Best Public Speaking Articles: Weekly Review [2008-09-13]
Every Saturday, we survey the best public speaking articles from throughout the public speaking blogosphere.
Topics featured this week include:
- interview with a world champion speaker;
- speechwriting advice;
- body language for humor;
- images for background visuals;
- conquering fear of public speaking; and
- Toastmasters tips.
Week in Review: Six Minutes
Two articles were featured this week:
- Interview with LaShunda Rundles: 2008 World Champion of Public Speaking
LaShunda answers questions and shares insights about her victory, her speaking career, and her remarkable life story.
- Speech Critiques – McCain, Palin, and the Republican Convention 2008
The key speeches from the Republican convention were featured to balance the earlier review of speeches from Obama and the Democratic convention.
Week in Review: Public Speaking Blogosphere
- Wayne Botha highlights a Patricia Fripp story which demonstrates a key speechwriting lesson: specificity builds credibility.
If I say “On the way to a store, I saw a dog”, then my audience does not know what sort of store I went to, nor the type of dog.
If I relate the story as “On the way to Home Depot, a white poodle barked frantically…” then you have a very clear picture of the store and the dog, just by using words that are specific.
- TJ Walker cautions us against trying to cover too many points in a presentation.
Most presenters think the “real world” choice when it comes to message points is “do I do a thorough, professional job and cover all 70 points or do I do a lazy, half-baked job and only cover five points?”
But I live in the real world and assume you want to as well. In the real world, your choice is “do I communicate five points or do I communicate absolutely nothing at all?”
- John Kinde gives 11 tips to improve your body language when delivering humor.
It’s often a great idea to link a specific gesture to every punch word you use. It will help magnify this important word which sets the laughter in motion
- Garr Reynolds points out the disconnect between the background visuals and the speech text in John McCain’s convention speech.
[W]hen I saw the speech later on TV that night I was puzzled by the odd use of visuals that were projected onto the 52×30-foot screen behind the presidential candidate. […]
MSNBC reported that when asked about the middle school image, McCain’s campaign replied that “it’s simply a generic photo, like others used and it had no specific meaning.” But here’s the rub: images always have meaning, though it may be different from what you intended. The term “generic photo” is just one step away from “clip art,” both of which should be avoided by serious presenters.
- Robert Lane suggests a visual tip for presenters: use more homemade pictures taken with your own camera.
Your pictures may be a little crooked or blurry perhaps, and probably they are not shot from the best angle or at the right time of day. In a visual-expression context, such criteria are trivial. […]
Realistic, everyday imagery helps viewers better understand your world, what you see regularly, or have seen in the past.
- Dave Paradi cautions you against stealing images from websites for your presentation.
Many presenters are under the mistaken impression that they can just copy an image they find using Google Images and use it in their presentation. They are shocked when I tell them that the images are almost always copyrighted and they need permission to use them.
- Olivia Mitchell suggests progressively larger behavioral steps to overcoming fear of public speaking.
Here’s the important thing about the behavioral approach. It’s not about just going out and doing it. You need to take a gradual approach. In psychology this is called systematic desensitization.
- James Feudo offers five tips for successful meetings.
- Start and end on time
- Ask people to turn down their cell phones
- Get back-ups for roles
- Have theme meetings
- Send out reminders prior to the meeting
- There have been two especially intriguing discussions on the Toastmasters Prime newsgroup this past week: