Friday, February 16, 2018

Famous Speech Friday: Lillian Gilbreth on the human side of automation

Today, when people are fretting about Amazon putting robots in place of cashiers at Whole Foods, and voice assistants are common productivity tools, we are still using the principles of humanizing automation that were first advanced by psychologist, engineer, and famous mom Lillian Gilbreth.

With her husband Frank, she embarked on "motion study"--the movements and micro-motions we make in doing any task--but her emphasis always was on the human aspect of making movement more efficient. Her insights led to many things we take for granted, from shelves inside refrigerator doors to step-on levers that lift the lids of trash cans, among many others, and helped major companies make their assembly-line production more efficient and cost-effective. I could make a case for calling her a pioneer in UX, the user experience.

Gilbreth had 12 children with her husband, famously captured by two of her children in the book Cheaper by the Dozen. At home, the children were a testbed for ideas, learning languages and doing chores using motion study. But when Frank Gilbreth died unexpectedly, Lillian had to expand her range to include more public speaking. In Belles on Their Toes, the sequel to Cheaper by the Dozen, the book begins with her departure for Europe, just days after her husband's death. She was headed to two major engineering meetings where he had committed to speak.
She had been invited to substitute for him at the two sessions. At first, it seemed out of the question to accept. And then it seemed to be the one opportunity of keeping the family together. Engineering was, and still is, a man's field. Mother knew there would be difficulties in trying to continue Dad's business. But if she made a success of her two speeches in Europe, before some of the biggest engineers in the world, she might have an easier time in convincing Dad's clients that she could do the work.
It was a case of public speaking helping to establish her reputation in her own right. And it worked. After she began speaking, major companies--Macy's department stores, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, and more--hired her to advise them, and the family consulting business continued.

Considered the "first lady of engineering," and the first person to get a degree in industrial psychology, Gilbreth became a frequent and in-demand speaker throughout her long life. In 1957, when she was 79, she keynoted the national conference of the Society of Women Engineers, speaking on "The Human Side of Automation." And her message to engineers still works today:
There are two things it seems to me engineering groups have to offer when when any type of problem comes up and one is the code of ethics which we all share. It’s a very simple code stated in the beginning as being our responsibility “to do our best to utilize the resources of nature for the benefit of mankind.” I suppose the people who first worded the code thought it was self-evident that the resources of nature would include the resources of human nature, but some people didn’t seem to recognize that and so the code was expanded. And now it reads “to utilize the resources of nature and of human nature for the benefit of mankind.” And there you see we have human being really emphasized twice. First, as being an enormous resource and second, as being the reason for, the cause why we are using these resources at all. 
And surely if there ever was a time when we needed to go on record not only as a profession, but as a people that we believe these resources should be used and should be used for benefit of mankind and not the harm of mankind, this is the time. And the other thing we have to offer, of course, is the scientific method. The questioning method. Not the kind of question, the Socratic kind, which we ask because we’re trying to show that somebody doesn’t know very much. Not even the legal type of question. But the simple question that a child asks when he really is intellectually curious and he wants to know the answer and he’s intelligent enough to listen to what is said. So I think we have those two things to offer and as we look at these challenges which are coming to everybody, perhaps we see as we put the question to ourselves that we do have a special responsibility.
What can you learn from this famous speech?
  • A lifetime of public speaking experience can start anytime: Gilbreth was in her mid-40s when her husband's sudden death forced her into public speaking. She was in her mid-90s when she died, and as this speech shows, she was a speaker for nearly half her life, a good four to five decades, despite her "late start."
  • Don't be a one-trick pony: Gilbreth pursued both automation and psychology because she was fascinated by both. That meant that, when technology became an issue at odds with humans, whether on the factory floor or in the broader society, she was equipped to talk about both in a meaningful way. You can do the same with your specialty by finding a way to broaden your expertise to another realm, and then combine the two in your speaking. It will expand your utility as a sought-after speaker.
  • Speaking to others in your profession? Take them to higher ground: Much of Gilbreth's expertise was in the weeds, the details and micro-details of how people move, behave, and think about tasks. But in this speech to colleagues, she took them back to the noble goals of the profession. Your professional conference isn't just a place for hands-on learning, but if you're the keynote speaker, taking the audience to a higher place and making them think is part of the job.
You can go here to listen to the audio recording of the keynote. And here's a short video summary of her accomplishments:

(Rutgers University archive photo of Gilbreth in 1921, three years before her husband's death.)

Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

African-American Folktales: New resource for storytellers

If you're looking for a gift to mark Black History Month, look no further: The Annotated African American Folktales is a treasure trove for storytellers who want to draw on African and African-American folktales. More than 100 examples are collected and annotated here by a stellar pair of experts: Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a scholar of African and African-American research, and Maria Tatar, who studies folklore and fairy tales. (You can read more about their unusual collaboration in this New York Times review.)

Each author provides an introduction that's a short course in how to approach these tales appropriately. They include in the collection now-controversial versions of African-American tales created by Walt Disney and others, since they, too, are now part of the canon. And they discuss how modern authors like Toni Morrison have adapted some of the African and African-American folktales in more modern work.

2018 is shaping up already as a great year for books with useful resources for speechwriters and public speakers interested in good storytelling. Be sure to add this volume to your bookshelf.

Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Eloquent Woman's weekly speaker toolkit

I read a lot about women and public speaking, and post my finds first on The Eloquent Woman on Facebook. But I always collect them here for you on Mondays as well. Here's what I've been reading lately:
  • Did you miss? This week, the blog looked at  and Famous Speech Friday shared a speech by 
  • About the quote:
Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Famous Speech Friday: Ashton Applewhite's TED talk "Let's stop ageism"

Writer Ashton Applewhite has made ageism her target with the This Chair Rocks blog and Yo, is this ageist? blog. And in her 2017 TED talk, she made a call to action to the audience, since, as she made clear from the start, older is what everyone in the room is going to become.

This is a polished, well-paced, often funny TED talk that not only walked the audience through contradictory ideas we share about aging, but modeled the very behavior Applewhite was encouraging. But the core of the talk is its logical arguments. Applewhite busts myths about aging, offers alternative data, and compares, effectively, ageism to other forms of discrimination. Here's the centerpiece of her speech:
Older people can be the most ageist of all, because we've had a lifetime to internalize these messages and we've never thought to challenge them. I had to acknowledge it and stop colluding. "Senior moment" quips, for example: I stopped making them when it dawned on me that when I lost the car keys in high school, I didn't call it a "junior moment." 
I stopped blaming my sore knee on being 64. My other knee doesn't hurt, and it's just as old. 
We are all worried about some aspect of getting older, whether running out of money, getting sick, ending up alone, and those fears are legitimate and real. But what never dawns on most of us is that the experience of reaching old age can be better or worse depending on the culture in which it takes place. It is not having a vagina that makes life harder for women. It's sexism.
It's not loving a man that makes life harder for gay guys. It's homophobia. And it is not the passage of time that makes getting older so much harder than it has to be. It is ageism. When labels are hard to read or there's no handrail or we can't open the damn jar, we blame ourselves, our failure to age successfully, instead of the ageism that makes those natural transitions shameful and the discrimination that makes those barriers acceptable. You can't make money off satisfaction, but shame and fear create markets, and capitalism always needs new markets. Who says wrinkles are ugly? The multi-billion-dollar skin care industry. Who says perimenopause and low T and mild cognitive impairment are medical conditions? The trillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry. 
The more clearly we see these forces at work, the easier it is to come up with alternative, more positive and more accurate narratives. Aging is not a problem to be fixed or a disease to be cured. It is a natural, powerful, lifelong process that unites us all.
And a word about Applewhite's outfit: It's got lots of interesting detail in the top, which we are able to see because it is not black. I can't tell you how many TED talks I've seen where the gorgeous dressmaker details cannot be seen--either in the hall by the live audience, or on camera--because the speaker didn't listen to instructions not to wear black. Not a problem here.

