Article Category: Weekend Reviews

Public Speaking Tips: Weekend Review [2009-12-05]

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

This review features topics including:

  • new public speaking books;
  • analysis of a contest-winning humorous speech;
  • eye contact and facial expression tips;
  • the case for white space;
  • wardrobe tips; and
  • comics that speakers are sure to enjoy.

Resources for Speakers – Public Speaking Books

Check out these recently released public speaking and communications books:

In Review: Six Minutes


  • John Zimmer analyzes his own contest-winning humorous speech.

Following my victories at the Toastmasters District Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests in Hamburg, many people have asked me how I go about preparing for a contest. In particular, they have asked how I crafted my humorous speech once I got the idea for the subject. I’ve given the matter some thought and decided that a good way to explain might be to analyze the speech here on my blog.

Delivery Techniques

  • Olivia Mitchell lists 8 tips to make your eye contact more powerful.

A lot of people we work with confess that they don’t really see individual people in their audience. They’re just aware of a blur of faces. If you can relate to this, next time you present, experiment with seeing people. Look at their facial expressions, look for their reactions to what you’re saying. We call this ‘listening to your audience.’

  • Stephanie Scotti reminds us that using notes is okay.

I’m often surprised that many speakers still fall prey to the fallacy that preparation means memorization — and that bringing notes to the podium might make you appear ill-prepared in the eyes of your audience. To the contrary, top presenters know it’s not what you bring to the podium but how you use it that sets apart good and great speakers.

  • Scott Schwertly gives five facial expression tips for delivering a presentation.
  1. Smiling eyes
  2. Things are Looking Up
  3. Guffaw
  4. Nod On
  5. Disgust

Visual Aids

  • Jonathan Thomas makes the case for white space.

One of the problems plaguing presenters, especially in “corporate” presentations, is the perpetual need to fill this white space. “Let’s not leave any wasted space” they say. “Let’s put our logo in there. Maybe our website as well. Can we fit the phone number? Okay, let’s put that in there as well.” What results is a jumbled mess that confuses audiences, looks terrible, and creates annoying noise.

  • Early in 2009, Six Minutes featured a PowerPoint Design Wish List for the new version of PowerPoint. One of the wishes in that article:

3. Partner with the Best

If you cannot rewrite your documentation, consider a marketing deal with Nancy Duarte to bundle a copy of Slide:ology with every license of PowerPoint. Seriously.

Eleven months later, imagine my delight when I saw this PowerPoint 2010 teaser video from Nancy Duarte. While they didn’t bundle Slide:ology, they did bundle a piece of Duarte!

YouTube Preview Image

Speaker Habits

  • Kathy Reiffenstein advises what to wear when you present.

If asked, most of us would say we want to look our best when we are at the front of a room, presenting to a group of people. However, in the flurry of pulling content together, finishing slides and producing handouts, we don’t always give enough thought to the role our clothes play in our presentation.

[…] choosing appropriate clothing can help you feel more confident in front of an audience and can ensure that your physical appearance is not distracting from your message.

  • Denise Graveline suggests several things to do after a speech.
  1. Thank those who invited you.
  2. Thank those who went above-and-beyond for you.
  3. Talk to individual audience members.
  4. Be sure people know how and where to find you later.
  5. Share additional resources.
  6. Let people know you’re available to speak to other groups.
  7. Share information on the success of your speech, and share your materials.
  • Nick Thomas advises us to never cancel a speaking engagement.

If you experience unexpected, serious delays in getting to an engagement (and it can happen to any speaker) you may well feel tempted to cancel and turn back but, in most cases, you should continue with your journey. People are expecting you and are unlikely to be able to organise a stand-in at such notice. The time slot for your presentation may be rearranged or you could still have time to deliver a shorter speech.

The Lighter Side

  • Brent Dykes compiled a fantastic collection of Dilbert & PowerPoint comics.
    You’ll have to click through to see them all!

Over the years I’ve collected a bunch of Dilbert cartoons related to PowerPoint and business presentations. I thought I’d create the ultimate Dilbert tribute to PowerPoint presentations. Please send me any others that I’ve missed. I’ll start with my top ten, and provide the rest in no particular order. Enjoy!

  • For all the motivational speeches which argue that the journey is more important than the destination, from F Minus:

Is the Journey really more important than the Destination?

  • A perspective on speechwriting for the king from the Wizard of Id:

The 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 icon1 Comment

  1. Jon Thomas says:

    This is an incredibly useful post. I’m sorry I’ve only found it now! I retweeted it and will make sure to continue to do that each week.

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