Monthly Archive for November, 2012


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

This review features topics including:

  • learning charisma;
  • gifts for speakers;
  • speech analysis of Winston Churchill and Jawaharlal Nehru;
  • giving a thank-you speech;
  • how to make data compelling on slides;
  • communicating criticism;
  • and much, much more!

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Quick… think back to the last slide presentation you attended.

  • What kind of titles were used on the slides?
  • Do you remember any of them?
  • Were there titles like “Background”, “Research Study”, “October Sales”, and “Conclusions”?

If you are nodding to that last question (and most people reading this will be), you already know that most slide titles are pretty mundane: they are quickly written and quickly forgotten.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Slide titles can help communicate your message, and set the context of the slide for your audience.

In this article, we discuss five simple guidelines you can use to quickly improve your slides, and see how these guidelines apply to slide examples.

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You can’t give the speech of your life until you first give life to your speeches.

One way to breathe life into your speeches is to craft memorable phrases that will linger on the lips of your audience, and a great tool to help you achieve this goal is chiasmus.

In this article, we define what chiasmus is, study several famous (and not-so-famous) chiasmus examples, and give some tips for crafting chiasmus into your own speeches.

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The holiday season is a time of renewing traditions: parties with friends, family, and colleagues; decorating the house, inside and out; and making wishlists and shopping for the items on the lists of those you love.

On Six Minutes, we have a holiday tradition too: a holiday list of gift ideas for speakers, whether that recipient is you, or someone special in your life. In this article, we list speaker gift ideas ranging from tiny stocking stuffers to more tantalizing items. Whether you are a professional speaker or whether speaking is a new hobby, there’s something for everyone.

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Self-centric speakers deliver the speech they want to give, without concern for who is in the target audience or what they may be thinking, feeling, or wanting.

Audience-centric speakers deliver the speech which the audience wants to hear, using words, concepts, stories, and visuals which will resonate with audience members and lead them to action.

But how do you know what the audience wants to hear? How do you know what will resonate with them? How do you know what they are thinking?

In this article, we define what audience analysis is, and look at the types of questions you should be asking about your audience.

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A long-time reader asks:

What’s the average speaking rate? Is it better to speak faster or is is better to speak slower?

In this article, we answer these questions and look at the factors which influence your speaking rate, a critical component of your delivery.

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We are so happy that 280 readers participated in our 2012 reader survey. As promised, we’ve chosen three participants randomly to receive speaking books of their choice.

In this article, we summarize a few survey results, and discuss how we’ll try to improve Six Minutes for you based on this feedback.

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A rhetorical question is a common rhetorical device where a question is asked by a speaker, but no answer is expected from the audience. This distinguishes it from explicit verbal audience interaction where a speaker asks a question, and then waits for a response or calls on someone to answer it.

You are certainly aware of this technique, but are you aware that you can use a rhetorical question in at least nine different ways? No? Read on!

This article identifies nine ways to use rhetorical questions, and provides examples throughout.

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