What can you learn from this famous speech?
  • You don't need a personal story to give a TED talk: This talk is all about the data and logic, not about a well-crafted personal story. Yes, Applewhite includes some personal perspective here and there--see her knees, above--but this is a great example of an effective, story-less TED talk.
  • Tone is everything: Applewhite tackles a topic no one likes to discuss, and which provokes a lot of anxiety. But her delivery is direct and non-anxious, well-paced but not frenetic. She's modeling the tone she hopes we'll take in discussing aging in a forthright manner, a great job for your talks about controversial topics to take on.
  • A strong call to action is essential for a talk where you've layered on the data and logic. What should we do now that we know all this. Applewhite doesn't waste the moment, making a clear call to action in this convincing talk.
You can see the talk here or below.


Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Manal al-Sharif on women speaking up in Saudi Arabia

Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening is the new book from Manal Al-Sharif, the Saudi woman who got the world's attention by breaking her country's ban on women driving cars with a YouTube video.

Now a resident of Australia, Al-Sharif is on a book tour and was interviewed recently by NPR's Terry Gross on Fresh Air. Many of her comments touched on her motivation for speaking up, the forces that prevent women from doing so, and the penalties for outspoken women.

From the transcript, after describing egregious discrimination against women, Al-Sharif said:
AL-SHARIF: So these things really make you speak up. Most people inside are too afraid to speak up because the backlash from the society and from the government is unbearable. We live in one of the last absolute monarchies in the world. Men and women don't have political or civil rights. So imagine someone comes and asks for their civil rights. 
The backlash is really huge. You get harassed. You get banned from leaving the country, which as we call it the internal exile. You lose your job. You cannot land a job after that, which was the case with me when I left my job. So the price - the personal price you pay is really high. And they make sure that everyone knows, so they don't follow you. They don't walk in your path.
Later in the interview, she spoke again about the price of speaking up:
GROSS: Are you going back to Saudi Arabia anytime in the near future? 
AL-SHARIF: Yes, of course. I have my son there. So after the tour, right away I'm going back to Saudi. 
GROSS: Are you worried? 
AL-SHARIF: Hopefully I don't get arrested. I I'm always worried. Every time I go to Saudi Arabia, I'm always worried because it's never - you never know when you get arrested again for a tweet or a retweet or something you said in an interview like what I'm doing now with you, something that slipped. 
So you have to always have this filter going on the whole time you talk. Can I say this or not? Will this get me in trouble or not? Because at the end of the day, I always think I'm going back to Saudi. I have to - I want to see my son. So it's tricky.
Read more about Al-Sharif's driving campaign and the speech that brought it to the world in our Famous Speech Friday post about her.

Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Eloquent Woman's weekly speaker toolkit

I read a lot about women and public speaking, and post my finds first on The Eloquent Woman on Facebook. But I always collect them here for you on Mondays as well. Here's what I've been reading lately:

Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Friday, February 2, 2018

For #BlackHistoryMonth, 50 famous speeches by black women

Black women speakers from all over the world are often featured in The Eloquent Woman Index of Famous Speeches by Women. Whether African, American or from elsewhere in the world, they make up close to 20 percent of the speeches we've collected and featured so far. And every year, this expanding collection of speeches by black women is the most-read post on the blog! Check out the 50 famous speeches from the Index given by black women speakers, arranged in chronological order from 1851 to the present. At the links, you will find (where available) video, photos, transcripts or texts, along with what you can learn from these speeches to improve your own public speaking:
  1. Sojourner Truth's 1851 speech "Ain't I a Woman?" is oft-quoted, but has a disputed source, illustrating why it's often tough to find famous women's speeches. In this case, that happened because Truth could neither read nor write. That doesn't detract at all from her message about equality for all women of all races. Read Soujourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman" Speech: A Primary Source Investigation for more about the many versions of this speech, only one of which contains the most-quoted phrase.
  2. Mary Ann Shadd Cary's 1858 "Break Every Yoke" defied the norms against women--and black women especially--speaking in public. This sermon demonstrates why she was such a popular antislavery speaker in the years leading up to the American Civil War.
  3. Harriet Tubman's 1859 fable about colonizing slaves tackled one of the proposals to end slavery--by sending American slaves to Africa--with a simple story anyone could remember and repeat. It brought the house down at an antislavery rally.
  4. Ida B. Wells's 1909 "This Awful Slaughter" busted the myth that women's safety was the reason lynchings were carried out, and used a mix of data and defiance to fight against the practice of mob killings of black men. Read the book To Tell the Truth Freely: The Life of Ida B. Wells to learn more about her campaign.
  5. Josephine Baker at the March on Washington shares the brief remarks of the lone woman to share the program with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and scores of other male speakers. Those who thought of her as a notorious showgirl learned more about her self-enforced exile to France as a way of seeking racial equality.
  6. Fannie Lou Hamer's 1964 convention committee testimony failed to gain her a seat at that convention, but succeeded in raising the visibility of violence against blacks attempting to register to vote. Four years later, she became an historic convention delegate. You can read more about her public speaking in The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer: To Tell It Like It Is.
  7. Coretta Scott King's 1968 "10 Commandments on Vietnam" -- a speech she gave in her husband's place, just weeks after his assassination -- took scribbled notes found in his pockets and made them into a powerful call to action. Desert Rose: The Life and Legacy of Coretta Scott King is a recent biography. This post was our very first Famous Speech Friday entry!
  8. Shirley Chisholm introducing the Equal Rights Amendment in 1969 wasn't a first. This member of Congress was re-introducing the legislation, 40 years after it was first proposed--and did so in her usual fiery and forthright style.
  9. Shirley Chisholm's contested debate time during the 1972 presidential election campaign came after she was shut out of network television debates, and sued--creating a precedent that helps women candidates even today.
  10. Barbara Jordan's 1976 Democratic convention keynote broke barriers for women and for blacks in one speech, suggesting that "the American Dream need not be deferred." It's loaded with elegant rhetoric and is a wonderful listen, thanks to Jordan's vocalizing skills. A Private Woman in Public Spaces: Barbara Jordan's Speeches on Ethics, Public Religion, and Law takes a focused look at the speeches of one of America's most eloquent women.
  11. Anita Hill's 1981 Senate testimony about Clarence Thomas disrupted the Senate confirmation hearings of the then-nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, leveling sexual harrassment allegations against him that ultimately did not prevent his appointment to the court. "It would have been more comfortable to remain silent," she said in this televised testimony that stunned viewers and brought harrassment into the open as an issue. In Speaking Truth to Power, she tells her story.
  12. Maya Angelou's 1995 poem, "Phenomenal Woman," often delivered by her and others as a speech, summed up for me and many others what made this frequent speaker so special. Listen closely to her charming delivery.
  13. Angelou's 2006 eulogy for Coretta Scott King might be any eulogy from one close friend for another, as Angelou tells stories about the civil rights icon that only a girlfriend would know. This is a lovely, simple and moving tribute.
  14. Edwidge Danticat's 2007 testimony on death in detention gave the novelist a gripping real-life story to tell, about her uncle's treatment at the hands of U.S. immigration and customs officials when he was held in detention. It's moving, direct and powerful, just like her fictional writings. You can read more about this dramatic story in her book Brother, I'm Dying.
  15. Rep. Gwen Moore's 2011 floor speech on abortion rights and family planning came during a debate about federal funding for family planning. She chose to use her status as a member of Congress to share a personal perspective as a former teenage mother.
  16. Michelle Obama's 2011 speech to young African women leaders took place in a powerful setting, and used that visual reminder to call these young women to action. Michelle Obama: Speeches on Life, Love, and American Values collects speeches of our current First Lady, preserving the legacy of a frequent speaker.
  17. Viola Davis's 2011 awards acceptance speech, "What keeps me in the business is hope," went far beyond the usual platitudes and confronted what it's like to be a black actress in the movie industry. An eloquent extemporaneous speech.
  18. Chimamanda Adichie's "we should all be feminists," a 2012 TEDxEuston talk, has inspired pop icons and women and men around the world with its frank, funny, and fierce viewpoint.
  19. Michelle Obama's 2012 Democratic National Convention speech follows a formula for memorable speeches recommended by President John F. Kennedy's speechwriter, Ted Sorensen. And it worked with today's audiences, garnering more than 28,000 tweets per second from those who watched it.
