Article Category: Weekend Reviews

Public Speaking Tips: Weekend Review #87

Week In Review


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

This review features topics including:

  • lessons for all speakers from the Gettysburg Address;
  • the importance of speech openings and speech titles;
  • incorporating quotes into slides;
  • conquering public speaking fear;
  • and more!

From the Six Minutes Archives

Recently on Six Minutes…


  • Ben Decker emphasizes the need to prepare a strong speech opening.

It’s so easy to fall in to the rut of starting with, “I’m here to talk to you about [insert topic here]…” or “Thanks so much for being here, I know you’re all busy, so I really appreciate your time.” By the time you’re done with a Lovely-Bunch-of-Words opening like those, guess what? You’ve likely lost your audience. They’re thinking about their next meeting, to-do list, evening’s plans.

Dive right in with something memorable instead of diluting your opener. What’s your story or client example? Can you think of an analogy that will help bring your idea or product to light? Audience members are often very visual, so are there any images you could use to make a strong opening point?

  • Diane DiResta claims that provocative speech titles generate interest.

The other night I gave a presentation on the topic of communication for a women’s diversity group. My topic was Creating Confidence: Ten Ways Women Sabotage Communication in the Workplace. […] [T]his topic hit a nerve. There was company-wide interest.


What did I learn from all this? When it comes to public speaking, titles sell. If I had led with Ten Tips to Maximize Your Communication I doubt that we would’ve had that much interest so quickly. Why? Because the word “sabotage” is provocative. It begs the question, How and Why. It creates curiosity.

Delivery Techniques

  • Denise Graveline urges you to eliminate the pointer.
Whether you favor the laser pointer or its wooden-stick ancestor, pointers tell me there’s a problem: Too much data on a slide, type that’s too small to see easily, or just a disconnect with the audience.

PowerPoint and Visuals

  • Brent Dykes shows how to incorporate quotes into slides.
When you’re trying to add more emphasis or credibility to a key point in your presentation, a quote can come in handy. I’m a fan of a good, well-placed quote. […] However, just like inappropriate or tired images can detract from your content, so can poorly-chosen or over-used quotes.

Speaker Habits

  • John Zimmer relays a pottery story with an undeniable truth for speakers.
If you want to become a better public speaker, you have to speak. You can watch all the TED Talks you like; you can read all the great books that have been written about public speaking; you can follow blogs like this one—but if you never get up on your feet and actually speak in public you are not going to improve.
  • Nick Morgan explains 5 ideas to conquer public speaking fear.
  1. Redefine the fear as adrenaline, and therefore a good thing.
  2. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Rehearse a lot.
  3. Breathe deeply, from the belly. Breathe slowly, and often.
  4. Focus on the audience, not on yourself.
  5. Focus on an emotion that you want to convey to the audience.
  • Scott Schwertly lists 5 things you should never do in a presentation.
  1. Don’t be disorganized.
  2. You are not your presentation.
  3. Don’t overwhelm your audience.
  4. Never say you’re sorry.
  5. Don’t fold under questioning.

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