Article Category: Weekend Reviews

Public Speaking Tips:
Weekend Review [2010-03-06]

Week In Review

Six Minutes weekend reviews bring the best public speaking articles to you.

This review features topics including:

  • PowerPoint and the Rule of Thirds;
  • new public speaking books;
  • persuasive techniques;
  • training session tips;
  • creating memorable story characters;
  • effective use of pauses;
  • new features in PowerPoint 2010;
  • dealing with hecklers;
  • and more!

From the Six Minutes Archives

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Resources for Speakers – Public Speaking Books

Check out these recently released public speaking and communications books:


  • Nick Morgan delivers a 7-article series on persuasive techniques.
  1. Phrase your arguments so that your listeners can hear them.
  2. Have a clear goal in mind.
  3. Break your communication down into problems and solutions.
  4. Deal in stories, facts, and tropes.
  5. Make sure your communication is articulate. Is there a real alternative? Is the idea consequential? Do the words shock but not surprise?
  6. Cut through the clutter of information overload by dealing with safety issues.
  7. Be willing to confess something.
  • Diane DiResta offers 13 tips for designing a fun and memorable training session.
  1. Understand how people learn.
  2. Tell stories.
  3. Use props.
  4. Let them teach you.
  5. Get physical.
  6. Play games.
  7. Organize creatively.
  8. Pair up.
  9. Get them moving.
  10. Give them aha’s.
  11. Provide download time.
  12. Use music.
  13. Get visual.
  • Doug Stevenson details how to create memorable characters in your stories.

The way you describe your characters, physically, allows your audience to form a mental image of them. […]

Don’t stop with, “My friend Mark was supposed to pick me up at the airport.” Go deeper. For example: “My friend Mark is about 6 feet, 3 inches tall and about 150 pounds. We used to call him “Daddy Long Legs”… with a mustache. He was a real string bean of a guy who worked as a computer tech  – a real nerd, an absolute genius with computers. So Mark, this lanky, nerdy guy, was supposed to pick me up at the airport and bring me home after my long trip.”

  • Denise Graveline urges you to be bold in your speechwriting.

[…] you need to be bold to be an effective speaker. Respectful and qualified won’t help you create that vital connection with your audience, whether you’re in a meeting, a presentation or giving a speech.

Delivery Techniques

  • Craig Senior discusses effective use of pauses.

What you are doing during pauses:

  • listening with the audience (observing them)
  • giving the audience time to absorb and respond
  • breathing
  • thinking
  • moving
  • getting a prop

What the audience is doing during pauses:

  • thinking
  • feeling
  • laughing
  • listening with you (observing you)
  • Kathy Reiffenstein offers tips for speaking with a teleprompter.
  1. Read the script through several times without the teleprompter.
  2. Speak naturally
  3. Know your teleprompter operator
  4. Have a few people in the audience while you are rehearsing
  5. Take a hard copy of your speech with you
  • Kate Peters paradoxically offers 10 ways to destroy your voice.
  1. Smoke.
  2. Scream.
  3. Avoid drinking water.
  4. Pitch your voice as low as you can get it and force the sound out.


Visual Aids

  • Jan Schultink contrasts two charts drawn from the same data to show how to use visuals to support your persuasive argument.
  • Echo Swinford lists 65 new features in PowerPoint 2010.
    That’s a lot of new features. How will you take advantage of them?
  • John Zimmer criticizes the 1-6-6 “rule” for PowerPoint.
  • I have also seen this rule called the 1-5-5 Rule and the 1-7-7 Rule, with necessary changes to the numbers of bullet points and words per bullet point. I have chosen the middle ground.
  • The “Rule” is not a rule at all. It is nonsense.

A recent satirical Dilbert comic has gone up on my office door:

Speaker Habits

  • Lisa Braithwaite offers suggestions to overcome your tendency to say too much.
  1. The most critical factor is timing yourself.
  2. Create a time cushion when you practice.
  3. Keep your eye on the clock.

The best way to deal with a heckler is to do your best to prevent them from becoming a heckler in the first place. A heckler can show up in any audience and so part of your preparation to give a speech, you need to spend some time taking steps to defuse the things that might set a heckler off.

  • Olivia Mitchell also writes about how to handle hecklers.
  1. Manage your own emotional state.
  2. Let the heckler have their say.
  3. Use reflective listening before you respond.
  4. Respond.
  5. […]

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Comments icon1 Comment

  1. I think you will like the blog “Seven Speaking Tips That Beat “Pretend Your Audience is Naked,” at Psycholog Today’s website.

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