Shoes, Booze, and Smooze – The Zappos Way Of Management

You would think that with a title like this that it would a) have nothing to do with public speaking, and b) have nothing to do with running a billion dollar business. The fact is, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh uses all three methods and then some to run his billion dollar empire. Although he is naturally shy and wasn’t a great speaker, he has found ways to become a super-star speaker.

Even though the title of this article really has nothing to do with public speaking, I thought that the article about Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is very interesting. If you read the entire article, you will understand what I am talking about.

The following clips are from an article in the May 2009 issue of Inc. Magazine (written by Max Chafkin) – (

“Every day, he blasts a steady stream of playful messages to 350,000 people on Twitter. (Before taking the stage at a conference earlier this year, he posted this missive: “Spilled Coke on left leg of jeans, so poured some water on right leg so looks like the denim fade.”) He has also become an accomplished public speaker who spends a good chunk of his time on the road giving talks, which are delivered without notes.” [What a great way to recover from what most people would consider a disaster just before speaking. This is one reason why I see Tony as a great speaker – thinking on your feet]

“What most of Hsieh’s admirers — and even some Zappos employees — don’t know is that this openness doesn’t come naturally. Hsieh has been exceptionally shy all his life and finds meeting strangers exhausting. (His trick to get over his shyness is to pretend he’s interviewing you for a job.) Those seemingly off-the-cuff Twitter missives? He spends 10 minutes or so carefully composing each one.”

So you can see that even the most influential business people can come from shy, somewhat fearful beginnings. In Tony’s case, he used the interview method to get over his shyness and help propel him to being able to be a public speaking superstar.

If you get a chance, check out Zappos at

Until next time, speak well.

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