Article Category: Weekend Reviews

Best Public Speaking Articles: Weekly Review [2008-06-07]

Week In ReviewEvery Saturday, we survey the best public speaking articles from throughout the public speaking blogosphere.

Topics featured this week include:

  • the value of videotaping yourself;
  • choosing between a slow or fast speech opening;
  • using simple language;
  • dealing with hecklers;
  • choosing appropriate images; and
  • a pair of articles examining the three Presidential candidate speeches from last week.

Week in Review: Public Speaking Blogosphere

Public Speaking Blogs

In fact, had you asked me what I was going to do about my annoying habit, I innocently would have asked what annoying habit? Until I watched the videotape. OMG. Forty-three times in 3 minutes I used the word, okay.

This got me thinking about whether we will continue to have face-to-face presentations. Does face-to-face presenting have an edge over video-conferencing and other online presentation technology?

Regardless of why the person is asking a lot of questions, it can be an annoyance to the rest of the audience so you need to address it. […] So we’ll group them into three categories: the Eager Learner™, the Show Off™ and the School Bus™.

Political Speech Analysis

You would think on the day when the Democratic nominee for President was finally settled that the players who all had a significant stake in the occasion would rise to the oratorical challenge.

Not so much in the case of two of them.

[…] public speaking aficionados were treated to a wonderful set of case studies from the last 3 candidates standing — how not to do it, why it did her in, and how to win.

Speechwriting Advice

So which one do you choose — open slow or open fast? It depends on how well you know the audience — and how well they know you.

Throughout my career as a speechwriter, I do not once recall an executive asking me to rewrite a speech to make the words “bigger” or the sentences longer and more complex. On the contrary, I can recall being twice asked – I didn’t need a third request – to further simplify language and to shorten sentences.

Sentences written in the active voice are also less wordy than those in the passive voice – and cutting unnecessary words always improves a piece of writing, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction.

So why allow these stereotypes to persist in your writing or speaking? If I were in the room and a speaker used one of these clichés, I’d have a pretty hard time listening to anything else he said. And imagine all the grandmothers in the room who he’d be insulting?


[…] the showing of your palm is a sign of safety and submissiveness. It shows that you’re safe because you’re ‘clean’ and unarmed. Conversely, the purposeful showing of the back of your palm is interpreted as a sign of authority and aggression

The are different reasons why people heckle.
More often than not alcohol is involved. Sometimes an audience member feels that they can do a better job than the person they’re listening to. Where that logic comes from I don’t know.

PowerPoint and Slide Design

As photographs go, this [handshake photo] is very well executed (great lighting, well-composed, etc). As a story, though, it’s tired and overworked. If you do a search on “handshake” in iStockphoto, you’ll find 3625 pictures. […] does it say anything or help advance your story? Probably not. The strongest way to express the underlying idea is merely to say it in a heartfelt way.

Toastmasters Articles

I took piano lessons in high school, had a lot of fun, and am OK at it still. But I’m not Oscar Peterson. […] I went into Toastmasters with the same expectations. I’m way, way better at speaking and leadership then when I first joined five years ago […] If I did ever want to turn pro, the learning curve would be much shorter because of what I’ve learned in TM.

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Comments icon1 Comment

  1. Thanks, as always, for this great list! And I’m glad you chose that particular quote from my post, because I was able to go back and correct that question mark at the end. Oops!