Best Public Speaking Articles: Weekly Review [2008-07-19]
Every Saturday, we survey the best public speaking articles from throughout the public speaking blogosphere. Topics featured this week include:
- PowerPoint book review;
- storytelling advice;
- a quiz to test your knowledge on public speaking fear;
- audience interaction;
- hand gesture zones;
- and more.
Week in Review: Six Minutes
This week featured a book review for Clear and to The Point: 8 Psychological Principles for Compelling PowerPoint Presentations by Stephen Kosslyn.
- A great summer read — a practical book of easy-to-implement slide design tips explained in the context of their psychological basis.
Week in Review: Public Speaking Blogosphere
- Terry Gault asks whether you should deliver your speech word-for-word or ad-lib?
There are several problems with writing a speech word-for-word. First, it is easy to fall into the trap of passively reading to your audience. This will make your speech come across as dry, and highly unmotivating. […] On the other hand, while impromptu speeches are definitely more flexible, they often end up a disaster: it is simply too easy to ran over-time, become tangential, or for the speech to be full of verbal filler.
- Garr Reynolds summarizes lessons on storytelling from Robert McKee.
Does being good at storytelling make you a good leader?
“Not necessarily,” says McKee. “But if you understand the principles of storytelling, you probably have a good understanding of yourself and of human nature, and that tilts the odds in your favor.”
- James Feudo points out three pitfalls to avoid when telling stories.
Mistake 1: Using Inappropriate Stories
Mistake 2: Using Too Many Stories
Mistake 3: Getting Too Personal
- Dr. Joyce Brothers tests your understanding of public speaking fear with a short quiz.
TRUE or FALSE?
- People who are afraid of public speaking are generally suffering from low self-esteem, or are paranoid about being ridiculed.
- The only way to really avoid nervousness is to memorize every word of the speech, so you don’t have to think or worry about forgetting.
- Focusing on the audience instead of yourself is a good idea.
- Telling a joke or two is really not a sure-fire way of getting the audience to like you.
- Viewing yourself as an expert should make the speech less stressful.
- Engaging the audience is always a mistake, as they might turn on you.
- Letting go of the idea of giving the perfect speech will help you do a better job.
- Seth Godin outlines his three laws for great graphs in PowerPoint presentations.
- One Story
- No Bar Charts
- Michael Cortes describes a simple technique for encouraging audience participation when you are leading a discussion session.
I instructed them to break into groups of three and write down as many answers to my question as they could in 60 seconds. […] The theory says that this technique cuts through the hesitation to speak up by eliminating the fear of the large group, and allows them to speak with a small group instead.
- Olivia Mitchell provides advice for handling emotionally charged questions in a Q&A session.
When you were acknowledging the questioner’s emotional concern, you responded directly to that person. When you’re restating the issue, return to addressing the whole audience.
- Jason Peck outlines how to use callbacks in your speech to leverage earlier laughter.
What’s a callback you ask? Well, a callback is repeating a joke verbatim, or paraphrasing a joke, that got a laugh earlier in your speech or comedy routine.
- Gary Guwe matches four zones for hand gestures to the appropriate audience size.
The Second Zone (chest level) is an appropriate level for you to gesticulate when you’re speaking to, say, a group size of around 6 to 50 people. It is natural for you to raise your level as as your group size becomes bigger, you’ll need to increase it for the sake of visibility and energy.
- Rich Hopkins is chronicling his preparations for the World Championship of Public Speaking… again. (He did the same in 2006, on his way to 3rd place.)