Article Category: Weekend Reviews

Public Speaking Tips: Weekend Review [2009-12-19]

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

This review features topics including:

  • cross-culture communication;
  • editing your presentation by asking “why?”;
  • addressing the elephant in the room;
  • pitfalls to presenting with someone else’s slides;
  • the growth of Death By PowerPoint;
  • how a video camera will help you improve as a speaker; and
  • a must-read parody: How the Grinch Spoke at Christmas.

In Review: Six Minutes


  • Jonathan Thomas suggests that asking “why” is a critical presentation editing habit.

Asking “why” is one of the keys to creating an effective presentation because it forces you to justify every piece of content you’re adding to your presentation. Remember, simplicity is a virtue. Our messages are effective and recalled more often when they’re clear, concise, and simple. No extra noise to get in the way. No clutter on your slides because “there’s some empty space we need to fill.”

  • Rich Hopkins also urges you to edit your speech for precision.

Too many speakers fall in love with their words and phrases, or insist on covering every detail of their subject, or simply don’t understand how to get to the bottom line before sending their audiences retreating into the movie theatre of their own minds for escape.

  • Kelly Decker advises how to address the elephant in the room.

Our advice? Address it. At the very least, nod in its direction. […]

The best way to address the elephant is to know it. Sit back and take stock of your audience. […]

But take caution! Don’t let the elephant become your topic. Address it, and move on.

Visual Aids

  • Vivek Singh identifies 6 problems with presenting someone else’s slides.
  1. Meaning: When you make slides, your mind is working. Your mind is talking as you type out the content. As a presenter, you need to understand (literally and figuratively) what the content on those slide really means. If you don’t make it how will you know it?
  2. Relevance
  3. Time
  4. Analysis
  5. Flow
  6. Butterflies in the stomach
  • Laura Bergells charts the (slowing) growth of Death by PowerPoint.

Today, if you Google “Death by PowerPoint”, you’ll see 980,000 results — only about 2.7 times as much as 2008. The year-to-year death rate appears to be dropping.

Speaker Habits

  • Travis Dahle argues that a video camera will help you improve.

One of the toughest parts about communication is knowing what you do right and what you do wrong. Working with a speech coach is important and can help you improve – but if you really want to see what you are doing there is a simple step — use a video camera.

Using a video camera can tell you much more about what you are doing than just listening to a speech coach.

Public Speaking and the Holidays

The Lighter Side

  • John Zimmer offers a wonderful How the Grinch Spoke at Christmas.

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?”
“It came without PowerPoint, Keynote and more!
“It came without gifts from the Toastmasters store!”

And he puzzled and puzzed, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
Maybe speaking, he thought, just needs good preparation.
And delivery with heart and with full dedication.

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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. Sue Davis says:

    This is a great roundup. Thanks!

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