Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson appeared on Harry Connick Jr.’s show to be asked about celestial matters by the host and by two 6-year olds..

What is it about Mr. Tyson that is so spellbinding that no one can get enough of him? That he can explain a complicated subject so clearly? I wish more of my CEO clients developed such a powerful delivery.

Tyson explained how black holes work, what they are and what would happen to you if you fell into one (it isn’t good): you would suffer “spaghettization (you can look it up on Wikipedia).”


Some observations:

  • He puts himself in the mind of the listener: what do they really want to know? How much is enough? What references do they have that might help them understand?
  • He translates what he knows into simple, understandable concepts
  • He uses physical images people “get”
  • He chooses memorable language
  • He uses humor and self-deprecation
  • He conveys his own excitement in the telling
  • He humbly makes clear his own journey from ignorance to understanding
  • And I suspect that he practices delivery on a range of subjects

To do what Tyson does, you must be extremely expert and in command of your subject from concept to key details. And you must adapt the list above.

I am still searching for a video copy of his appearance on Connick, but you can find Tyson on Youtube.  For example:




And you may enjoy his response to a heckler who doubted his physical abilities:

That’s just my view. What’s yours?


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