Deliberate Practice in Public Speaking

Jan 10

As Malcolm Gladwell writes about in his popular book, “Outliers: The Story of Success,” an intensive practice regimen can result in people becoming stunning experts in surprising ways. There has been a lot of criticism of his points, most notably treating “10,000 hours of practice” as a magic number (and not simply an average of how long many...

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How Can I Give Better Impromptu Speeches?

Dec 23

Table Topics are often undervalued in Toastmasters. Sure, they’re fun. Sure, they are a great way to break the ice with people not yet comfortable giving a full speech. But Table Topics are far more valuable than that. In my opinion, they should be considered an opportunity to train our skills in delivering eloquent, well-structured speeches with little to no...

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The Importance of Authenticity

Jul 05

“Friends, Romans, Countrymen!” A common challenge for speakers as they get more experienced—and I’ve struggled with this myself—is to avoid the temptation to talk as we think orators “should” speak, bombastically thrusting our pronouncements upon the audience. Talking at people, not talking with them. It’s hard to...

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Speaking Tips from the author of the “Four Hour Work Week”

Mar 06

Tim Ferriss has established quite a reputation for himself as someone who accomplishes a lot, very quickly. Author of books like “The Four Hour Work Week” and “The Four Hour Body,” he explains how he plans his speeches. He admits his lack of speaking polish, but notes the prestigious speaking opportunities he’s had. It’s easy to...

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The Dr. Fox Effect

Feb 20

It wasn’t until recently that I read about the “Dr. Fox Effect,” but I immediately thought “that explains so much!” The Dr. Fox Effect is a term for the phenomenon where even highly intelligent, educated people will consider someone to be a great speaker and their presentation to be a great and valuable presentation if they are lively,...

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Why You Should Unhand Your Handouts

Aug 20

Your presentation handouts may be doing more harm than good, in a number of ways. They can be expensive. Each black-and-white page may cost 5-10 cents. Each color page may cost 25 cents to $1. Have a 20-page copy of your PowerPoint presentation? Expect 50 people to attend, but want 100 copies to be on the safe side? That could easily cost over $100. The ink is the...

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