Article Category: Weekend Reviews

Public Speaking Tips: Weekend Review #82

Week In Review

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

This review features:

  • new public speaking books;
  • interviews with speaking experts;
  • trimming your presentation;
  • boosting your speaking confidence;
  • wedding toasts;
  • crying while speaking;
  • PowerPoint image sizes;
  • eliminating bad habits;
  • and more!

From the Six Minutes Archives

Two Years Ago…

One Year Ago…


Resources for Speakers – Public Speaking Books

Check out these recently released public speaking and communications books:


  • Dave Paradi advises how to decide what data to share.

When a presenter dumps data on their audience and expects the audience to figure it all out, they are setting themselves up for disappointment. The “data dump” presentation is not effective communication. So if you’ve done a lot of analysis and the research to back up your points, how much of it should you put in to your presentation?

  • Jonathan Thomas offers tips for wedding toasts.

Being chosen as a groom’s Best Man or a bride’s Maid of Honor is truly an honor (as the name implies). It’s a title that one receives when they’ve meant the most as a friend to the bride or groom.

Of course, once the emotion subsides it gives way to the fact that being a Best Man or Maid of Honor comes with great responsibility – not the least of which is the Wedding Toast.

  • Mark Tamer lists phrases to avoid when speaking.
  • Uh
  • You know
  • Basically
  • Obviously
  • Whatever
  • Like
  • Unbelievable
  • I want…

Delivery Techniques

  • Denise Graveline reflects on crying while speaking.

Showing emotion when you talk–especially when it involves tears or tearing up–has long been a double-edged sword for women speakers. Speaking with emotion is usually a woman’s strong suit, an advantage. Yet women (and sometimes men) who cry during public speaking appearances are ridiculed as weak and unable to control their emotions, particularly when they’re running for election.  So are tears while speaking a bad thing?

Visual Aids

  • Vivek Singh suggests the ideal image size for a PowerPoint slide: 640 x 480.
    [Ed. Personally, I recommend 960 x 720 to fill the slide without needing to stretch it up]

Remember that the width : height ratio of PowerPoint slide area is 4 by 3 (which is the same as 1.33 by 1). So images whose width by height ratio is 1.33 by 1 will fit in the slide area perfectly. Examples 640×480, 800×600, 1024×768. Images whose ratio is not 1.33 by 1 need to be cropped to fit the slide area completely.

  • Olivia Mitchell lists 9 cases where words on slides are effective.

I hate bullet-filled PowerPoint slides, but neither do I advocate having no words on a slide. That’s just going to another extreme. Images and words combined are the most effective PowerPoint slide design for most technical and business presentations.

Speaker Habits

  • Kathy Reiffenstein shows how to eliminate bad habits.

People who speak in public are often not aware of their bad presentation habits. That is until they see themselves on videotape.


The annoying behavior videotape exposes may be avoiding eye contact with the audience, clenching hands into fists, using an abundance of filler words [um, ah, like, you know], putting hands in and out of pockets, absentmindedly fidgeting with glasses, hair or jewelry. Whatever it is, it’s done without conscious thought.

  • Garr Reynolds quotes Kyuzo Mifune with a Judo lesson that applies to speaking:

Do not place hope in finding a secret technique. Polish the mind through ceaseless training; that is the key to effective techniques.”

Political Speeches

  • Bert Decker critiques the recent Oval Office speech from U.S. President Barack Obama.

President Obama gave a speech tonight – second one from the Oval Office in his 19 months in office. It was a yawner. What’s going on here?

First of all I want to confess I’ve not reviewed Obama recently because he basically is the same. In delivery. Think of teleprompter, predictability, cadence, professorial, etc.

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Comments icon1 Comment

  1. JULIA says:

    I want to know how to improve my english writing and public speaking.

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Speeches that Changed the World — Jan 28th, 2011