Does My But Look Too Big Here?

The “but trap” could send to our keisters any of us who write or speak in public. Don’t fall into a but trap. Think “yes and” instead.

Lessons Learned from the 2022 Presentation Summit

If you were to look up epiphany at, it should include the footnote “See Season No. 20 of the Presentation Summit.” In our 20-year history, no event has been more eye-opening than the four days in October over which we staged our hybrid conference.

Dierdre and her Free Soloing Son

I recently watched Free Solo for the fourth time, so obsessed am I with the limits of human achievement and our capacity to face down pressure and risk. The parallels with public speaking are obvious, and that is why I am so looking forward to welcoming to the Presentation Summit Dierdre Wolownick, the mother of Alex Honnold.

Dueling Ballrooms

Few moments capture the charm of the Presentation Summit better than the 30 spontaneous seconds that took place one afternoon in 2017. When good friends Mike Parkinson and Nolan Haims found themselves next to one another leading concurrent seminars, a delightful game of one-upmanship took place. Watch…

The Summit’s First Virtual Performance

Long before Covid, the Presentation Summit dabbled in virtual, as one of our industry’s most prominent spokespeople, Garry Reynolds, lives in Japan.

It was 2010 and we rigged up Skype and the best camera and microphone we could find. It was pretty cool at the time, but now it’s laughable.

Are We Ready to Travel Yet?

You know that saying about the weather? If you don’t like it, wait 15 minutes and it will change? That pretty much sums up how we all feel about business travel in the post-Covid age. Optimistic one week, pessimistic the next. The president says we’ll all be able to get vaccinated by May…optimism. The South African variant will create a new surge…pessimism. Infection rates are trending down…optimism. California cancels vaccines due to shortages…pessimism.

We are not post racial

For the past 40+ years, I have been proud of the wrong thing. I attended a predominantly black high school in a predominantly black neighborhood. I once held a party at my house in which I was the only white kid. As sports editor for the Daily Californian at UC Berkeley, I interacted with many black athletes, and as a young adult, I bore witness to, advocated for, and fought alongside community leaders and policy makers, many of them black, for equal rights and opportunities. As my friend Robert said to me at the time, “you’re blacker than a lot of black people.”

Found in Translation

I have colleagues who specialize in helping people communicate in languages other than their own. I know experts in this field, and I can say without equivocation that I am not one of them. I am pretty good at using words like equivocation in my native tongue, but when it comes to the finer points of communication across cultural divides, well…my daughters would tell you I don’t even know how to speak to millennials.

Leadership Workshop Offers Hope and Optimism

Once a year, I participate in Leadership Santa Clara, a wonderful initiative that many cities (not just Santa Clara) conduct in order to seek out and cultivate local leaders in city government and community endeavors. This six-month program, led by SAE Communications, explores governance, volunteerism, environment, media, health, culture, and business communication with bi-weekly gatherings […]