James Bond’s public speaking lessons

The superspy movie series offers chase scenes, explosions, martinis—and also some good advice for speakers.

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Sometimes New Year’s resolutions have unintended consequences. I started a new exercise program with the usual results—which is to say, nothing much yet—and needed something to while away all those hours on the treadmill. So I began watching all the James Bond movies in order, from the early, cool days of Sean Connery, to the sentimental Roger Moore, through that other guy, then Pierce Brosnan and finally Daniel Craig. More than a half-century and twenty-three official films.

There’s a lot of mayhem. A prodigious tally of explosions, an innumerable body count, and a huge, huge pile of wrecked machinery, including an astonishing number of expensive BMWs, Audis and of course Aston Martins.

All good fun. But what, if anything, did I learn about public speaking while watching Bond save the world, drink his martinis (shaken, not stirred), and finish off so many mad evil geniuses?

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