Category: Presentation Training

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The New “Like So” App Counts Your Filler Words. Does It Work? recently ran a story about a new app called “LikeSo” that tracks verbal filler—crutch words such as “like,” “actually,” and “whatever.”

Because I’ve written a lot about verbal filler, I downloaded the app to try it out (it costs just 99 cents). The app is a good idea that adds something unique to the public speaking world, so I’m generally positive about it.

But while there are some things I like about the app, there are others I don’t.


A Brand New Way To Practice Your Presentations (Really!)

I’m generally skeptical of new technologies that purport to make you a better public speaker.

But a useful new product, called VirtualSpeech, allows you to download an app and practice your presentations in front of a “real” audience. Using the app, you can practice in front of animated people in a large auditorium, conference room, or small interview space.

I’m not very tech savvy but found the product easy to use. Here’s how it works — and when it can be helpful.


In The Washington Post: My Teleprompter Tips To Donald Trump

(July 12, 2016) Earlier today, Washington Post writer Philip Bump asked me to assess Donald Trump’s use of the teleprompter.

In this post, you’ll find excerpts of my interview, which contain the most important ideas I offer all speakers who use a teleprompter.

I also discuss a theory of mine that didn’t make the final cut—that Trump may win points just for using a teleprompter, regardless of whether of not he uses it well.


Two Common Storytelling Mistakes (And How To Fix Them)

During our presentation training workshops, we always emphasize the importance of narrative.

Stories, anecdotes, case studies, and analogies are stickier than abstract concepts—particularly for audiences that lack a depth of knowledge in your topic—and serve as easy memory hooks that draw audiences to your message.

Most of our trainees buy into the concept of using narrative during their talks—but they often make two mistakes that undercut its power. In this post, I’ll help you correct both mistakes.

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How To Be (And Why You Should Be) Skeptical Of Your Facts

Facts are funny things. Sometimes, we interpret them in a way that seems so obvious to us that we don’t even consider how someone could possibly view them differently.

That’s why it’s a good idea to go through the facts in our presentations, try to view them as a skeptical audience member might, and address any unhelpful interpretations before they take hold.

This post will show you where one recent speaker went wrong.


The “Yes, And…” Approach To Managing Audience Questions

In her book Bossypants, Tina Fey writes:

“The second rule of improvisation is not only to say yes, but YES, AND. You are supposed to agree and then add something of your own. If I start a scene with “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you just say, “Yeah…” we’re kind of at a standstill. But if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “Yes, this can’t be good for the wax figures,” now we’re getting somewhere.”

The “Yes, and…” approach applies not only to comedy, but to many of the questions you’ll field as a public speaker.


The Tempo Of Effective Public Speaking | Presentation Training

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.

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