Article Category: Weekend Reviews

Best Public Speaking Tips and Techniques: Weekly Review [2009-03-07]

Week In ReviewOn Saturdays, we survey the best public speaking articles from throughout the public speaking blogosphere.

This week’s review features topics including:

  • recently released speaking books;
  • research tips for speechwriters;
  • tips for inspiring speeches;
  • benefits of humor in speeches;
  • voice and gestures tips;
  • PowerPoint advice; and
  • how to use speaking to improve your business.

Week in Review: Public Speaking Blogosphere

Resources for Speakers – Recent Releases

Be the first to check out some of the best public speaking books recently released:



  • Bert Decker reveals 6 ways to open your presentation.
  1. Start with a bang
  2. Tell a story
  3. Pause — Look — Move
  4. Be short and sweet
  5. Be focused
  6. Think intrigue and interest
  • Ian Griffin gives 10 ideas for using stories and case studies in your speech.
  1. Power opening
  2. Embrace humor
  3. Learn theatrical techniques
  4. Make the audience the hero of the story
  5. Develop a compelling plot
  6. Develop case studies
  7. Be authentic
  8. Connect with the audience emotionally
  9. Ground the story in the context of the moment
  10. Use specific details
  • Max Atkinson reflects on the day Barack Obama discovered his powers of oratory and rhetoric.
    [Note: Max references a story from Obama’s Dreams of My Father.]

[…] his speaking from the heart and people wanting to hear more was an an early and accurate prediction of the effect he would have on national and international audiences more than two decades later.

  • Doug Stevenson gives tips for inspirational speeches.
  1. Make your story their story
  2. Reveal your inner struggle
  3. Get emotional
  4. Build a bridge
  5. Hey you! Yeah you!
  6. Talk to one person at a time
  7. Tone it down
  8. Just talk to me
  9. Intimacy is the key to an inspiring speech
  • Chendil Kumar highlights benefits of using humor in speaking.
  1. Connect better
  2. Good for your health
  3. Good for your business
  4. Diffuses hostility
  5. Improves attention
  6. Reduces tension
  7. Makes messages more memorable

Delivery Techniques

  • Kathy Reiffenstein reviews actor voice techniques that apply to speakers.

One of the actor’s most precious tools is his voice. […] So the actor protects his voice by doing exercises to strengthen it, by warming it up before using it on stage and by learning breathing techniques to maximize its projection and tone.

As business presenters, we can benefit by taking a page from the actor’s script.

  • Frank Damelio gives 7 tips to using a microphone.

A hand-held mic has some advantages over headsets and lavalieres. You can have the audience comment into it, you can move it a bit closer or farther from your mouth for effect. The benefit to the headset or lavaliere is that you are hands free. Typically, a cheaper headset will still project, but a cheaper lavaliere may have trouble picking up your voice. Of course, the negative to a headset is that it blocks your face a bit.

  • Joey Asher argues that you can improve gestures by focusing on facial energy.

The face bone is connected to the wrist bone.

That’s right. Very often, when our clients are having trouble improving their hand gestures, we’ll focus on their facial energy. That’s because if you improve facial energy, the gestures will often improve.

Visual Aids

  • Nancy Duarte visually shares Leo Bley’s method for sketching out ideas for corporate PowerPoint slides.

[…] print out a blank corporate template slide as a handout (six slides per page), and use that as a drafting medium where it is easy to get the spacing right. I combined that idea with the grid slide from our corporate template AND a stack of blank index cards […]

I add in a few pens in our corporate colors to try accenting something on a slide. I also keep a copy of our corporate color palette to simplify color selections when I finally transfer the draft into PowerPoint.

  • Brent Dykes argues that time is the root of all PowerPoint evil.

[…] I believe all ‘PowerPoint evil’ can be traced back to the simple issue of time — and how we manage it or choose to spend it.

  • Eric Albertson reflects on Bill Gates releasing mosquitos into his audience.

S.T.A.R. stands for “Something They’ll Always Remember” and S.T.A.R. Moments refer to the memorable moments in a presentation that stick in the minds of your audience long after the presentation is over. […]

Bill Gates utilized a S.T.A.R. Moment to help his audience identify with people who suffer from the mosquito-spread disease Malaria.

Many 3D effects are NOT useful. Three dimensional graphs make it harder to match the data to the value axes. Adding “random” bevels, reflections and shadows to a PowerPoint object does not make it an elegant graphical element. The fact that PowerPoint can do it, does not mean you have to use it.

Why don’t we use 3D for what it can do best: show distance

Connection between Speaking and Your Career

With the economy in peril, there is increased attention on how speaking and communication skills improve your career. I previously wrote about 10 ways your presentation skills will earn you a promotion. Here are several other articles connecting speaking skills to greater prosperity for you.

  • Stacey Shipman discusses 5 ways to use public speaking to grow your business.
  1. Low cost marketing
  2. Networking
  3. Additional revenue
  4. Keeps you up to date
  5. Customer relationships
  • Olivia Mitchell examines how speaking up enhances your career and provides several tips for increasing your effectiveness when speaking up.
  1. Let go of perfection
  2. Have a goal for the number of times you speak up at a meeting
  3. Experiment with speaking first
  4. Voice your support for what other people say
  5. Get used to interrupting people if you have to
  6. Use a formula to help you structure your thoughts
  • James Feudo writes about how speaking skills help during bad economic times.
  1. Public Speaking Skills are Transferable
  2. Public Speaking Skills are Marketable
  3. Public Speaking Skills Improve Your Confidence
  4. Speaking can be an Additional Source of Income
  • Frank Damelio and Laura Briere discuss marketing yourself through public speaking in this video.

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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. Dekeither says:

    You have one of the best true content sources online. I am glad I found a place with such great content. Maybe one day I can get my writting skills up to this level. I loved the video about speechwrting. Is there a way I could post that video to my blogs & send you a trackback? Great work.