Sex Before Speaking Calms Stage-Fright

Want to keep calm during a speech? Have sex beforehand.

A study by Scottish psychologist Stuart Brody examined the affect of sexual activity prior to stressful activities like giving a speech.  During the study, 50 men and women monitored their sexual activity during a two week period. 

Brody then analyzed the impact on stressful activities like giving a speech.  He found that the subjects that were having regular sexual intercourse felt less stress during and after the stressful event.

“The effects are not attributable simply to the short-term relief afforded by orgasm but rather endure for at least a week,” Brody told New Scientist magazine.

Brody said that the release of the “pair bonding” hormone oxytocin might be the cause the calming effect.

Here’s a Template for Your Valedictory Speech

My post yesterday got me to thinking about whether I could come up with a valedictory speech template. I did a little research, recalled the speeches I’ve heard, and watched a few on YouTube. Good valedictory speeches reflect on high school years, tell stories, and mention lots of names.


Here’s what I came up with. 


My fellow graduates.  Over the last four years here at [Insert name of high school.], we have learned a lot. Mr. [Insert name of math teacher.] taught us how to [Insert a complicated sounding math thing.]. Ms. [Insert name of English teacher.] taught us [Insert interesting tidbit from a favorite piece of literature.]. And Mr. [Insert name of widely known funny, popular teacher.] taught us [Insert something odd that parents might be surprised to learn. For example maybe he taught you how to swear in Portuguese. Or maybe he taught you the best way to approach a girl at a dance. Make it funny but revealing about a beloved teacher.].


And all of this knowledge will no doubt be valuable as we go forward in life. But I think that the most important thing that we have learned over the last four years is [Insert major theme. Keep the theme simple. Good themes include “How to build relationships and rely on each other,” “How to Work Together as a Community,” “How to respect each others differences,” and “How much we need each other to succeed.” Don’t worry if it’s corny. If it’s from the heart, go for it.].


Over the next few minutes, I’d like to talk about what we’ve learned, the people we have to thank, and the people we have to remember. [Notice that you’re setting up a little three-part structure, letting your listeners know where the speech is going.]


I told you that the most important thing that we learned was [Restate the theme.].


Let me give you just a couple of examples of what I’m talking about. [Give three or four quick and fun examples that bring in as many of your classmates’ names as possible. People love hearing their names.  One of the examples might sound like this.  “In ninth grade with our first pizza drive, we raised a lot of money for homecoming.  It was a true team success. John Smith was our pizza baker. Cindy Jones showed us how to track and spend the money. Fred Williams played a critical role in getting people to turn out for the event with his creative posters. And Garth taught us that indeed one person can eat three entire pies in one sitting.”  Give one longer example that is personal.  For example, you might tell about how one of your teachers took an interest in your writing and encouraged you to submit your stories for publication.  Be sure to tell about how you thought the story was really stupid but your teacher disagreed.  Be sure to thank the teacher by calling her out from the audience, asking her to stand and asking the audience to give her a round of applause. Finish the story by telling how this teacher taught you that “Nothing we accomplish is done alone. Rather, we need each other for support and coaching.”]


Next, I’d like to take a moment on behalf of myself and my fellow graduates to thank the people that have brought us here.


 [Pick five or six people to thank. But don’t just give their names. Tell why you’re grateful to them. And in telling why, give anecdotal context.  For example, “I’d like to thank my mother Wendy Johnson, who taught me that if I want to make it to the bus stop on time, I can’t spend 20 minutes checking Facebook.” Or “I’d like to thank my Math teacher, Ms. Jackson, who drilled into my head “Getting the right answer isn’t everything. How you get there is important. So show me your stinking work!”]


Finally, I’d like to take a moment to remember our classmates and teachers who are not with us today.


[Here is where you mention anyone in your school community that died during your years in school. Once again, don’t just give their names. Give their names and then give a personal remembrance. “We all miss our friend Jenny Wilson. She was a wonderful sister and daughter, a great friend, and the best cheerleader on the squad. We also miss our teacher Mr. Carson. Mr. Carson didn’t allow us to show up late in his class. And we loved him for his humor. No one went through his class unchanged for the better.”]


So now we’re high school graduates. And soon we’re going to be signing each others’ yearbooks and saying goodbye. There will be hugs and tears. We’ll do our best to stay in touch. But we’ll be living our lives and doing our best.


