Articles in category: Speaker Habits

College students come into my classroom not only with a flurry of fears and insecurities, but also with baggage in the form of bad presentation habits they have developed over the years.

My students’ bad habits didn’t happen overnight.  These habits develop through years and years of watching terrible presentations.  While most of us can recognize a terrible presentation, we don’t yet have the tools to make our own presentations great.

In a class called Professional Communication and Presentation, I teach my students how to break their bad habits. These lessons apply to all presenters: teachers, conference presenters, business executives… anyone who has a speech to deliver. Read on to see how you can un-learn these habits, too!

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I first read Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People seven years ago, at a time when I was in a low-confidence slump. I’m so glad that I read it! The book is filled with insights which resonated (and continue to resonate) with me.

While 7 Habits is not specific to speaking, the lessons contained within that book have had a profoundly positive effect on my speaking pursuits. It influenced my decision to start Six Minutes, and I have long planned to devote an article to this book. When I heard about the passing of the author at age 79, I knew the time for this article was now.

Instead of selecting seven (speaking) habits of highly effective speakers, I thought it would be more interesting to discuss what Covey’s seven habits contain for highly effective speakers. In this article, I will briefly introduce each of Covey’s habits, and then discuss how speakers can adopt the lessons to improve their effectiveness as a speaker.

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The year is fast coming to an end, which means it’s time to set goals for the New Year.

Here are five best practices of public speaking that speakers don’t always follow, but should resolve to this year:

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This article is part of the 12 Days of Ask Six Minutes.
This event is over now, but you can send your questions anytime.

To design, prepare, and deliver a great presentation, you’ve got to commit yourself to the task. If you go in half-hearted or, worse, dreading it, your negative attitude will show in the final product.

This is the subject of today’s email from Melissa Cullen:

I’ve been a subscriber since 2010, and Six Minutes has really helped. I have to give presentations about once a month, and I get compliments on them now. However, every time another presentation gets scheduled, I’m filled with dread about having to speak, yet again. Does this feeling of apathy ever go away? What can I do to get rid of the speaking blues?

In this article, we’ll look at how to adopt a positive mindset about speaking.

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This article is part of the 12 Days of Ask Six Minutes.
This event is over now, but you can send your questions anytime.

Moses Cherrington asks:

Is there a most common problem associated with public speaking, according to your point of view and experience in public speaking?

There is, sadly, an abundance of common problems which afflict speakers. In this article, we’ll focus on three of the worst which sabotage many speakers.

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This article is part of the 12 Days of Ask Six Minutes.
This event is over now, but you can send your questions anytime.

Have you ever thought about the foods and beverages that can improve or degrade your speaking performance?

Do you have any good luck foods that you consume before speaking? How about a food or beverage you avoid?

Gonzalo Diaz asks this delicious question:

A month ago, I attended a conference where one of the speakers left for five minutes right in the middle of his talk. He apologized, saying it was something he ate.

I had never given much thought to it before. Do you have a list of foods that you avoid before speaking, or any foods that give you extra energy?

In this article, we’ll consider what you should — and shouldn’t — eat and drink for maximum speaking effectiveness.

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This article is part of the 12 Days of Ask Six Minutes.
This event is over now, but you can send your questions anytime.

Imagine that you’ve spent weeks preparing your presentation supporting the construction of a new community center. You’ve got wonderfully persuasive material, and you’ve prepared a concise 1-page handout summarizing your arguments.

The only thing you didn’t plan was when to distribute the handout. At the beginning? At the end? In the middle? Or does it matter?

Kevin Wortman writes:

A vexing issue for presentations seems to frequently center on whether to hand out hard copy materials before or after the presentation. Even Toastmasters have expressed a desire to have materials at the start of a presentation to help them understand the subject, however, we know the danger of distraction for hard copy materials in-hand during a presentation. So is it simply situation specific or is there a general rule to follow regarding hard copy information hand-outs prior to or after a presentation? Thanks.

In this article, we will examine the timing of giving handouts to your audience and how it impacts your presentation.

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This article is part of the 12 Days of Ask Six Minutes.
This event is over now, but you can send your questions anytime.

Suit or sweater?

Pants or a dress?

Does how you dress impact your effectiveness as a speaker? If so, how?

Eric Hudon (@erichudonca) asks this on Twitter:

@6minutes How should a speaker dress and in what circumstance? Casual, Formal, Other? What is to be avoided?

In this article, we examine clothing do’s and don’ts for public speakers.

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You probably don’t think there’s much of a comparison between you and Mickey Mouse.

Yet this cultural icon has many lessons for you to improve your effectiveness as a speaker.

In this article, we examine eight key speaking insights that speakers can learn from Disneyland and the entire Disney entertainment empire.

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Have you ever thought about the relationship between time and public speaking?

On the surface, you engage your audience second by second, stringing together words into sentences that, over the duration of your presentation, may last minutes or perhaps hours.

Yet, the impact of your speaking experiences may last days, weeks, months, or even years — for you and for those in your audiences.

In this article, we examine time scales ranging from a tenth of a second to hundreds of years, and consider how each of these scales is relevant to you as a speaker.

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The act of speaking in public and the process of improving one’s speaking skills are wrought with conflicting emotions, exhilarating highs, and frustrating lows.

There are times when applause makes you think you’re the greatest speaker in the world, and there are times when the silence of the audience makes you want to crawl into a hole.

In short, the mental game for speaking in public is a jumble of thoughts, experiences, and emotions.

In this article, we apply the wisdom of the Six Thinking Hats to provide a framework for sorting out this jumble and gaining useful perspectives which can help us improve.

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