  20. Viola Davis's 2012 commencement speech is titled "Go out and live!" It's a stunning example of what you can do with a tired speaking format, and is like no college commencement speech you've ever endured. Perhaps my favorite line: "The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you discover why you were born."
  21. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's 2013 Harvard commencement speech shared the dreams and roadblocks in the Liberian president's stellar career. She says, "If your dreams do not scare you, they're not big enough."
  22. Essie Washington-Williams's 2013 "I feel completely free" told the world a secret she'd kept most of her life: She was the daughter of a black woman and Senator Strom Thurmond, a white segregationist who campaigned against civil rights.
  23. Joyce Banda's tribute to Nelson Mandela at his memorial service in 2013 wasn't a remarkable text--until the Malawi president went off-script and put in the color and creativity she got in part from her mentor.
  24. Myrlie Evers-Williams's invocation at President Obama's second inaugural in 2013 marked the first time the invocation at the ceremony was given by a woman, and by someone other than a member of the clergy. The widow of assassinated civil rights activist Medgar Evers summoned the spirits of the leaders of that movement to witness the day's proceedings. Read more about her story in her memoir Watch Me Fly: What I Learned on Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be.
  25. Leymah Gbowee's 2013 Barnard commencement speech had the Liberian Nobel laureate urging women to "step out of the shadows" and get more credit for their work.
  26. Gabourey Sidibe's speech at the 2014 Gloria Awards used an iconic photo of her aunt and Gloria Steinem to honor Steinem, and to talk about being confident despite how she's taunted because of her weight.
  27. Michelle Obama's eulogy for Maya Angelou in 2014 echoed words from "Phenomenal Woman" and told how the poet inspired her as a child.
  28. Kerry Washington spoke in 2014 on the risks of public speaking for women and women of color, admitting she'd turned down the chance to give a TED talk in an award acceptance speech.
  29. Rashema Melson's 2014 high school valedictory speech made headlines because the speaker overcame homelessness to graduate at the top of her class and get into Georgetown. A short, fierce, fantastic speech.
  30. Laverne Cox gave a 2014 keynote on transgender activism for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force meeting, offering inspiration and encouragement to local activists.
  31. Lupita Nyong'o used a 2014 acceptance speech at a Hollywood luncheon to talk about the conflicting views we have about black women and beauty in a revealing, resonant talk.
  32. Viola Davis's 2014 acceptance speech focused on hungertaking a Hollywood audience to the dumpsters where she dived for food as a child, and speaking abou the importance of public speaking to shed light on so-called "unspeakable" issues. A riveting short speech.
  33. Shonda Rhimes's "You are not alone" speech at the Human Rights Campaign Fund awards in 2015 expanded on one of her favorite themes: It's not "diversity," it's reflecting what is normal that makes her work inclusive.
  34. Keila Banks's "Undefinable Me" was the 13-year-old's keynote at a major tech conference, where she put the lie to common perceptions of who is and is not technically adept.
  35. Viola Davis brought the house down at the 2015 Emmy Awards, where she captured the first best actress in a drama award for a black woman, with an acceptance speech that left no doubt about the importance and weight of that moment.
  36. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche calls likability a barrier to authentic storytelling, a message she gave to young girls in 2015 that should resonate with every eloquent woman.
  37. Linda Cliatt-Wayman closed the 2015 TEDWomen conference with this powerful message about education in troubled schools, prompted by a moment when she was interrupted mid-speech by a student.
  38. Rep. Terri Sewell's remarks at the 2015 anniversary of the civil rights march on Selma, Alabama, in 1965, shared her perspective as a living marker of progress--she grew up there, and now represents the city in the U.S. Congress. And she made President Obama laugh during her remarks, always a plus.
  39. Lupita Nyong'o keynoted a 2015 women's conference and talked about following her fears--including a fear of giving that very keynote. The speech demonstrates just what you can accomplish when you follow her lead.
  40. Viola Davis's "Everything should be spoken," another 2015 awards acceptance speech, advocated that we should be speaking about "the unspeakable" and normalizing it.
  41. Queen Latifah used her 2016 Screen Actors Guild award acceptance to encourage others who don't fit society's lens to define themselves and "keep fighting for it" in a short, strong speech which also saw her use her award statuette as a barbell, briefly.
  42. Nancy Hanks on the student she expelled was a tale told to a convention of educators, a tale of unconscious bias and second chances.
  43. Michelle Obama's 2016 Democratic convention speech, in which she referred to the White House as "a house built by slaves," contained many lines quoted again and again, including, "When they go low, we go high."
  44. Beyoncé's speech on racism and fashion schooled the fashion designers awarding her "icon" status with the story of why her family made her performance outfits: Because every design house had turned down the opportunity.
  45. Michelle Obama's "enough is enough" speech on misogyny was among the most electric speeches given in the 2016 presidential campaign. She said out loud things that women experience every day.
  46. Viola Davis's introduction of Meryl Streep at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards ceremony was like a five-minute TED talk: Direct, funny, thoughtful, and not your usual introduction fare. Well worth a study.
  47. Viola Davis accepts an historic Oscar: She talked about storytelling, gave you a good example of how to thank people, and did it so well the host joked she should get an Emmy Award for the speech.
  48. Gwen Ifill on policy, politics, and leadership is just one more example of why we miss this journalist, who died too soon. 
  49. Rep. Maxine Waters's "reclaiming my time" became a part of the vocabulary women need to develop in discourse--and a rallying cry.
  50. Sen. Kamala Harris's silenced Senate questions was a particularly egregious example of interruption and attempts to silence women, handled well by the new Senator.
Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Let a doctor (and frequent speaker) explain why you need a coach

