I have learned a great amount about public speaking and presentations from the articles of my fellow bloggers. I’ve created the ‘Blog Profile’ series as a way of saying thanks.
Blog Profile: Six Minutes Public Speaking
Six Minutes is the blog of public speaking expert Andrew Dlugan. A fellow engineer and Toastmaster, Andrew founded Six Minutes Public Speaking in 2007. His website is a great resource for public speaking enthusiasts everywhere. The website offers regular articles on speech writing, delivery techniques, PowerPoint and visuals, and speaker habits. I have linked to some of my favourite posts below.
25 Public Speaking Skills Every Speaker Must Have
In one of the earliest posts published on the site, Andrew compiled a list of 25 essential skills that every public speaker should have. The article has been updated with links to newer content that can help readers to develop those skills. Here are some of my favourite suggestions:
Research a topic: Good speakers stick to what they know. Great speakers research what they need to convey their message
Organise ideas logically: A well-organised presentation can be absorbed with minimal mental strain
Start strong and close stronger: The body of your presentation should be strong too, but your audience will remember your first and last words (if, indeed, they remember anything at all)
Punctuate words with gestures: Gestures should complement your words in harmony. Tell them how big the fish was, and show them with your arms
Connect with the audience: Eye contact is only the first step. Aim to have the audience conclude “This speaker is just like me!” The sooner, the better
17 Easy Ways to Be a More Persuasive Speaker
In this post, Andrew shares simple techniques that you can apply to become a more persuasive speaker. The three principles of persuasive speaking are making your message understandable, making it logical and making it real.
If your audience doesn’t understand you, they can’t be persuaded by you. To be an effective communicator, you’ve first got to be a clear communicator. To be a clear communicator, you must use words, phrases, examples, and visuals that are understandable, and you’ve got to deliver them at a pace that the audience can absorb.
Does what you are saying make sense? Does it pass the logical tests which your audience will be applying subconsciously? Concrete and specific details improve the strength of your arguments, and thus make your overall message more persuasive.
Speak Up! A Guide to Voice Projection
Vocal variety is often broken down into the 4 Ps: Pace, Pitch, Power, and Pause. Andrew’s post provides a detailed guide to power. Power is another word for volume, a key component of a powerful speaking voice. Check out the suggestions below on voice projection, and remember that “speaking up” means much more than simply making your voice louder.
You project your voice by allowing it to shine with your personality, and having confidence that you have something unique to say. You project your voice with passion for your message by setting a clear intention. And you project your voice by developing a resonant sound that is supported with your whole body through air and energy. When you do these three things, you will be heard.
8 Key Points for Perfect Presentation Practise
Practising a speech is an essential, and unavoidable part of preparing for the big day. Andrew’s post shares 8 simple guidelines for perfect practise. Here are some of the highlights:
When it comes to presenting, does practice make perfect? In a word, no. Practice makes permanent. Your goal should be to practice perfectly, not just practice. The more you do something, the more comfortable it feels – whether right or wrong. So, we need to do it right when we practice our presentations. The ability to articulate the message and connect with audience members is what counts – and perfect practice can make this happen.