7 things Billy Joel teaches you about public speaking

The man who sings ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ and ‘The Entertainer’ (among other hits) provides important reminders on how to deliver an engaging presentation.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

One night, my friends and I camped out at a Ticketmaster location at a suburban Maryland mall to buy Billy Joel concert tickets as soon as they went on sale. We weren’t alone. The parking lot at Montgomery Mall was swarming with teens eager to see his show (which was great.)

I’ve been a fan of the Piano Man for many years. So I want to have some fun by sharing seven Billy Joel songs—and discussing what they teach you about public speaking.

1. You can make boring topics come alive

In the history of pop music, has an artist ever composed lyrics to a song that included President Eisenhower, “Wheel of Fortune,” and AIDS? Of course not. That song wouldn’t exactly have the makings of a hit. Except for the fact that Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire” mentioned all of those and more, and became a No. 1 hit in 1989.

Next time you hear a speaker complain of having a “boring topic,” remember that they’re probably suffering more from a lack of originality.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.