• Oct 25
    2016
    Historic though they might have been, the second and third presidential debates were surprisingly unpersuasive. If Hillary Clinton is leading Donald Trump in the polls, it is probably less due to her persuasiveness than to his recurring and deepening scandals. But I’m not here to write about politics. I want to look at the quality of the communication in the third debate — specifically, how the candidates handled evidence. Any ...
  • Oct 14
    2016
    In August, I asked you to vote for the best of six speakers at the Republican and Democratic conventions. You chose Michelle Obama by a wide margin. Here’s what I said when I reported on your votes: [Michelle Obama] is easily the most genuine of the six principal speakers. Her message was dramatic, heartfelt, and perfectly in tune with her voice and body language. It was also intensely personal, even ...
  • Oct 13
    2016
    I was not persuaded of anything while watching the second presidential debate, except perhaps that Hillary Clinton has a calm demeanor and excellent control of her temper. To me, the second debate looked like a fight between a parent and a child — one of those overgrown children who is capable of dominating the parent physically but has not yet graduated to personal violence. But violence doesn’t change minds. Neither ...
  • Oct 12
    2016
    This past weekend, Access Hollywood released a recording that should be an object lesson. I don’t know about you, but every time I see one of these news stories about someone speaking out of turn in the presence of a microphone, I am simply astonished. Unless someone is recording you in secret, it’s kind of hard not to know you’re being recorded. This story is a reminder how easy it ...
  • Oct 06
    2016
    Every year, from 1999 through 2005, the world watched cyclist Lance Armstrong win the Tour de France. But if you check the record now, you will find no winner listed for those years, each of which is simply marked with an asterisk. In 2012, Armstrong was stripped of his titles for using performance enhancing drugs. It took six years for cycling fans to learn Armstrong hadn’t won those races after ...
  • Sep 30
    2016
    According to David Gergen, writing for CNN, Hillary Clinton won the recent presidential debate with Donald Trump: By all traditional standards of debate, Mrs. Clinton crushed. She carefully marshaled her arguments and facts and then sent them into battle with a smile. She rolled out a long list of indictments against Donald Trump, often damaging. By contrast, he came in unprepared, had nothing fresh to say, and increasingly gave way ...
  • Sep 13
    2016
    Any sane person suffers from stage fright when they have to give a presentation to a live audience. It’s just not natural to get up on a platform and offer yourself and your ideas to the judgment of a group of strangers. But that’s also your first key to the technique for overcoming stage fright: make sure your audience is not a bunch of strangers. How do you do that? ...
  • Sep 06
    2016
    “I don't want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them their jobs.” This remark is attributed to the legendary Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn. It highlights the fundamental paradox of organizational advancement: as you advance, feedback on your performance grows more important to the organization. At the same time, that feedback grows less reliable. At the very top of the organization, ...