101 Public Speaking websites

Public Speaking 101
I’m honored to have my blog listed among the 101 Public Speaking websites published by the Guide to Online Communication Master Programs.

This is a comprehensive, annotated list of websites and blogs dealing with

  • Public & Professional Speaking
  • Presentation Blogs & Tools
  • Speechwriting
  • General Communication & Debate

These include many of the sites I refer to on a regular basis as well as ones I was not aware of. This is a resource well worth bookmarking.

5 years of blogging

5th birthdayToday marks the 5th anniversary of this blog, launched on January 14, 2006 with a posting on English sports fans written after reading an article in the Financial Times.

I’d actually installed the WordPress blog software on my site the previous November. I then suffered through two months of writers block before I felt comfortable enough with the idea of blogging to actually write something.

Since then, finding topics for my blog has not been a problem. I’ve posted 597 articles and gathered 4,139 comments. It goes in cycles. Some weeks I post multiple times. At other times, such as over the past month, things are quieter.

I think my initial writers block was because I was unsure of the “tone” my blog should have. Was I in danger of being too personal? Too abstract and remote? Too English? Too American? Too political, spiritual, profane, radical or middle-of-the-road? Would I, heaven forbid, offend people?

Happily, I think I’ve managed to be all of those things. (Heck, I even had my blog censored when I worked for a major Silicon Valley computer company and my disclaimer that it was “my blog” carried no weight with my managers.)

I still find writing in response to an article in the FT, or a book I’ve finished, or a movie I’ve seen, to be one of the easiest forms of blogging.

Five years on, my thoughts on blogging are:

  • It’s been a worthwhile investment of my time. As a writer it allows me a safe, yet public, space to post. It feels like I have my own newspaper column.
  • While the blog has not brought me dozens of clients for my freelance speechwriting business, it has brought me to the attention of a couple of clients and paying work resulted. Of course, I have no way knowing if countless potential clients might have looked at stuff I’ve posted and never called because they did not like my opinions, or found the quality of my writing inadequate.
  • A primary benefit has been to promote my interests and area of expertise to a wide audience. This has paid off in terms of my professional reputation.
  • It’s been important to have a few regular sources of inspiration that challenge me to post to my blog. For example, my many friends and colleagues in the National Speakers Association. NSA conferences, meetings and the annual Pro-Track class have been a reliable source of content.
  • I’ve also re-posted articles I’ve written for ragan.com and made it a habit to write full-length reviews of important books in the field of executive communications.
  • Guest postings generate a awful lot of traffic.
  • I’ve enjoyed podcasting and creating videos for the blog. It’s a lot easier to record a quick interview with conference attendees than post the lengthy reports at the end of a meeting.
  • Posting short updates and “gee-wizz” items on Twitter has supplemented blogging, especially over the past couple of years. I’ve posted over 1,100 tweets since I joined in November 2007.
  • I’ve made blogging the hub of my social media presence, linking my posts to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
  • I’ve found the blog a useful place to archive information I need to share with others. A great example has been the Podcasting 101 article, which I refer people to quite regularly. I’ve used the Comments section to add additional references.
  • I’ve seen the value of blogging as a way of curating information, as with the listing of Top Tweets I created for different events, even some I didn’t attend in person.

I spend a lot less time than I used to looking at my site statistics. But here’s some stats (from Google Analytics) for one month last year:

Stats for October 2010

  • 11 articles posted
  • 4,205 unique visitors
  • Peak of 236 visitors on Oct 21, 2010 when I published 227 Top Tweets from #prsa_ic
  • 6,882 pageviews. The most popular page was Obama: The Lion in Winter from January 2009 where people spent an average 5:20 reading.
  • The three most common search phrases:
    executive communications, magcloud review and rhetorical analysis of obamas inaugural speech

Blog on!

Speechwriters who blog tell exactly why they do it

Vital Speeches of the Day has a great list of reasons why speechwriters blog, by Cynthia Starks.

