Best Public Speaking Articles: Weekly Review [2008-10-25]
On Saturdays, we survey the best public speaking articles from throughout the public speaking blogosphere here on Six Minutes.
Topics featured include:
- storytelling and archetypes;
- slide design;
- handout design;
- public speaking fear; and
- establishing credibility.
Week in Review: Public Speaking Blogosphere
- Nick Morgan reflects on storytelling and archetypes in a 4-article series. For example, in the 2nd article, he compares storytelling in speeches to three acts of a play.
In either case, think of your stories as having three acts. The first act presents an idea or a situation that will engage the audience … Our customer base has been eroding for the last 16 quarters …
The second act raises the stakes on the earlier idea or situation. … If we have another down quarter, we’re going to have to close manufacturing plants in Chicago and Ohio …
The third act precipitates a resolution, either favorable or unfavorable, by posing a question that must be resolved. … To turn things around, I’m starting a new product line, code name Lemmings, that will excite customers once again and bring them flocking back to our stores.
- Olivia Mitchell references University of Michigan research which shows that bullet-point slides are not effective.
The research shows that multitasking is a human delusion. In fact we switch rapidly from one task to another. One of the reasons for this is that similar tasks compete for use of the brain. …
Applying this to PowerPoint presentations, reading bullet-points and listening to the presenter are conflicting tasks. If a person in your audience is reading a bullet-point they are not listening to you.
- Andrew Abela points out a key advantage with printed handouts rather than using projected slides.
… one of the advantages of a [printed] slide is that it will contain much more information than your typical [projected] slide. Research shows that when more steps in your logic are shown together on one slide, audiences understand your argument better.
- Wayne Botha offers three common excuses to justify poorly defined slides along with a biting rebuttal.
- This slide is busy on purpose.
- I know that you can’t read this slide, but it illustrates my point.
- I won’t go through this now, but you can read it after my presentation.
- Dave Paradi gives three simple tips to help you avoid looking at the screen when you use slides.
- Position your laptop so that you can see it when you are facing the audience.
- Make only one point per slide.
- Rehearse what you are going to present.
- Olivia Mitchell tackles the importance of rehearsing, and provides a summary of common excuses and links to relevant articles.
For me the difference between being good and being great is rehearsal. … But you still don’t rehearse because:
- It’s time consuming
- It makes me feel uncomfortable
- I’ll get stale
- I can get away with winging it
- I’m better when I’m unprepared
- James Feudo argues that public speaking fear can be reduced by shifting your perspective and approach.
If she thought of something as being a speech, she’d panic but the same exact circumstances where she thought of it as a conversation resulted in no stress. So by simply thinking of speeches and presentations as talks or conversations, she could eliminate half of her problem.
- Lisa Braithwaite also advises to stop focusing on the fear, and instead offers several alternative thoughts. For example:
I enjoy watching my early drafts turn into a concrete message.
I enjoy finding out what my audience wants and giving it to them.
- Rhett Laubach answers a question from a client: “How do I deal with feeling the need to establish credibility as a young female with only a few years of experience to her name?” One of his suggestions is to accentuate the positive:
Highlight the positive sides of being younger (while not talking about them in direct terms – i.e. don’t say, here are five reasons why me being born in the 80s is a good thing) and how those traits are of great benefit to the relationship. A few that come to mind are energy, fresh perspectives, willingness to challenge the norm, etc.