Write your speech like Hemingway. Here’s how – and why.

Photograph of Ernest HemingwayWhat skills could you transfer to your public speaking, from other disciplines?

For instance, in my work as a learning designer, I’ve been heavily influenced by experts like Cathy Moore. While her advice is aimed at designers of e-learning, you might be surprised how much of it could also apply to your next talk or presentation.

Like to see an example? Try Cathy’s post called How to get everyone to write like Ernest Hemingway. (It’s under 800 words, so it’s only about a 3-minute read.)

 

What’s that for?

You could use that post to help with your speechwriting (or with writing slides or speaker notes). That’s because it shows how you can take these 2 steps:

Continue reading

Why use diagrams on your slides, not bullets? [Video]

Person sketching charts and diagramsHow much do you (or your colleagues) use bullet points on your slides?

Want to change that?

If so, I’ve a great resource for you. It’s a fascinating video by a design agency called M62 Vincis, showing how you can use very simple diagrams in place of bullet points.

Below, check out the 8-minute video, presented by their CEO, Nicci Take (formerly known as Nicholas Oulton).

It shows an example of how to transform a typical bullet-based slide into a simple diagram. And as Nicci shows, diagrams are far more engaging, memorable and effective than bullet points:
Continue reading

Make your slide explain “So what?” – Secret #13 of star presenters, by Jean-Luc Doumont [Video]

Check out this 1-minute video clip (from a 1-hour talk) by Jean-Luc Doumont. In the clip, the speaker critiques a shot of a sample slide (which is the white area on his own grey slide).

As you’ll see, the sample slide contains just its title and a simple chart:

Did you see how the sample slide’s title makes a classic (and very common) mistake? Namely, it simply “parrots” what’s on the slide, saying:

Evolution of the number of candidates 1989-2012

And sure enough, the chart on the slide offers no surprises: It’s a line graph labelled “Number of candidates” – with an x-axis from 1989 to 2012.

As the slide offers no surprises, and no insights, it’s of no interest to the audience. So, they’ll be turned off by it, and they’ll tune out.

Don’t make that mistake with your slides!

Don’t make that mistake with your slides!

As Jean-Luc pointedly asks:

Continue reading

Beyond the speaking venue – 3 ways to get talked about (F!RST framework, part 5)

Close-up of person's hands textingHow can you spread your message beyond the audience you’re speaking to?

Well, in the F!RST framework’s overview (which suggests 5 ways to be a top presenter), I wrote:

By getting talked about through social media and other channels, you can reach far more people who can champion your message.

In effect, that lets you “breathe new life” into your talk. So it’s fitting that getting talked about uses the mnemonic “CPR”…

In this post, then, you’ll find techniques you can use on social media and elsewhere to get your message talked about.

As you’ll see in a few moments, the techniques are arranged into these 3 pillars:
Continue reading

3 quick tips for better slides, by @NancyDuarte [Video]

Pad of unused, vividly coloured sticky notesIf you’d like 3 quick tips for making better slide presentations, here’s a 2-minute video inspired by Nancy Duarte, and made by HBR (Harvard Business Review):

See the video

The 3 tips are:

  1. Outline your deck on sticky notes first [0:30].
  2. Use diagrams to replace bullets [1:22].
  3. Reduce animation [2:00].

And those tips give you these benefits:
Continue reading

Want your talk ranked #1? Make it conversational – here’s how… [PACE approach, part 3]

Empty speech bubble on a vividly-coloured background(Short of time? See the tips now.)

Here’s one of the best ways to make your speech or presentation more successful: Make it conversational.

Why does that help? It lets you engage with your audience much more than if you used a one-way, “lecture-style” talk (where people feel they’re being talked at).

By making your talk conversational:

  • Your audience listens to you more carefully.
  • Your message affects people much more deeply.

In essence, making your talk more conversational means making it more like an everyday, two-way discussion, which involves your audience more.

But don’t worry – if you don’t have enough time to involve people overtly (or you don’t feel comfortable doing that yet), you can involve them more subtly.

You can involve your audience along a spectrum

In fact, you can involve your audience along a spectrum:

Continue reading

Don’t blame bullet points for bad presentations – too much of anything’s to blame

Close-up of angry man pointing at the viewer and shoutingAs I’m sure you know from bitter experience, poor presentations are very common. In fact, I’d say poor presentations are the norm, which means:

What a huge knock-on effect from presenters not getting their message across well!

Now, you’ve likely noticed that poor presentations almost always have lots of bullet points. So you might naturally assume that to be an effective presenter, you should ban all bullets from your slides.

But if you think that, I’m here to tell you: You’re wrong.

Continue reading

7 tips for speaking on camera – review of a @CharismaOn video

Seeing the faults in my own videos gave me a new apprecia-tion for the craft

Have you ever spoken on camera? I just finished a 30-day challenge of posting 1 new video every day on LinkedIn (as organised by Karen Moloney). Seeing the faults in my own videos gave me a new appreciation for the craft of speaking on camera!

Previously, I’d come across a great YouTube channel called Charisma on Command, presented by Charlie Houpert. His channel offers fantastic tips and insights about talking to people 1-on-1 (or in groups), and he’s very charismatic himself.

So I thought it’d be useful to review one of Charlie’s videos, as there’s a lot I can learn from him – and I hope you can too.

Before you read on, why not watch the 8-minute video I chose to review? While you watch, you might even like to jot down a few notes about what you think are the video’s stronger and weaker aspects, so you can then compare your notes with mine

Continue reading

Don’t speak on a topic. Speak for an outcome – Secret #12 of star presenters [Video]

Person looking at screen full of charts and informationWhen you present, are you at risk of focusing too much on your topic?

Usually, you’re chosen as the speaker (or as a subject-matter expert for a training project) because you’ve deep knowledge of your subject. But sadly, that means it’s all too easy for your audience to become overwhelmed or confused by the detailed knowledge you might try to present.

You and your audience see your topic differently

And even if your audience are as expert as you, they won’t have exactly the same background and perspective. So again, that makes it easy to lose them, because they see your topic differently from you.

What can you do then, to help bridge that gap between your listeners’ viewpoints and your own?
Continue reading

Improve each slide’s title – make your whole talk better

Set of four 35-millimetre slidesIn this post, you’ll find simple but effective techniques you can use to engage people more, and make your flow of ideas far clearer than with typical slide titles.

(Have you seen my post on how to grab attention with “ABCD” headlines? If so, you’ll know 4 ways I recommend you also use your whole talk’s title to capture people’s interest – even before you speak. The techniques used here are similar to the ones in that post, so if you’ve not seen it, you might want to check it out.)

In your slide titles, I suggest you use either of these powerful, deceptively simple tips:
Continue reading