Category: Media Training Tips


The Tempo Of Effective Public Speaking

Tempo is defined as “the pace or speed at which a section of music is played,” according to I think of tempo a lot during our presentation training sessions, particularly when a speaker is showing many examples.

Let’s say the speaker is discussing a photography exhibition and wants to show 15 different works. Too often, the speaker will establish a baseline tempo and keep to it throughout the entire talk. They’ll show an image, give the photo’s backstory for a couple of minutes, then show the next photo, talk for a couple of minutes, etc.

In this post, you’ll learn a better way to incorporate tempo.


Three Public Speaking Tips From The Curator Of TED Talks

I often compare TED Talks to Lay’s Potato Chips: no one can watch just one. More often than not, the talks, dedicated to spreading great ideas, are engaging, surprising, and even challenging.

So when Chris Anderson, the curator of the popular TED series, was interviewed on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show last week, I listened. Intently.

Anderson has a must-read book coming out next month called TED Talks: The Official TED Guide To Public Speaking. During the interview, he offered a few of the nuggets he’s picked up along the way.


How To Select A Presentation Training Firm

Lawyers, accountants, financial planners, and many other professionals are required to pass a test and receive a license before practicing their chosen careers.

No such requirements exist for presentation trainers—and although there are many terrific ones out there, the lack of third-party licensure can make it difficult for potential clients to separate the great coaches from the not-so-great ones.

This post, which contains nine key questions to ask, will help you select a qualified presentation training firm that fits your needs.


Show, Don’t Tell: Why It’s Best To Undersell | Public Speaking Tip

I recently worked with a speaker who began his talk by saying: “I have the coolest job in the world.”

His opening made me bristle. There was something about the line that felt both accusatory (my job is better than yours) and subjective (yes, your job sounds cool, but it’s not for me).

The speaker was making a mistake I see often in our workshops: he was telling, not showing. In this post, you’ll see two additional times speakers fall into that trap.

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New Eye Contact Research: Is 3.2 Seconds The Magic Number?

If you’ve ever been unsure about how long to maintain eye contact with members of your audience, you can be forgiven. The advice about how long you should lock your gaze with a single audience member is all over the map.

New research, intended to help clarify the question of ideal gaze times, suggests people are comfortable with exactly 3.2 seconds of eye contact.

I’m skeptical of that finding and have found that an over-focus on such prescriptive rules can hurt speakers. In this post, I’ll tell you why — and what you should do instead.


How To Change Someone’s Mind: Four Nuggets From New Research

Presentations and media interviews are usually intended as forms of persuasion. But given how resistant people are to change, how can you persuade someone to move to your side of an issue?

Researchers from Cornell University recently looked at how people in an online community were most effective at convincing others.

And while it’s true that the lessons from online discussions don’t transfer perfectly to in-person communication, what struck me was just how many of their findings coincide with the best practices of media interviewing and public speaking.


How Delta Airlines Got Passengers To Watch The Safety Video

Imagine you’re an airline communications executive facing a vexing problem: How can we get our passengers to pay attention to our pre-flight safety demonstration?

It’s a critical question that can mean the difference between life and death—but you know that many of your passengers are far too busy staring at their phones or reading books to look up.

Some airlines, recognizing that problem, have gotten creative with their safety demonstrations. On one recent Delta flight, they played this creative video.


Why You Should Take Advantage Of PowerPoint’s “Presenter View”

One of the most important insights we offer during our presentation training workshops is this: You lead the slides; don’t let the slides lead you.

Here’s what I mean by letting the slides lead you. Most speakers finish talking about their current slide, click to the next one, and then begin talking about that new slide.

But gifted speakers do something different. They set up the next slide before clicking to it. And there’s a tool that makes that task easier for them.

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