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June 28, 2011


Al Pittampalli

You nailed it Garr. If you look up the word authenticity in the dictionary, there's a picture of Mr. Cosby. From his sitcom, to his stand up, to his speeches, he brings himself (and his personal experiences) to us, in a way that we feel like we've known him forever. Instant trust, instant emotional connection.

Sam Thatte

I have always enjoyed watching Bill Cosby deliver! His knack of using his voice to create drama is amazing. Thank you for this post, Garr. It was great to watch the 2007 keynote. Especially liked the lesson at 18:00. Very inspiring: Be yourself.

John Millen

Great post, Garr. This reflects the attribute that is key for Cosby--his authenticity. Whether one agrees with his philosophy or not, you know that he is sincere and will speak his truth, in his career and his life.

Doug Pratt

Thanks for sharing this inspirational post. It appears that Dr. Cosby doesn't have any notes as he is giving the graduation address, which further reinforces the importance of using stories: it's your life so you don't need notes!


Digging out some of these old Bill Cosby moments was great! Sometimes it can be so hard to think of personal anecdotes to emphasise your point.
I often encourage speakers to think through the 'common' parts of their life because great anecdotes are often lurking there. Has something happened at work that you can use as an example? Have your kids ever...? Have you ever observed someone doing...? When you start thinking of really specific parts of your life the examples and anecdotes become a lot easier to remember and refine.


I really enjoyed on learning about how to build a good storytelling. Thank you from Spain.


Thanks so much for this post ... I hadn't seen all of the videos before, AND Bill Cosby is my favorite storyteller!

Sean D'Souza

The cool part about the stories aren't that they're just stories, but how Bill is using a concept of connectors. Notice how he brings out a 'visual prop' e.g. the drum sticks with the blue tips. And then he works that visual prop over and over again, until it becomes not just an anchor, but in Bill's case, a very funny crescendo.

The other factor he uses very often is what I call the 'rollercoaster'. So he's not just telling a story. The story goes up and down. And up and down. So when you listen to the story where he's talking about the time he doubted himself, he's going from being super confident and super cool to feeling like he's not really that hot when he sees those photos on the wall. Then he drives home that fear, building it all the time (into a downward spiral).

And it loops and yanks you along because you have no clue what's going to happen next. And then up comes the rollercoaster again. Now he comes good on the second show without realising what's happening. But Bill's carefully pulling the audience along with the way in which the story goes up or down. And he's also using very clear visual cues to keep you connected to the story all the time.

The sounds also form part of his repertoire, actually giving the audience an insight that they might not have had.

All in all, the masterful story telling has a ton of elements that make it superb.

And thanks for those videos, Garr. I had a blast listening to them on a rather cold winter's day here in New Zealand.

Romantische Ideen

thanks for the great story. Mr. Cosby is one of my favorite actors since my childhood.


I agree. It's important to engage with the audience and it becomes a very broken relationship when the speaker continues to look away.


Bill Cosby has been on television for so long, usually in rather silly sitcoms or commercials for Jello, it's easy to forget that he used to be funny


Bill Cosby is probably the funniest man that ever lived. He has so many clean jokes, nobody can be funny and clean anymore.

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