Article Category: Weekend Reviews

Best Public Speaking Articles: Weekly Review [2008-07-19]

Week In ReviewEvery 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.

Six Minutes

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.

Public Speaking Blogs

Week in Review: Public Speaking Blogosphere


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.

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.”

Mistake 1: Using Inappropriate Stories

Mistake 2: Using Too Many Stories

Mistake 3: Getting Too Personal

Speaker Habits

  • Dr. Joyce Brothers tests your understanding of public speaking fear with a short quiz.


  1. People who are afraid of public speaking are generally suffering from low self-esteem, or are paranoid about being ridiculed.
  2. 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.
  3. Focusing on the audience instead of yourself is a good idea.
  4. Telling a joke or two is really not a sure-fire way of getting the audience to like you.
  5. Viewing yourself as an expert should make the speech less stressful.
  6. Engaging the audience is always a mistake, as they might turn on you.
  7. Letting go of the idea of giving the perfect speech will help you do a better job.

See the original article for the answers and explanations.

Visual Aids

  1. One Story
  2. No Bar Charts
  3. Motion

Delivery Techniques

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.

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.

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.

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.

Toastmasters Articles

  • 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.)

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Find more helpful public speaking articles in previous weekend reviews which are published regularly on Six Minutes.
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Comments icon1 Comment

  1. SpaceAgeSage says:

    Just stopping by from Liz Stauss’s Blog Show.

    Interesting site you have here!