Article Category: Weekend Reviews

Public Speaking Tips: Weekend Review #83

Week In Review


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

This review features topics including:

  • 7 deadly sins of public speaking;
  • how to deliver the talk of your life;
  • a critique of the YouTube sensation speech by Phil Davison;
  • tips for better eye contact;
  • posture and authenticity;
  • slide makeovers;
  • how to work a room;
  • and more!

From the Six Minutes Archives

One Year Ago from Six Minutes

Recently on Six Minutes…


  • Olivia Mitchell lists 7 types of presentations to avoid, including:

The “grab bag” presentation is one where the presenter has a miscellany of points which are only loosely related to each other and appear in no structured order. I’ve seen highly experienced, professional speakers fall into the trap of the “grab bag” presentation.

The solution to the grab bag presentation is to plan your presentation around a key message. That provides you with focus.

Delivery Techniques

  • John Zimmer critiques a political candidate’s speech by Phil Davison, which you can view below.
    [Ed: You really must see this speech as it provides ample examples of what not to do. John’s critique evaluates it skillfully.]

  • Olivia Mitchell  suggests ways to look more authoritative.

Having to deliver a presentation to people who are older than you, more important than you, or more expert than you, can make you doubt yourself. To look more credible and authoritative, do the opposite of what a person lacking in confidence would do.

  • Stephanie Scotti offers 10 tips for better eye contact.

Remember, a presentation is more than a one-way communication; it’s a dialogue with your audience.  As you scan the audience, they are communicating with their eyes, their body language and their facial expressions.  Take advantage of this non-verbal communication and adjust your delivery accordingly.

  • Nick Morgan demonstrates how posture impacts your authenticity.

PowerPoint and Visuals

  • Jonathan Thomas offers 5 tips to avoid reading your slides.

Whenever I speak to someone about presentations, especially those who aren’t presentation designers, their biggest pet peeve as audience members is when presenters read directly off the slide.  Doing so is a pretty big insult to your audience.  You’re basically telling them that you simply don’t know what you’re talking about and thus have to read.

  • Rick Altman describes the three-word challenge as a means for reducing text on slides.

[…] clean up [each] slide by mentally reducing each bullet point down to three words. Ditch the adjectives, jettison the pronouns, eliminate the flotsam.

Even with your sharpest knife, you might not be able to cut all the way down to three words, but the reward is in the effort.

  • Lisa Braithwaite gives a before-and-after example of how to re-invent a bullet slide to a series of visual slides.

Instead of giving your audience a reason to be reading ahead and not paying attention to what you’re talking about at that moment, divide up your slide into its separate ideas. […]

Don’t be afraid to spread out your ideas, giving each one the focus and attention it deserves, and keeping audience distractions to a minimum.

Speaker Habits

  • Jim Anderson asserts that good speakers know how to work a room.

Speakers who want to be successful know that they have to connect with their audience. How to do this is the ultimate question that we’ve struggled with for years. I’m not claiming that I have all of the answers, but when I recently gave a keynote speech I had a chance to practice my “working the room” skills…

  • Kathy Reiffenstein gives techniques to keep a presentation fresh when you have to deliver it over and over again.

How do you keep a presentation fresh when you deliver it over and over and over?

The key to success…and the most difficult thing to accomplish…is staying totally present and connected to the audience. Extreme familiarity with your content can cause you to sound like a robot as you deliver your remarks from memory; however, it can also give you the comfort and security to free you up to be fully engaged with your audience.

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