Professionally Speaking in top 50 communications blogs

I’ve just been told that Professionally Speaking had been listed as #25 in the Top 50 Communications Blogs. I’m not familiar with the blog is where this list is posted, but it’s a pretty thorough list, divided into categories: Media and Journalism, PR and Advertising, Organizational and Business Communications, Public Speaking and Speech Writing, Conflict Resolution, Technical Communication and Science Communication, Communication Theory, and Communication Disorders.

Another source of blogs about speech writing and public speaking is Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop page. And then there’s my blogrolls in the right-hand column of this page.

Guest Posting: Lessons from Social Media Plus, by Erica V.

Last week I curated a list of 230 tweets from the Social Media Plus Summit held May 25 in Philadelphia. I asked Erica V., who was at the event, to explain what role social media plays in her life and some of the takeaways from the day.

Manners, Content and Audience: getting Back to Basics at Social Media Plus, by Erica V.


EricaI like to tell people that I have my blogging habit to thank for the path my career has taken.

I began blogging in 2005, but it wasn’t until November, 2009 I began taking blogging and social media seriously as a means to transform myself into a social media maven that could find her own place in the corporate world.

I started Mommy’s Still Fabulous, a blog dedicated to discussing the ins and outs of motherhood, managing a full-time career, and having fun along the way. And I soon found myself in great company; there are a lot of us Mommy Bloggers out there, and we have a lot to say.

Because of my blog, I began to learn about and explore other sites and tools as a way to find new followers and develop new relationships.


I began to tweet. I started a Facebook fan site specifically for my blog where I could RSS feed new posts as I wrote them. I joined Ning communities and hopped my way through Blog Frog.
I engaged with my audience. I spent time replying to their comments and visiting and commenting on their own blogs. I even installed a plug-in on my blog that would allow those who left comments to highlight their last post on their blogs.

I started to network, go to tweet ups and spend time at conferences like Bloggy Boot Camp. I found my tribe.

Today, I average about 200 post views a day and have a significant number of subscribers who read me through their RSS feeds and e-mail subscriptions through Google’s Feedburner. It’s not earth shattering, but I do credit all of this with where it got me today in my full-time position.

Before blogging, I was managing internal and consumer publications for a large healthcare organization. It’s because of blogging, and my involvement with social media, I was able to transform my job description into what it is today: Manager of Interactive Marketing.

Who says social media is a time-waster?

Social Media Plus

I recently attended great social media conference, Social Media Plus, and learned a lot about engaging customers, being authentic, building a brand, creating social media policies, and creating fabulous content for social media outlets.

I spent the day listening… and tweeting. I tweeted with #SMPlus and my followers who were not at the conference found a lot of value in the things I had to say and what I was learning.

One of the things I learned is that there are a lot of things I am doing right both personally, with my blog, and professionally with my career. I also came to the realization that I’ve known these ideas for a long time – about 33 years to be exact. Why? Because my Mom taught me them long before the phrase “social media” ever existed.

But she called them Manners.

Here are some takeaways from the day I found very helpful. I posted this on my personal blog as well, and got a lot of comments in reply. I guess we could all use a little reminder that it’s important to get back to basics.

1. Say Please and Thank you.

As someone who manages social media for her full-time job… as well for her blog, I can tell you one thing is for sure: If you want someone to do something for you, say please. Please re-tweet (RT), Please comment, Please link up, etc. The word “Please” goes a long way. Use it. Love it.
“Thank yous” require a little bit more work. When I get a new fan on one of my Facebook pages for work, I drop them a small message that tells them:
“Thank you for joining us on Facebook! I am a real person:) and I look forward to talking with you! Let me know if I can help you with anything!”

That’s it. Done.

I admit, I don’t always have time to do it, but it is a nice touch. Also, when people RT your Tweets, link to you in a blog post or tweet… say “Thanks.” It takes a minute, but goes a long way.

2. Think about what you say before you open your mouth.

Whether you blog or tweet for yourself, or for your brand, you are speaking on someone’s behalf.
Words will travel. Don’t tweet, update or blog about something you wouldn’t want your Mother to read. And, if you’re lucky like me, your Mom is your biggest fan. Don’t be stupid. Type with care.

