Article Category: Weekend Reviews

Best Public Speaking Tips and Techniques: Weekend Review [2009-05-16]


Week In ReviewOn Saturdays, we survey the best public speaking articles from throughout the public speaking blogosphere.

This review features topics including:

  • recently released speaking books;
  • speaker’s checklist;
  • using quantifiable comparisons;
  • benefits of brevity;
  • impromptu speaking;
  • effective remote presentations;
  • laser pointers; and
  • audience culture.

Resources for Speakers – Recent Releases

First look!
Here’s some of the best public speaking books recently released:

Resources for Speakers

  • Nick Morgan supplies a speaker’s checklist of questions to ask meeting planners, covering the venue, audience, and speech.

A.  The Venue


How many in the audience?
What time of day? How long should the speech be?
Will the audience be eating or have eaten?
What is the hall like?
Is there lighting?
What is the sound like?
The layout?
… (and many more)

Speechwriting

  • April Dunford praises the benefits of using quantifiable analogies when speaking about product features.

There are lots of ways that you can make your metrics more real in the mind of customers…

Use finite numbers vs. comparative numbers – A 2% increase in sales doesn’t sound all that impressive but if you tell me you sold 40,000 more units or increased revenue by $2M, that 2% sounds a whole lot more interesting.

  • Denise Graveline makes a case for brevity when speaking.

You’d think public speaking would be all about, well, the speaking. Yet the most powerful speakers know that silence, pauses and the all-too-underrated skill of brevity-can be their most important tools. Speakers who use them strategically get and keep my attention, and those who don’t tend to lose me in the torrent of words.

  • Gavin Meikle introduces two impromptu speaking techniques, including the PEP model.
  • Position – Start by stating your position on the topicdo you agree or disagree?
  • Explain – Now expand on that by explaining why you hold this view.  How can you justify it?  What evidence support it? What alternatives have you considered and why have you dismissed them?
  • Position – End by restating your position confidently and authoritatively.  Some people are good at coming up with a powerful and clever closing quote but if inspiration escapes you try a simple “and so I believe …”

Delivery Techniques

  • Nancy Duarte discusses (in multimedia form) how to design and deliver a powerful remote presentation.

What’s worse than sitting through a really bad presentation? Sitting through a bad one delivered remotely! As travel budgets tighten, remote presentations have had a severe up-tick (which has also been known to cause facial ticks). Now you can discretely send your co-workers this link so they create content that holds your interest, removes distractions, increases professionalism and hopefully close that huge sale!

Visual Aids

  • Mike Pulsifer argues that laser pointers harm your presentation.

It seems, at least in my stomping grounds, that it’s just accepted that laser pointers, being presentation tools are wholly appropriate.  …

It’s not malicious.  They don’t know they’re harming their presentation.  They think they’re being helpful.  However, except for the extremely rare occasion, they’re not.

  • Troy Chollar suggests that text boxes are an improvement to bullets, because:

… a bulleted list was not a good option because it was just not dynamic enough.

Ed: Personally, I disagree. While a bullet-centric slide can be improved many ways, I do not think that scattered text boxes is an improvement. In this specific case, I think the readability of the slide was better in bullet form than the text boxes. (However, I do think the increased text size in the latter is an improvement.)

Speaker Habits

  • Lisa Braithwaite shares her experience in learning about the audience culture.

One thing you can ask about beforehand is the group culture. It helps to know if a group has a good sense of humor, if they’re quiet or boisterous, if they’re stodgy or laid-back. Meeting members of the group can help with this, but asking the question up front will give you a better answer.

Find more helpful public speaking articles in previous weekend reviews which are published regularly on Six Minutes.
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