As a final thought going forward, I’d like to leave you with a quote from [Insert name of someone you’d like to quote. The best people to quote are people that you’ve personally learned from, like your parents or grandparents.   For example, “My grandfather told me that ‘A high school education is a great thing just as long as you’re willing to learn something after you graduate’.”] 


He said, [Insert final quote.]


Thank you all.


If Your Child is Speaking This Graduation Season

I’ve been asked by my son’s high school to help the speakers at the various graduation ceremonies.  And I’m happy to do it.

Here’s what I’m going to tell them. 

Your audience goes to graduation ceremonies  because they are excited for their kids. They are filled with hope for the future. They want to connect with that sense of hope.

So here’s what you can do to connect.

1. Tell stories.  Think of all the best speeches you’ve ever heard. They all have stories. Don’t give me of platitudes.  Tell me one key thing that you’ve learned. Then tell me a story that illustrates the point.

2.  Don’t read your speech.  Too many students get in front of their classmates with a text and read it.  But when you read your speech, you utterly fail to connect with the audience. If that’s what you’re going to do, then just print it out and send the speech to everyone via email.

3. Speak with passion.  You’re a new graduate!  Sound like one!

4. Practice. If you practice a lot, then you will be able to deliver the presentation despite your anxiety.

5. Have fun.

Repeat Catch Phrases to Make Your Message Stick

If you want to make sure that your message gets through to an audience, considering taking a lesson from the great marketers.  They settle on a catch-phrase and repeat it over and over, hoping to penetrate the public’s mind.

Many great speakers do the same thing.

One of the great recent advertising campaigns is from MasterCard.  Many of you can probably repeat their catch phrase from memory. “There are some things money can’t buy.  For everything else, there’s Mastercard.”

We can remember that message because the MasterCard ads repeat it so often.  And notice that they repeat it the same way every time.

You never hear them say, “There are some things that cash won’t buy you.  For the rest of the stuff, there’s MasterCard.”  No.  It’s the same way every time.  Exact repetition helps the listener remember.

Great speakers do the same thing, focusing on a message and repeating a catch phrase.  One of the most famous is Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech.  He actually had two catch phrases in that speech, “I have a dream” which he said nine times and “Let freedom ring” which he said 10 times.

King wanted to get a message across. So he repeated his key phrases to ensure that they made it into the audience’s mind. And like MasterCard, he repeated the phrases exactly, not changing a single word.  King understood that great speaking is first and foremost about getting a message across to audiences that are often distracted.  Repeating a catch phrase without any changes helps. 

During your presentations, think about using catch phrases.  Maybe it’s as simple as “Our brand is about saving money” or “This program will increase your sales.”  Be sure that you repeat the key phrase the same way several times. That way, you’ll be sure that your message gets across.

Tim Ferris Shows How to Sell and Idea

Here’s a fun, quirky speech from Tim Ferris, the productivity guru who wrote The Four-Hour Workweek.

I like the speech because it shows the power of stories and power of  a plan to sell an idea.  If you give someone  a clear plan for how to accomplish something, then your listeners will get motivated to do that thing.

In this speech, he details simple plans for learning to swim, learning to dance, and learning to speak a language.


What’s Your “Bumper Sticker” Speech?

For many years, much of the marketing world has been focusing on helping companies’ formulate an effective elevator speech.  And that’s fine.

But I want to know your “bumper sticker” speech. 

Here’s mine: “We help clients give presentations that win business.”

What’s yours?

How To Know if You’re the Office Jerk

Do you speak solely in buzzwords?

When you ask questions in meetings, are they preceded by long monologues?

Do you make provocative statements to “foster dialogue” or needle others?

If so you might be the office jerk and not know it, according to a CareerBuilder.Com quiz to determine whether you are an annoying co-worker.  I find the quiz interesting because half of the 20 questions on the quiz involve communication issues.

According to the quiz’s author, Kate Lorenz of, there are some easy things to do to ensure that you’re not the office jerk. 

“Ask your boss and colleagues for feedback and be ready to listen,” writes Lorenz. “If what you hear doesn’t fit your self-image, ask them to help you understand what they are saying by giving examples.  You might say: ‘Tell me more about what I do that leads you to believe that.’ Then listen, without arguing, defending or justifying your actions.”

In working with our clients, we have found that the best way to endear oneself with colleagues is simply to be interested in them. 

Indeed, to our mind, Barbara Walters has the best advice for avoiding being tagged as the office jerk. Said Walters, “The best way to be interesting, is to be interested.”