Public Speaking Blogosphere: Week in Review [2008-02-23]
Saturday signals a scan of the best public speaking articles from throughout the public speaking blogosphere.
Just a few of the topics featured this week are:
- Pauses and pause fillers;
- Public speaking in the mainstream news;
- Visual aids; and
Week in Review: Six Minutes
One article was featured this week at the Six Minutes blog:
- Electrify Your Audience with a Shocking Speech Opening
A practical example of how to pack drama, surprise, and figures of speech into the opening lines of a speech.
I have been busy writing a series of articles on speech preparation. Watch for the first of these soon.
Week in Review: Public Speaking Blogosphere
These are the best public speaking articles I read in the past week.
- Dana Bristol-Smith points to a summary of four powerful pauses from Brian Tracy’s book — Speak to Win: How to Present with Power in any Situation.
Probably the most powerful vocal technique you will ever learn in speaking is the ‘power of the pause…
- The Sense Pause
- The Dramatic Pause
- The Emphatic Pause
- The Sentence-Completion Pause
- The Speaking Life blog offers a… um… ah… timely examination of pause fillers.
- John Kinde draws 10 analogies to show what speakers can learn from gymnasts.
- Lisa Braithwaite reminds us to be ready to speak at any time.
Marilyn Jess picks up on the same theme with her article about storytelling.
- Ian Griffin offers an insightful analysis of the mainstream public speaking news of the week: the rhetorical fight between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
- Tom Antion considers the relationship between humor and time of day.
- Pete Ryckman ponders: The Audience Will Remember Just One Thing: What Will it Be?
- Norman Wei pens an intriguing analogy to explain why vocal variety (and variety in general) is essential in a presentation. The analogy is quoted here, but the article explains what it means.
A good presentation is a river. A bad one is a canal.
Articles about Visual Aids
- Lisa Braithwaite explains why you can’t read slides and listen to a speaker at the same time.
When we read, we are subvocalizing […] If we’re listening to the words in our heads that we’re reading on the slides, we can’t also be listening to the speaker say the same thing at the same time.
- Rowan Manahan summarizes key points from a lecture by Stephen Kosslyn where he uses psychology to avoid common PowerPoint errors. Here’s one of the key points:
The Rudolph Rule – if you want your audience to notice something, then it needs to stand out. The human brain, “is a difference detector,” says Kosslyn, so make the thing you want to draw you audience’s attention to different – size, shape, bold, italics, separation. Even a small difference will cause the human eye to notice what’s important.
- Managesmarter.com points to a survey (from Dave Paradi) on bad PowerPoint usage.
When asked to select the top three things that annoy them about bad PowerPoint presentations, the respondents cited the following as the most annoying:
- “The speaker read the slides to us” – 67.4%
- “Full sentences instead of bullet points” – 45.4%
- “Text so small I couldn’t read it” – 45%
- Wayne Botha rants about “data dumps.”
Why does the typical PowerPoint Presenter follow this process:
1. Open PowerPoint.
2. Type in (or Copy and Paste) all the data known about a topic,
3. Get up and read the slides to the audience?
Toastmasters Blog Articles
- Rich Hopkins (3rd place in World Championship of Public Speaking in 2006) posted his first article in four months. Perhaps he’ll be chronicling his contest journey again?
- John Spaith offers contest advice that I agree with: the winner is often the one who wants it the most and demonstrates this desire through practice.
- It’s not a blog, but there are many items worth reading in the Toastmasters Prime discussion group (and you can subscribe via RSS). For example:
Help Improve The Weekly Reviews
The public speaking weekly reviews like this one have been a regular Saturday feature for two months now on the Six Minutes blog. Several cherished readers tell me they love the reviews. It’s flattering to hear this, and I want to ensure that the reviews keep getting better.
Feedback is essential for a public speaker; the same is true for a blog author. So, please help me improve these reviews by telling me what you like and what you wish was done better. You can comment on the blog, or email me.
- Can the format be improved?
- Do quotes/images from articles enhance the review, or clutter it?
- Is the number of featured articles appropriate? Too many? Too few?
- What would make the reviews more valuable for you?
Thanks in advance. See you next Saturday!