Article Category: Weekend Reviews

Public Speaking Tips:
Weekend Review #81

Week In Review


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

This review features topics including:

  • convention speech flashbacks;
  • persuasive speaking;
  • speech critiques;
  • being charismatic;
  • PowerPoint and Star Wars;
  • making money from speaking;
  • speaker gifts;
  • and more!

From the Six Minutes Archives

Two Years Ago…

Recently on Six Minutes…


  • John Zimmer critiques a thought-provoking TED talk by Elif Shafak, shown below.
    [Ed. I’m listing it this week, not only for John’s probing critique, but also for the lessons in storytelling that all speakers can gain from Elif’s presentation.]

Delivery Techniques

  • John Kinde suggests that laughter is contagious.

In my opinion, a common comedy myth is that humor plays best in a dark room.  I definitely feel that you’ll get more laughs if the room is lit.  People need to see each other to maximize the laughter. […]

The contagious nature of laughter requires that you master the pause.   An audience response will never be instantaneous.  You’ll need to be patient for the contagious element of your audience response to kick in.  In fact, with a really large audience, you may notice the wave-effect as laughter rolls over the audience.

  • Nick Morgan gives a video explanation of 4 steps to being a more charismatic speaker.

Visual Aids

  • Garr Reynolds provides a humorous look at PowerPoint in Star Wars.

A long time ago — before PowerPoint was invented — in a galaxy far, far away, leaders gave presentations backed by large electronic wall displays. […] Notice how he uses the entire wide screen to display only visual information […] Notice too how he has gathered the [audience] close to the front, how he himself stands close to the back-lit screen (even slightly in front of it at times), and maintains eye-contact with the audience, occasionally pointing to key areas of the animation on screen.

  • Brent Dykes provides a tutorial on using shadow effects in PowerPoint 2007.

PowerPoint ninjas ensure their shadows are consistent. Approach shadow effects as though the imaginary light source casting the shadow is always in the same position on the slide (e.g., top left corner). In other words, find a favorite style and use it consistently across your slides — same intensity, same angle.

Speaker Habits

  • Denise Graveline explains why you should greet your audience at the door.
  • It’s a great grace note that will make you memorable.
  • You’re adding value to their experience.
  • You’ll hear more from the introverts.
  • It works for introvert and extrovert speakers.
  • You’re warming them up better than any bad joke can.
  • You have a better chance of sharing your business cards.
  • You can assess the mood of the room.
  • It’s the best introduction you can get.

Professional Speaking

  • Barbara Haislip writes that speaking can be a lucrative path to more business.

Give a speech. Win a client.

As simple—or even scary—as that formula sounds, a host of entrepreneurs have found that conquering public speaking can be the route to more contacts and customers. Impressing people with your expertise at a conference, in a classroom or over the radio can sometimes win more business than making sales calls or manning a booth at a trade show. Not to mention that the most successful speakers can take home thousands of dollars in fees for an appearance.

  • John Watkis questions the heavy costs associated with poor speaking skills.

How much money are you losing because of poor public speaking skills and lack of preparation? How much credibility are you losing because your speeches are boring? How badly is the reputation of your organization suffering because the executives are simply horrible when they give a speech? […]

There was  $750,000 on the table, but the speaker gave a $10 speech. He wasn’t prepared and he wasn’t interesting. […] Poor public speaking and lack of preparation cost him … big time!

  • Laura Bergells delights with an unusual story with a great lesson about giving meaningful speaker gifts.
    [Ed. One of the best workplace gifts I ever received was a box of Smarties from a co-worker, months after I mentioned that I liked them. I still have the empty box on my office wall.]

However, you’ve really got a challenge when you give a speaker gift. […]

[…] One of the keys of giving a truly thoughtful gift is to listen to your speaker. If you’re hiring someone to speak at your event or for your organization, read their blog. Follow them on FaceBook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Watch for that offhand comment — it may be about a mackerel, a passion for falconry, adventures in beekeeping — who knows? Once you know a little bit more about your speaker, you can find something more personal that the leftover SWAG that’s been gathering dust in your office.


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