Article Category: Weekend Reviews

Public Speaking Tips: Weekend Review [2010-06-05]

Week In Review


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

This review features topics including:

  • the rule of three;
  • using sticky notes to organize your presentation;
  • how to title your speech to grab your audience;
  • storytelling advice;
  • what to look for when looking at yourself on video;
  • time management;
  • audience analysis;
  • and much more!

From the Six Minutes Archives

Two Years Ago from Six Minutes

Your careers will be determined largely by how well you speak, by how well you write, and by the quality of your ideas… in that order.

Last Year on Six Minutes

Recently on Six Minutes…


  • Eric Albertson shares an inside glimpse of the Duarte presentation creation process. (You probably don’t have eight whiteboards like they do, but the ideas can be applied to your presentations on a smaller scale.)

We train people how to build effective presentations by writing their main points on sticky notes and then moving them around until they find a compelling flow for their message. Sticky notes are small, easily movable and readily recyclable. They are our friends!

And, we don’t just prescribe them for others, we use them here, too! They are an intricate part of our presentation creation process—for clients and for ourselves.

  • Olivia Mitchell reflects on how to write your presentation title to attract a larger audience.

But your presentation title can determine whether you have a smattering of people attending, or standing room only.

The good news is that it’s not that hard to craft a presentation title. There are a number of tried and tested formats which are easy to adapt to your topic. This is the way professional copywriters write headlines.

  • Dave Paradi reminds us to trim the details and present only the essential.

Your presentations are to present the result of your work in a way that enables others to use the information to make decisions or use the knowledge to be more effective and efficient in their own work. If you show all the background and data, you lose the audience because it is overwhelming. There is so much coming at them, they don’t know what the most important point is. And they give up trying to figure it out, or, even worse, come to a different conclusion than the one you wanted them to reach.

  • Nick Morgan identifies the five basic, powerful stories.
  1. The Quest
  2. The Stranger in a Strange Land
  3. Rags to Riches
  4. The Love Story
  5. The Tale of Revenge
  • Conor Neill outlines his 5-step process for telling great stories.
  1. Begin stating the moment in time
  2. Introduce the situation and key characters
  3. Something out of the ordinary occurs
  4. Allow the tension to build — pause, add detail to the complication
  5. Resolve the complication

Delivery Techniques

  • Kate Peters discusses how to make the most of your voice when reading from a script.

Here are three areas to focus on to improve your vocal image on important calls and conference calls when you must read a script:

  1. Practice reading aloud
  2. Practice storytelling
  3. Practice speaking with intention
  • Denise Graveline suggests 8 keys to look for when watching yourself on video.
  1. Visual “ums”
  2. Invisible gestures
  3. A body with a mind of its own
  4. How you react to interruptions
  5. Expressions that match your words
  6. Gestures that match your words
  7. Your posture and body language
  8. Can you hear your message clearly throughout?

Visual Aids

  • Brent Dykes offers two articles (part 1 and part 2) on how to decide whether an image is good for your presentation.

If you’ve read any presentation design books lately (Presentation Zen Design, Slide:ology, etc.), you’ve probably decided to use more images in your presentations. However, you may still be wondering if the images you’re selecting are good, average, or lame. Using more lame or average images in your presentations is about as helpful as adding more bullet points or animations to your PowerPoint slides.

  • Dick Knisely reveals the many problems with the ubiquitous data slide shown below.

Speaker Habits

  • Olivia Mitchell gives 7 tips for managing your time while speaking.
  1. Decide on your “talking time”
  2. Find out how long it takes to deliver your material
  3. Write a timed schedule for your presentation
  4. Write assertions so that you won’t waffle
  5. Have a clock or timekeeper
  6. Start on time
  7. Be ready to adapt
  • Diane DiResta reveals 7 tips for speaking internationally.

The greatest rapport builder is to say a few words in the native tongue. The best time to do this is in your greeting. When I spoke in Tanzania, I said, “Good morning. I’m happy to be here” in Kiswahili. The audience broke into applause. Little gestures have great impact.

  • Cynthia Starks passes on an acronym to assist with audience analysis.
  • Analysis
  • Understanding
  • Demographics
  • Interest
  • Environment
  • Needs
  • Customization
  • Expectations

How to Create the Ultimate TED Talk

Longtime readers of Six Minutes will know that TED is an incredible resource for inspirational modern speeches. We have featured several TED talks in speech critiques.

But, today, here’s a tongue-in-cheek look at how to create the ultimate TED talk from Sebastian Wernicke.

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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. Conor Neill says:

    I am glad the 5 step storytelling process resonates… it comes predominantly from practicing keeping my 3 year old daughter interested in my bedtime chatter 😉

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