The day a great communicator died


“The president’s been shot!”

Those words rang out over the playground. It was the afternoon of November 22nd, 1963.  I was a grade 8 student at St. Matthews grade school in Regina, Saskatchewan. It was recess, and we were playing baseball.

Later that day, the world learned the President succumbed to his wounds. We witnessed the images on our black and white TV’s. President Kennedy riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas some 1,600 miles away from me, grasping his throat, Jackie, the First Lady, holding his head. His life cut short.

I was only thirteen years old. While I didn’t truly comprehend the global significance of the event, I did know that my boyhood hero had died. I didn’t understand US politics, but I knew that Jack Kennedy was a man who had something to say, a man to be listened to.

We had lost a man of stirring words

A year before, I recall being stirred by his words, “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”

Back then, what young boy or girl didn’t want to fly to the moon?

A family who speak with clarity, conviction and passion

Both Jack and his brother Bobby, the US Attorney General, (who would also die from an assassin’s bullet in June 1968) spoke with clarity, conviction and passion. A rare quality but one certainly found in the Kennedy family.

I was reminded of their impactful speaking styles when I listened to Joseph Patrick Kennedy III deliver the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union address last week. Joe is Bobby Kennedy’s grandson and Jack Kennedy’s grandnephew. On Tuesday, January 30th, Joe spoke with conviction about keeping their country together and on track. The world listened and they’re still talking about his speech.

How to stand out whenever you speak

I have taught hundreds of people over the past eight years, how to standout whenever they speak. I think most of them, whether entrepreneurs, social activists, bank CEO’s, university presidents, even Olympians and Dragons’ Den contestants, would agree – one does not have to be a Kennedy, talk of (interplanetary) space travel or constitutional unity to influence people.

They would tell you, and I agree, that anyone can develop these critical skills. What they need first is to have something to say that they know their audience will want to listen to and be moved by. It starts with a product, or service, or even just an idea they truly believe in. Then, well organised and delivered, their audience will listen, act and perhaps even become advocates.

My book will help you speak with impact and influence

With encouragement from many friends and clients, I have written a book about standing out whenever you speak. Entitled “PAUSE” it includes all the tips and techniques one needs to speak with impact and influence.


Here’s a link to the first chapter in my book, “Is Anybody Listening?”  I’d be honoured if you gave it a look, and even pass it along to those you think could benefit from PAUSE.