Bob Berkowitz, Public Speaking Tips, Berkowitz, Speaking Tips

Bob Berkowitz, Photo from

Recently I had the opportunity to spend the day with a man who millions of people have watched as a television broadcaster, Bob Berkowitz. Mr. Berkowitz has done some pretty amazing things in his life; ranging from being a founding journalist of CNN, a White House Correspondent during the Reagan Administration, to writing a best-selling book. Now he is a sought after communications consultant, speaking coach, and messaging expert. The fact that he and I were able to connect was pretty amazing.

The meeting began with Mr. Berkowitz and I reviewing a recording of one of my presentations I gave about 3 years ago – if you click the link you will notice a dramatic difference in hair height 🙂 . We spent about two hours going play-by-play through the 35 minute presentation and below are the three major takeaways I left with.

1.)   Translate Yourself – Mr. Berkowitz probably said, “This would be a great point in the presentation to say ‘what this means to you is…’’ To me about 5 times. When I give a presentation, tell a joke, or write a blog I like to do it in an Uncle Don type fashion. What is an Uncle Don type fashion? It’s through a story.

My Uncle Don used to tell the best stories that were engaging, funny, and animated – everyone in the room was kept at the tip of their seat clinging to his every word. That’s how I like to give my presentations. BUT, often times I have the habit of not translating the story into a one-line resolution i.e. What this means to you is that a great story can illustrate your point, but only if the audience fully understands the point of the story. Sometimes I have to “translate David.”

2.)   Emphasize the Pause – It seems counterintuitive to a person who gets paid to speak to also remember the importance of not speaking…but Mr. Berkowitz stressed this tactic to me multiple times. There is power in silence and allowing your audience time to grasp what you’ve just said. Silence emphasizes the point you made like a prompt for the audience to think and marinate. It’s almost as if you’re saying, “This is important so I’m going to shut up and let this sink in.”

3.)   Give the Audience an Action Step – Most of what I talk about from stage has to do with positively affecting a business. When I speak I try to bring the information down to a third grade level (the level to which I learn best) and make sure that I leave the audience having helped them learn something. To take that goal one step further would be to tell them what they should do next. For instance if I were speaking on tools to help grow your social media reach and community, I might end the presentation with, “During this presentation we have covered ABC, and XYZ, when you get home today a great thing to do would be to download this.” Mr. Berkowitz stressed the importance to me of giving the audience an assignment that will help them take action on what they have learned.

If I were to try and put all the lessons I learned by working with Bob Berkowitz in just one blog the effort would be pointless. The 3 points above are just a few of the tips I took away from my time with him. The rest of the pointers will appear in future blogs and I’m sure in future presentations.

Would you like to work with Bob Berkowitz and receive personalized public speaking tips? Click here to visit his website, find his contact information, and read more about his experience. You can also “Like” him on his new Facebook page here.

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