Article Category: Weekend Reviews

Public Speaking Tips: Weekend Review [2009-09-26]

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

This review features topics including:

  • 3-step humor formula;
  • how to give an acceptance speech;
  • reading a speech;
  • chairing a session;
  • presenting with visuals;
  • public speaking fear;
  • introducing a speaker;
  • how much to charge for speaking; and
  • marketing yourself as a speaker.

Week in Review: Six Minutes

  • How to Deliver the Talk of Your Life
    Becky Blanton inspires you with how she came to speak at TEDGlobal 2009 and shares the valuable speaking lessons she learned along the way.
  • The 7 Deadly Sins of Public Speaking
    The deadliest of all speaking sins are chronicled – Sloth, Envy, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Wrath, and Pride. Which one is the worst of them all? Read the article to see.
  • Popular Public Speaking Books and Gear
    The 7 most popular books on the shelves of Six Minutes readers in four categories: Powerpoint and visual design, speechwriting and storytelling, general public speaking, and gear and gadgets.

Week in Review: Public Speaking Blogosphere


  • Chris Witt theorizes on where to start a speech.

I think most presenters could take their scripts, outlines, or slide sets, and delete much of the beginning. It’s probably an exaggeration to say they could eliminate half, but they could greatly improve their talks by cutting the first quarter or third.

Here’s a methodical way of creating a joke.  It’s a three-step process. Even if you never formally use this process, understanding it will give you insight into the inner-workings of a joke.

  1. The Connection
  2. The Conceal
  3. The Reveal
  • Denise Graveline reflects on 6 strong speaker statements.
  1. “I don’t know.”
  2. “I disagree.”
  3. “I agree.”
  4. “I’m surprised.”
  5. “I’m sorry.”
  6. “I’d like to hear what you have to say.”
  • Diane DiResta outlines how to give an acceptance speech.
  1. Keep it brief.
  2. Plan your message.
  3. Stay focused.
  4. Thank key people.
  5. Pause.
  6. Be humble.
  7. Get personal.
  8. Speak from the heart.
  9. Acknowledge the competition.
  10. Use humor.

Delivery Techniques

  • Jeff Bailey delivers tips for reading a speech to annotate videos.
  1. You have to write for the spoken word.
  2. Writing helps you focus on the point you are trying to make.
  3. Practice!
  4. Accept the fact that you aren’t going to make a great recording on your first take.
  5. Record each slide individually and then piece them together when using Camtasia.
  6. Use the notes section in PowerPoint.
  7. Learning to read without sounding like you are reading will help your live presentations.

Visual Aids

  • Jan Schultink provides an alternative way to visually emphasize tiny proportions.

Bar and column charts are my favorite data visualization tools. I do not like pie charts, although they are in theory the best way to highlight relative proportions. Both of these graphs break down when you try to visualize very small proportions. […]

  • Jason Santa Maria shares his tips for presenting with visuals.

I realized that I couldn’t let technology do the talking. […]

Public speaking, especially good public speaking, is tough as hell, and I don’t claim to be an expert. […]

I have two basic rules for slide design: simple and big. Type should always be big enough to read from the back of the room, and simplicity is best to convey information quickly. For instance, when I use imagery, I only use images that take up the full slide. […]

I often employ short titles and phrases of one or two words and talk around that thought. […] You, the speaker, not the slides, are conveying the information. This isn’t something that can just be read and your presence inconsequential.

Speaker Habits

  • Alex Bateman and Philip Bourne give 10 excellent rules for chairing a session.
  1. Don’t let things overrun.
  2. Let your speakers know the rules.
  3. Be prepared to give a short introduction.
  4. Write down the actual start times of the speakers.
  5. Do have a watch.
  6. Communicate how much time is left to the speaker.
  7. Don’t be afraid to move on without questions.
  8. Get to the venue early and be audiovisually aware.
  9. Prepare some questions in advance.
  10. Keep control of the Q&A session.
  • Richard Garber lists tips for introducing a speaker.
  1. Who is (s)he?
  2. What will he talk about?
  3. When will he take questions?
  4. How long will he talk?
  5. Where is he from?
  6. Why should you listen to him?
  7. What should you avoid in an introduction?
  • Olivia Mitchell studies 3 causes of public speaking fear.

The rational reality is that most of the things that happen to us in presentations, are not that bad. They’re nothing compared to the other things that can happen to us in life – like relationship break-ups, loss of a loved one, and serious health issues.

  • Jim Anderson considers how the audience size impacts your approach.
  1. Conversation Size: an audience of up to 10 people.
  2. Speech Size: an audience of 10-40 people.
  3. Performance Size: an audience of 40-100 people.
  4. Show Size: an audience of 100 or more people

Professionally Speaking

  • Colin Moorhouse considers factors which influence your quote.
    [He’s talking about speechwriting quotes, but the advice applies equally well to speaking quotes.]

With a written bid you have the luxury of reflection before you commit to a figure. But if you are negotiating on the phone, as soon as the question gets blurted out, you have to be ready with an answer. It is best not to be caught like a deer in the headlights, stammering out a quick answer to which the client either says ok (and you immediately think “oh no, I have underbid”) or they balk and you worry that you have blown the sale.

  • Mitch Joel encourages you to market yourself as a speaker.

Here’s what you need on a speaking page:

  • a bio that is about your speaking.
  • a clear statement about the topics you cover (i.e. Digital Marketing, Personal Branding and Social Media).
  • a list of topics (with catchy titles) and what the attendee will learn with an abstract about each session.
  • a video demo of you live and in action.
  • pictures of you speaking live – again, in action.
  • testimonials from organizations that the potential client can relate to.
  • a list of companies/organization you have previously spoken for.

Wizard of Id

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Find more helpful public speaking articles in previous weekend reviews which are published regularly on Six Minutes.
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Comments icon2 Comments

  1. Cindy Starks says:

    You always pack so much good information into your weekend reviews. This is all excellent material I can and will use as a speechwriter. Thanks so much.

  2. Jeff says:

    Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for including me in your list. I am honored to be mentioned in your most excellent blog!

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