Artificial trees have been disassembled and sent into 10-month hibernation […]

Use Another Tool!

  Several years ago, I discovered some termite damage to floor joists under my house. The damage was in the crawlspace, so it was quite dark, and it was not very easy to notice what the termites had done. I needed a tool…something to illuminate the area so I could see clearly. I chose a […]

When Something Goes WRONG…

  For more than 25 years, I’ve both told and heard some very inspirational stories. Some were born of deep pain, some from the joyous celebrations, and some from the humorous side of life. As is my custom, I ask my speech coaching clients to unearth the poignant personal stories from their own lives, because […]

Mundane, or MAGNIFICENT?

 Over the years, I’ve met thousands of interesting people; royalty, celebrities, politicians, pioneers, and more. Some have no specific claim to fame, and they represent diversity in age, ethnicity, religious belief, political affiliation, and background. Many have life stories that most people would consider fascinating and full of adventure. Many don’t. But there is one […]


Our stories are personal; our stories are powerful; sometimes our stories are PAINFUL. Some time ago, while discussing storytelling during a panel discussion, I made a comment about telling stories from THE DARK PLACE…a place of deep pain and raw emotions. My good friend the 1999 World Champ Craig Valentine says, “A message is really just […]


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