There are tricks in any industry. Watch a Food Network show and you’ll see experts sharing their insights and tips on a multitude of cooking issues. When it comes to improving your skills as an executive with a credit union or bank, there are also tricks. And you can learn these tips from other industries (but maybe not the cooking field).

In his latest free e-book, Dr. Michael Hudson shares 52 Speaking Tricks. These tips are not just for speakers. Every executive, manager or board member at your financial institution can learn several ideas with this quick read.

I had the opportunity to visit with Michael about 52 Speaking Tricks. Below is my Q&A with him.

What can credit union and banking leaders learn from 52 speaking tricks?

Some credit union leaders might have an initial reaction that they don’t need to think about speaking in public because they don’t do it that often. But that’s really not true.

Every time they speak in a meeting, to their team, one-on-one at a conference, or respond to a question from a consumer, they are speaking in public. The things they’ll learn from 52 Speaking Tricks will help them deliver their messages more effectively, and nothing it more important to the growth of a business than consistent, effective use of the leader’s voice.

What are some the favorite tricks from the book?

This is kind of like deciding which of your kids or grandkids is your favorite, but here goes.


  • Speaking Trick #7—Arrive Early…AlwaysNothing impacts your comfort level, engagement, or connection with the audience more than arriving early. You can’t afford to be caught off-guard by strolling in late. All manner of things need to be surveyed – lighting, seating, technology. Arrive at least 45 minutes before you speak and set yourself up for success.
  • Speaking Trick #13—Manage Your Nerves…My take on nerves is that if you aren’t at least a little nervous before every speech, then you probably don’t care enough about the audience. It’s not about impressing them, but it is about sharing the message they need to hear in a way that allows them to hear it. Here’s my quick trick for calming my nerves right before going on stage: Sit or stand quietly and press your right thumb against the palm of your left hand. There is a point in the middle of this palm called the ulnar point. Pressing or massaging that point will relax your body because it goes directly to your heart.
  • Speaking Trick #41—The Power of the Pause…There are few things more powerful than…the pause. Learning to pause—at the right time creates emphasis, builds interest, and makes your audience pay attention. Effective speeches have natural breaks throughout. Avoid over-talking—and utilize pauses to pace your presentation. It also makes you become more comfortable with the silences that others fill with ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ that distract the listener.


You are big on “defining your story.” Why is this so important for financial institutions?

Stories move people at an emotional level and when we are engaged emotionally we work differently. We care, we engage, we question, and we take ownership. We do that because the story helps us see how we are creating an impact through the work we do.

When the leader is committed to sharing the story and moving the team at an emotional and personal level it drives behavior and creates habits that drive the organization toward success. And that is the essence of executing an effective strategy—knowing why you are doing what you are doing and what it looks like when success is achieved.

And the only way you can connect that to people is through storytelling.

You are a strategic planning guru. What is one thing your new e-book teaches about strategic planning?

To some degree learning how to be more effective in speaking is the most important thing any leader can do to ensure the success of the strategic planning process and the execution of the strategy once it is defined. The planning process requires effective presentation, debate, discussion, and deliberation of ideas and possibilities. Being more effective in speaking impacts all of those steps. Execution of the strategy requires focused attention to doing the work that needs to be done and saying no to the things that distract from it. More effective communication and a commitment to consistent communication are key drives of successful execution. Speaking more effectively is one of the most important tools in the leader’s tool box.

Michael is one of those individuals from whom you learn something every time you talk with him or read his materials. 52 Speaking Tricks is a quick read full of valuable information. I highly recommend you and your team download it today.