Six Minutes weekend reviews bring the best public speaking articles to you.
This review features topics including:
- top presentation books;
- speech outline for demo speeches;
- organizing your speech around a story;
- emphasizing and sharpening your points;
- dealing with hecklers;
- and more!
Recently on Six Minutes
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- Presentation Timing: 5 Tips to Stay on Time and Avoid Audience Wrath
Advice to help you plan well and react on-the-fly to stay on time.
- Speech Analysis: Franklin Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor Address
Emphasizes how choosing words carefully enhances your message.
- Top 35 Presentation Books: Expert Ratings
Results from a survey of speaking experts concerning the top books for content, delivery, and visuals.
- How to Master the Demonstration Speech
A simple template for effective demonstration speeches.
- How the Grinch Stole PowerPoint
A parody of the Dr. Seuss’ classic in which the Grinch steals PowerPoint from speakers on Conference Eve. [It's flattering to hear from readers who say they are reading this poem at their holiday parties at the office or at Toastmasters.]
- Christopher Witt describes how to organize your speech as a story.
The story structure that works best is also the simplest one. It has two variations.
- If you’re reporting on something that has already occurred (e.g., a discovery that has been made, an innovation that has been developed, an initiative that has been implemented), you can frame your story as “A Journey from Point 1 to Point 2 and How We Got There.”
- If you’re recommending a future course of action (e.g., a research project to be undertaken, an innovation to be developed, an initiative to be implemented), you simply change the verb tense: “A Journey from Point 1 to Point 2 and How We Can Get There.”
- Tom Searcy provides tips for focusing on your audience and their needs.
Almost all of our clients turn up with the wrong information: 40 slides of bullet points listing the company statistics, capabilities, products, geographies, processes, systems and awards. This is all in an attempt to answer the question: “So… What do you do?”
But in reality, even though the prospect may have actually asked the question out loud (and many do), they don’t really care about any of that. Frankly the question they are trying to answer–but probably don’t verbalize–is, “What’s in this for me?”
- Denise Graveline lists 9 techniques to emphasize your points.
Writers have highlighters. Mailers have express delivery. But what do speakers have to emphasize the points they’re trying to make? The answer: At least 9 tools to underscore their arguments, data and other key points.
PowerPoint and Visuals
- Gavin McMahon shows how to sharpen your point on a slide.
Every slide has a point. Even the bad ones. If you don’t make one, people will assume one. So half the battle in building slide decks, (and creating compelling messages) is figuring out what the point really is.
- Nolan Haims explains how to use gradient boxes to improve text contrast.
One of my favorite techniques in PowerPoint is to place a semi-transparent gradient box over full-page imagery. This is a way of “editing” the photo to make it fade out on an edge or to reduce the opacity over a part of the image and to allow for the placement of text on top of it.
- Claire Duffy offers advice for dealing with hecklers.
The most normal kind of interruption comes when you are in some kind of official ‘controller’ capacity, as a discussion leader, facilitator or panel moderator, and a speaker talks over you, or over another panellist. These interruptions, while often in the pursuit of a good point or a worthwhile discussion, shift the balance of power, and put the interrupter in charge. You need to get that role back. Depending where you are it can be tricky – the social dynamic may need to be carefully navigated.
Resources for Speakers
- Nick Morgan suggests iPad apps for speakers.
I love the iPad for presenting. I use it to create my notes, and then put them up on the comfort monitors in front of me but hidden from the audience. Or, if there are no monitors, then the iPad itself does the job, and allows me to keep an eye on the clock so that I end on time. I also use the iPad to show video.