There's a great recent TED talk from physician, bestselling author, and frequent speaker Atul Gawande that makes a great case for getting a coach--and in the process of giving this talk, Gawande tackles directly a barrier I face when working with highly trained individuals: They think they've been taught everything they need to know to figure out on their own what they need to know.

In other words, they react poorly to the idea they need to be coached or taught new skills, particularly the ones they diminish by calling them "soft" skills. You know, like public speaking. Trouble is, few of them have ever learned the skills involved in public presentations and speechmaking.

As a physician, Gawande notes in his talk, he and his colleagues have been taught that "A professional is someone who is capable of managing their own improvement." But, he, notes, "Now, the contrasting view comes out of sports. And they say "You are never done, everybody needs a coach." Everyone. The greatest in the world needs a coach."

After thinking about his own work as a surgeon, Gawande concluded, "Turns out there are numerous problems in making it on your own. You don't recognize the issues that are standing in your way or if you do, you don't necessarily know how to fix them. And the result is that somewhere along the way, you stop improving." So he got a coach--a surgeon-as-coach. And he offers numerous other examples, from medicine and other fields, of situations that went well (or not) when coaching was applied (or not).

As a coach myself, I often reach for lessons from other coaches in many fields. That's why I'm reading basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's memoir, Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court. He recalls being at the White House ceremony to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom along with luminaries like Robert Redford, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Bruce Springsteen:
I looked down the line of the wonderfully successful people on either side of me and wondered if each of them had a Coach Wooden, who, to quote President Obama, "helped make me who I am." I hoped so, because without Coach, my life would have been so much less. Less joyous. Less meaningful. Less filled with love.
Jabbar notes that Coach Wooden focused players on the activity at hand, not the outcome. It's a great lesson for public speakers as well.

Take a look at Gawande's exploration of coaching, and if you want to improve your speaking skills, get in touch with me at eloquentwoman AT gmail DOT com. Watch the video below or here:

Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.