Article Category: Weekend Reviews

Public Speaking Tips: Weekend Review [2010-07-31]

Week In Review

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

This review features topics including:

  • storytelling points;
  • technical speaking challenges;
  • speech editing;
  • warming up your voice;
  • vocal projection;
  • delivery versus discussion;
  • handouts;
  • using the iPad while speaking;
  • Dilbert on speaking fear;
  • and more!


  • Doug Stevenson offers a two-part lesson on distilling the point of your stories. Part 1 is an introduction and reader challenge; part 2 reports on submissions and provides commentary. Challenge yourself!

Rather than giving you the point of the story, I want to ask you what you think the point could or should be. What did you take away from the story? What was the lesson for you?

Once you’ve narrowed down what you think the lesson is, challenge yourself to translate the lesson into a Phrase That Pays. Turn the lesson or the point of the story into a call to action. Start the Phrase That Pays with a verb, and use six words or less.

  1. First, let it rest.
  2. Edit for content.
  3. Edit for organization.
  4. Edit for style.
  5. Edit for language.
  6. Edit for grammar.
  • Mark Tamer suggests “closing the loop” — closing your speech by referring back to the opening words.

[…] the exceptional presenter stops for questions several minutes before the conclusion of her presentation. After responding to questions and inviting the thoughts of others, she delivers her strong closing (the message she wants her audience to repeat long after her presentation) […] Closing the loop can be as easy as rephrasing your opening statement.

Delivery Techniques

  • Kate Peters explains how to warm up your voice.

It takes a good thirty minutes to warm up most voices.  Set that time aside before you go on.  In addition, spend as much time off stage practicing as you are going to spend on stage presenting.  That means, if your talk is an hour long, you need to practice an hour a day for a week or two before presenting. If you regularly give presentations that are four or more hours long, as trainers do, you need to make sure you keep your voice healthy with a daily work out, but you also need to make sure you get some vocal rest in between presentations.

  • Lisa Braithwaithe discusses tips for vocal projection.

Vocal projection is not so much about being louder as it is about placement. When you are not projecting your voice, it’s because you are speaking to a space right in front of your face. Projection just means that, instead of focusing at a point right in front of you, you focus on a point farther away.

Visual Aids

  • Brent Dykes analyzes presentation timelines and advocates devoting ample time for discussion.

Two-way communication is generally encouraged for most presentations. However, communication between audience members can be equally or more valuable than just communication between a presenter and his/her audience. The next time you present in a smaller business setting ensure that you leave ample time for discussion, and you’ll see a difference in the action and success your presentation is able to drive. Don’t let PowerPoint slides interrupt a good discussion!

  • Jonathan Thomas offers a tongue-in-cheek look at bad PowerPoint advice.
  1. That font is too big.
  2. I realize this graph is confusing.  How about we make it so small and have it appear and disappear so quickly that the audience only gets a glimpse of it.
  3. I know the presentation looks better with images and less text, but I need my bullet points to remember what I’m talking about.
  4. Don’t worry about the number of slides.  If I can’t get to them all, I’ll just skip the last few.
  5. Make sure my logo, website, and phone number is on every slide.

Speaker Habits

  • Olivia Mitchell delivers 13 tips for effective presentation handouts.
  1. Prepare your handouts in plenty of time.
  2. Don’t just print out your slides.
  3. Ensure your handout reflects your presentation.
  4. Add more information.
  5. Include references.
  6. Consider creating an action sheet.
  7. Make your handout stand-alone.
  8. Provide whitespace.
  9. Make your handout look professional.
  10. Consider what additional resources you can provide for your audience.
  11. Consider creating a web page.
  12. Distribute the handout at the beginning of your presentation.
  13. Do tell people if it’s not in the handout.
  • Phil Waknell follows up with another perspective on handouts. In particular, he advocates giving out the handouts at the end of the presentation.

Therefore if you tell the audience at the start that you will give them a full set of notes afterwards, so they can concentrate on you and your subject in a proper connected communication session, they will thank you, and they will actually learn more because they are truly listening, not just trying to transcribe.

The iPad and the Speaker

  • Gavin Meikle analyzes the usefulness of an iPad while speaking.

The iPad is a fantastic tool and it’s uses are developing all the time. I love it for note taking, planning, organising and mind mapping but it’s not quite there yet as a full blown presentation tool.

  • Jan Schultink reports on using an iPad for a 1-on-1 presentation.

[…] not a perfect experience, but I am learning.

Dilbert and Public Speaking Fear

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