Here’s my list of bad to beautiful public speaking moments for 2010:

10.  We’ll start with bad:  I’m still amazed that this guy made it onto national news after the viral explosion of his supposed nomination speech at a political event in NE Ohio.  Nonetheless, I’ll chalk it up to good acting as there’s no way someone sober could pull this off.

9.  And this might be worse: the Seize the Day event. I attended out of curiosity and left in disgust.  I knew it was a sales pitch for something.  But what was going to be hidden amongst speeches by notable orators Laura Bush, Nancy Brinker and Bill O’Reilly among a host of others?  A scam of investment tools and classes is all it is.  What a waste of talent and time.

8. Working toward seriously awkward and embarrassing, but not enough to lose her the election.  Governor Jan Brewer’s moment of zen, er, mindwarp during a televised debate.

7.  And on the converse, a way to use silence and pausing to your advantage:  President Obama’s State of the Union.  That is mastery.   (But what does it say that CBS’s YouTube version only had 146K views compared to over 2 million for #9 and #10?  Hmmm.)

6.  Moving onto unique:  I had a chance to interview Chris Anderson, the curator of TED, during a TEDx webinar this year.  I was a co-host of a learning series for TEDx licensees across the world, and this was one of my favorite.   Indeed, all knowledge is connected.

5.  And my favorite reads of the year:  Fierce Conversations where Susan Scott reminds us that every conversation you have is with yourself and on occasion someone else is involved.   I add that every presentation starts with that conversation.

And an oldie but goodie: Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder, a great short read about how to write a screenplay, or of course, any great story.  Relating it to speeches crystalized in my mind how the most compelling talks must have an identifiable hero and villain, even if they aren’t characters or people.

4.  A great graduation talk (yes, that is possible).  Way to mash things up at Harvard with Jimmy Tingle.  Very funny.

3.  My favorite case study.    In the not-quite-done category.  We’re helping an amazingly talented local entrepreneur get ready for her book tour next spring. She’s getting her first “signature” talk and lots of one-on-one preparation to give it.

2.   My favorite learning moment:  Helping my five-year old daughter prepare to give an all- school address (four sentences) in front of 700 kids.  She practiced her heart out and acted like it was no sweat.  Makes me think we learn to be nervous as public speakers, eh?

1.   The tops: Of course, this year’s TEDxColumbus event at CCAD.  Someone said it had great soul.  I would agree, since I got to know all 14 speakers or performers personally.  Each had such deep convictions and focus in their talks.  As a result, the audience was lathered in passion, great ideas, ice cream and indeed, soul.

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