Article Category: Weekend Reviews

Public Speaking Tips: Weekend Review #94


Week In Review

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

This review features topics including:

  • Q&A tips;
  • new speaking books;
  • leadership stories;
  • convention speech reviews;
  • commencement speech tips;
  • Prezi pros and cons;
  • and more!

Reader Favorites from the Past (November 2007)

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Resources for Speakers – Public Speaking Books

Check out these recently released public speaking and communications books:

Speechwriting

  • Tamara Snyder describes five types of leadership stories.
  1. Introducing Me
  2. Conveying Values
  3. Teaching
  4. Jumpstarting Action
  5. Inspiring
  • Nick Morgan reviews the recent United States political convention speeches.

The conventions are one of those increasingly rare moments in American rhetorical life when a general audience watches grownups speaking in public and thinks about what they’re seeing and hearing, however briefly.  So the conventions are important enough to take a few moments to ponder the highs and lows and what that means for people interested in public speaking everywhere.

  • Dashiell Bennett provides an annotated written-versus-spoken version of Bill Clinton’s convention speech.
    [Ed: This is a fascinating glance at the speech editing process.]

Most experienced public speakers know how to deviate and alter and add flourishes to their prepared remarks on the fly, but few do it as well as Clinton. (Even if you disagree with what he’s saying.) As you can see below, from a purely rhetorical standpoint nearly all of his changes enhanced the text in some way and brought added emphasis to arguments. Notice his frequent changing of “should vote for Barack Obama” to “must vote.” And his even more frequent use of “Now” and “Look” when beginning a point. Many of his best lines — like his “bloodsport” quote — were either ad-libbed or added in back in at the last moment.

  • Alex Rister lists 5 best practices for commencement speeches.
  1. Prepare
  2. Know your audience
  3. Keep it short
  4. Avoid getting too emotional
  5. Unexpectedly inspire

PowerPoint and Visuals

  • Scott Berkun states why he hates Prezi.

The people most drawn to use Prezi are those who are more enchanted by the pretense of style, rather than substance. To this day I have yet to see a Prezi presentation that would not have been better had the speaker used something else, including nothing at all.

  • Terry Gault states why he loves Prezi.

[…] the fundamental difference between PowerPoint and Prezi – that Prezi requires that you think about the Big Picture while PowerPoint indulges the tendency to recycle and repurpose existing slides without truly thinking about the Big Picture.

  • Laura Bergells (briefly) mocks a “thank you” slide.

A “Thank You” slide takes the focus off the genuine emotional gratitude of the speaker. It reduces authentic warmth to an emotionally hollow visual cliché.

Speaker Habits

  • Denise Graveline points out 10 advantages to introducing speakers.

You can say things the speaker can’t: Has the speaker come under attack for what she’s about to tell us? Has she gone unsung for her philanthropy or was she just hired by the most powerful firm in town? It’s easier for the introducer to tell us those things than for the speaker to do so.

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