Best Public Speaking Articles: Weekly Review [2008-09-20]
Every Saturday, we survey the best public speaking articles from throughout the public speaking blogosphere.
Topics featured this week include:
- storytelling tips;
- eliminating crutch phrases;
- a slide makeover;
- tips for presenting to small audiences; and
- negative self-talk for speakers.
Week in Review: Public Speaking Blogosphere
- Ali explains the eight keys to writing a story (from Nigel Watts’ Writing a Novel) which is a solid guide for speechwriting too.
- The quest
- Critical choice
- Looking for an online speechwriting course? Pete Ryckman has just launched one:
Speechwriting 101 is not a three-day training seminar. It’s not a standard, butts-in-seats, classroom course. Instead, every student gets customized and individualized assignments and detailed, in-depth feedback from me during our weekly phone conversations.
- Lisa Braithwaite challenges you to eliminate your crutch phrase(s).
A crutch phrase can be a cliché, like “At the end of the day,” or it can just be a filler that doesn’t add anything to the conversation or presentation, like “Anyway….” Or in my case, “Right?”
- Andrew Abela advocates turning off the projector [17-page PDF] when presenting to small audiences.
Success in presentation […] comes in large part from matching the appropriate presentation style to the situation, and particularly to the size of the audience.
The kind of slide […] with few words and appealing, relevant graphics, projected on a screen, is an example of a Ballroom style presentation. Ballroom style presentations are highly appropriate for informing or entertaining large audiences, such as those gathered in a hotel ballroom.
The requirements for persuading smaller audiences (details, interaction, no distractions) call for a Conference Room style presentation. Conference Room style presentations tend to contain lots of details on each slide, the slides are printed, not projected, and every slide must pass the squint test.
- Two of my favorite personalities in the speaking blogosphere — Guy Kawasaki (launched speaking.alltop.com at my request) and Nancy Duarte (recently featured in a Six Minutes interview) — hooked up to provide an insightful before-and-after slide makeover. The team at Duarte Design analyzed and proposed a revision of one of Guy’s slide decks about innovation.
- TJ Walker reminds us that the only way to know if the presentation “worked” is to ask the audience whether they remember the key point(s).
If you want to know if your presentation works, all you have to do is ask people who listened to you what they remember. If they remember what you wanted them to, your presentation worked. If they don’t remember what you wanted them to, it didn’t work. Please keep in mind that if your audience doesn’t remember your message, it is never their problem or their fault; it’s your problem and it’s your fault.
- Olivia Mitchell proposes eight forms of negative self-talk which speakers should strive to eliminate.
- My presentation must go perfectly
- I must be interesting and engaging
- I must not forget anything
- I must know more about the topic than anyone in the audience
- I must be able to answer every question
- I must not show any sign of nerves
- It will be a disaster if I can’t get the datashow to work
- My mind will go blank, I’ll go red and I’ll die of humiliation
- Jeff Bailey offers advice which may seem counterintuitive: Don’t put Toastmasters on your resume.
When you put Toastmasters on your resume you are setting the expectation that you are a good speaker. If you are, that is fine. If you aren’t then you are about to give the impression that you can’t learn to speak.