Why I Loved Webstock and What Organizers Can Learn

in On Tour, Public Speaking

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking for a second time at Webstock in Wellington, New Zealand. Natasha Lampard, Mike Brown and all the organizers exemplify many of the great things event organizers should strive to achieve. They run an amazing event and as someone who writes often about speaking and events that have speakers, […]

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Q&A from Toughest Public Speaking Situations

in Public Speaking

Here’s the Q&A from today’s webcast on How To Overcome Tough Presentation Situations. If you tuned in, thanks for tuning! If you didn’t, you can watch it online here (you still have to register). You can download the slides (2MB PDF): How To Overcome the Toughest Public Speaking Situations from berkun Free things mentioned in […]

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What are the toughest public speaking situations?

in Public Speaking

On Tuesday 1/28 I’ll be doing a free, live webcast (register here) about public speaking, hosted by O’Reilly Media. NOTE: The webcast happened and you missed it. The slides and Q&A can be found here. In Confessions of A Public Speaker I explained how to deal with 17 difficult speaking situations. In the webcast I’ll coach you […]

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Seinfeld and The Heckler Therapist

in Public Speaking

It’s rare to get heckled when giving a lecture, yet it’s a top fear for many people. My own advice on dealing with hecklers is in the what to do when things go wrong chapter of Confessions of a Public Speaker. In short the best approach is to acknowledge them briefly, and politely ask them […]

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How to present well without slides

in Public Speaking

If you were having an important conversation with a friend at a restaurant, would you pull out a projector and put your slides on the wall while you talked to them? They’d think you were crazy (as would the people at other tables). Rather that look into your eyes or give full attention to your […]

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Updated: Speaking checklist for great talks (Printable)

in Public Speaking

I hired Eva Giselle to design a proper checklist based on the popular post, How To Prepare: Checklist for Great Talks. Here it is. You can read the original blog post. Or you can download the checklist here (1.2 MB PDF). It’s a great handout for event organizers to give to their speakers. Pass it on.

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Why I sit in the back row at conferences

in conferences, Public Speaking

Clay Hebert recently posted on the The Best Conference Hack, which is simply sitting in the front. As a frequent speaker I like Clay’s advice. For speakers the empty front row is mysterious and frustrating. Speakers make a huge commitment, yet audiences who have little at stake show their lack of faith by staying back. Unlike a […]

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Blame the speaker or the organizer?

in Public Speaking

Linda at Cook for Good asked me about Godin’s recent post Communication is a path, not an event: The other day, I heard the CEO of a large corporation drone on for twenty minutes. He was pitching a large group of strangers, reading them a long, prepared speech that was largely irrelevant to their needs. They […]

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Advice for speakers bored with their own material

in General, Public Speaking

A basic rule offered in Confessions of a Public Speaker is to pick material you care deeply about, since you can’t blame an audience for being bored if you are. But what I didn’t cover is what to do when you have to present the same material 300 times: how do you stay excited about […]

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How to run a good workshop

in Public Speaking, Teaching/Training

Workshops are hopeful things. They’re sold on so much promise, but that promise is often dashed as students discover their instructor has little idea how to teach anything. For years I was a workshop guy. I taught them, I studied them, I even hired people to do them for other companies. I watched many instructors […]

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The best books for public speakers

in Public Speaking

A feature of some of my books is a ranked bibliography. I review my research and rank the books that were most useful in order of usefulness. Here is the ranked bibliography from Confessions of a Public Speaker. Popular recent books like Reynold’s Presentation Zen and Duarte’s Slideology didn’t rank high on this list even […]

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Great talk: Life on a Möbius Strip

in Public Speaking, storytelling

One reason I rarely get excited about TED talks, although I do enjoy many of them, is I’m drawn towards the personal. For years I’ve been a bigger fan of the MOTH podcast, which is an evening of stories told without notes in from of live audiences. Although these talks are generally well presented, the […]

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99 second presentations

in Public Speaking

A running joke in the world of presentations is: how short can they be? They used to be an hour. Then TED went to 20 minutes, Pecha Kucha to 6, and Ignite to 5. The trend of short presentations has been on the rise for years and one wonders where it will stop. But then […]

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What I learned from Powerpoint Karaoke

in Public Speaking

Everyone has fears about regular public speaking, but what if you have to present someone else’s slides? And see them for the first time as the audience does? And only have 5 minutes? And the slides auto-advance? I believe in the theory of trying something insanely hard to make normal work feel easier. As a public speaking […]

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How to be a great host (at Ignite)

in Ignite / Pecha-Kucha, Public Speaking

Seattle Ignite, an evening of fast presentations similiar to Pecha Kucha, runs like clockwork. As the original and longest running Ignite event, the dedicated team of volunteers has done nearly 20 events with thousands of attendees, and many events were simultaneously live-streamed to the world. One link in the chain is the host. They have to get up […]

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Why I hate Prezi

in Public Speaking

One of the many jokes about Powerpoint is how much time people who use it spend picking transitions between slides. They spend more time picking out animations, and which wipe effects to use, than they do thinking about what goes on the slides themselves. Or what their audience needs to learn and how best to […]

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Commutapult: the great commute of the future

in Public Speaking

I’m often baffled by which things online are popular, as it has little to do with what’s good. The most popular ignite talk seems to be How to Buy a Used Car, which is a good topic, but the talk itself disappoints. It’s not delivered well enough, nor the content good enough, to be worthy of its […]

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my NPR interview about great speeches

in Public Speaking

Yesterday I was interviewed on NPR about great commencement speeches, and presentations in general. They had me on for the hour and we talked about Steve Job’s Stanford speech, a diferent speech commonly called the worst of all time, as well as lots of general advice on all kinds of speaking. Thanks to the Regina […]

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