3. Do the right thing.

Gossip, Bullying, Cat-fights… don’t engage in the drama. Stand by your product {yourself!} and your followers, friends and fans will respect you more. Show you have an opinion, but make sure it’s valid. Don’t jump on a negative bandwagon for the sake of sensationalism.

4. Listen.

A good rule of thumb is to give out more than you expect to get back. That means… don’t make it all about you all the time. Listen to your audience. Give them what they want. Treat them as you would want to be treated – that means listening when appropriate, commenting for encouragement and supporting others with re-tweets and sharing.

5. Share.

Find great content? Share it. Tell others. Make it viral. Approximately 51% of online users are generating original content. That’s a lot! There is good stuff out there. Build relationships with a new audience by sharing with others what you find interesting. They’ll thank you for it, and share the things you put out there that make you and your content unique.

Conversely, if you have great content, and think others will benefit from it, share it. You’d be surprised by how many people will appreciate you {and your expertise} on the subject.

So there you have it… 5 rules… 5 pieces of wisdom… 5 ways to mind your manners on the web.

Long Distance Marketing

A new venture by NSA Northern California past-president Scott Q. Marcus looks interesting. Scott lives up in the redwoods in Eureka and is turning his geographical isolation to an advantage with a blog on Long Distance Marketing.

Long Distance Marketing

Scott writes of the challenge of finding and developing a customer base that is not located near your base of operations:

The question is “How?” That is one foundation on which this site is built. How do you reach potential clients and customers who live far away from you? What works? What doesn’t? In this “new” age of marketing, what are the most effective tools to find your clients? Of even more import is how do they find you?

His blog will document creative approaches to that challenge. One approach is to publish a quarterly magazine called ‘Two Words’.

For a ringside seat at the birth of a new business venture, bookmark Scott’s blog and join in the conversation as he launches himself into cyberspace – WOOOOSH!

How to: Transition your blog to WordPress.org

Peggy at the SCORE Women’s Success Blog has very useful step-by-step guide on transitioning to the WordPress.org self-hosted blogging platform. I use this and attribute ‘Executive Communications’ being #2 in the Google rankings to having my WordPress blog sitting on my own webserver. Not be confused with WordPress.com

The Spirit of the National Speakers Association

Cavett RobertToday marks the anniversary of the birthday of Cavett Robert (1907-1997) – the legendary founder of the National Speakers Association (NSA).

Each November 14th the association celebrates the Spirit of NSA in his honor. The purpose of the day is to continue Cavett’s legacy of sharing and giving by mentoring, referring and honoring fellow NSA members.

In this spirit, I’d like to remind readers that there are over 60 NSA members with blogs listed in the NSA Blogroll on the right side of this page.

These are speakers who write, who share their insights not only on the podium but also on the web. Check them out, there are blogs on everything from Disaster Planning to Word of Mouth Marketing; from Sales Tips to Strategic Planning; from Dating Advice for the over 40’s to Overcoming Adversity. And much, much more.

National Speakers Association 2008 Convention Blogs

I attended the 2008 NSA Convention in New York City. Unlike my podcasts from the 2007 San Diego Convention and my blog from the 2006 Orlando event, I was not able to spend the time necessary to review the Convention in depth on Professionally Speaking.

Not to worry. There are two excellent resources I’ve added to the NSA Blogroll in the right column.

NSA Meetings is a blog hosted by Cynthia D’Amour and Don Cooper. There are a number of excellent postings on the conference in New York.

No NSA Conference would be complete without the parties Ed Rigsbee organizes for the Cigar PEG. Their new blog will keep you up-to-date on what happened in New York as well as plans for the future.

Finally, if you missed any of the sessions at the conference, don’t forget you can order audio and video of all sessions from SoftConference.

I’m interviewed by a Portugese blogger

PortugalThanks to the international blogosphere, I’ve been interviewed by a Portugal-based public speaker and Toastmaster. Francisco Saraiva is a young executive in Marketing and PR, working for the Port of Leixões in Northern Portugal. He heads the Oporto Toastmasters Club.

The interview was conducted by email. Check out Francisco’s wonderful English-language blog – it’s all about public speaking.