Article Category: Weekend Reviews

Public Speaking Tips: Weekend Review [2009-09-12]

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

This review features topics including:

  • book reviews;
  • professional speech editing;
  • storytelling to be memorable;
  • handling hecklers or a hostile audience;
  • maximizing the value of feedback; and
  • critiques of Barack Obama’s health care speech.

Week in Review: Six Minutes

Week in Review: Public Speaking Blogosphere

Resources for Speakers

The book aims to teach anyone who needs to influence other people (that includes presentation designers like me) to leverage learnings from the field of psychology.

Like most business classics, the real-life case examples are really valuable; the attempts to draw generic conclusions and insights from them somehow make less interesting reading (although they still are valuable)

In summary, and purely from the point of presentation design, Daniel Pink’s book is not a standard reference book […]. However, it will open your eyes for a very important idea. It is essential reading for parents though: the biggest issue it raises is the one of the education system.


  • Vanity Fair demonstrates rigorous speech editing performed on Sarah Palin’s resignation speech.

Just how poorly constructed was the governor’s holiday-weekend address? We asked [Vanity Fair’s] red-pencil-wielding executive literary editor, Wayne Lawson, together with representatives from the research and copy departments, to whip it into publishable shape. Here is the colorful result.

  • Olivia Mitchell outlines how to create speech soundbites.

Max’s research shows that the use of contrast is one of the most powerful ways of prompting applause in political speeches. Many long-lived and memorable quotations use contrast.


  • Mike Speiser suggests storytelling is the key to being memorable.

If you want to show your boss how hard you’ve worked, pack your presentation with data, charts, and bullet points — but if you want to have an impact, tell a story. The same goes for building great products, effective advertising and selling yourself as a candidate for a job.

Delivery Techniques

  • Bert Decker advises how to handle hecklers.

At all costs, you can’t lose control for it is YOUR communication experience and you are responsible for it. Don’t let anyone else hijack it.

  • Nick Morgan gives 5 ways to handle a hostile audience.
  1. Talk to the positive people in the room.
  2. Confront the negative ideas in the room.
  3. Disarm the hostility with humor.
  4. Align yourself physically with the dissenters.
  5. Open the floor to Q & A – but save the last 5 minutes for your closing.

Speaker Habits

  • Kathy Reiffenstein lists 7 ways to maximize the value of feedback.
  1. Gather feedback from as many sources and as frequently as you can.
  2. Ask for immediate feedback.
  3. Demand specificity.
  4. Don’t be defensive!
  5. Decide what feedback is useful to you and what you will incorporate.
  6. Make notes and keep a file of all the feedback you receive so that you can easily access it.
  7. Choose only one or two things to work on at a time.

Speech Critiques

  • Ellen Finkelstein analyzes Barack Obama’s speech on health care.

This speech is also a good reminder of the importance of working on content. Decide what you need to say, and then do the following:

  • Structure it well
  • Add emotion
  • Tell stories
  • Explain concepts clearly
  • Offer signposts for the structure
  • Include repetitive elements
  • Nick Morgan also critiques Barack Obama’s health care speech.

Last night, President Obama proved that he is still the master of rhetoric we saw during the campaign by delivering his first unambiguously excellent speech since those halcyon days on the stump.

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