Oh joy! My absolute favorite public speaking blog is back in full force. Over the past few weeks, Andrew Dlugan, curator of Six Minutes, has been blogging up a storm and providing readers with all new excellent articles, insights, and resources on all things public speaking nerd. I am busy grading 130 new assignments before my upcoming college visits trip with my mother and sister (eek! My sister is an adult!), but I wanted to share three of my favorite recent offerings from Six Minutes:
This has been a topic at the forefront of my mind for a few months. As a teacher, I don’t expect to make the big bucks, and for me, teaching in a place that enriches my existing skill set and helps me make a different in others’ lives is really what motivates my creativity. However, I am also determined to return to school for my PhD or EdD without incurring any more student loan debt. So, I’ve been consulting with family and friends about monetizing Tweak Your Slides and offering my design and consulting services. Dlugan’s article is focused primarily on making money as a speaker, but his advice to explore the world of corporate training where “training professionals collectively earn the largest fraction of the speaking industry’s dollars (Source)” because of the length and frequency of sessions, is right in line with not only my existing skills but also can further grow my skills as educator and designer. Do you design or speak for money? Does Dlugan’s advice work in your case? What was your journey to monetized public speaking nerdness like?
Transitions, those little bridges we remember are so important in writing (partly because written language gives us more verbal cues that something is ending and beginning–periods, paragraphs, indentations) but that we sometimes forget about in speech, are the subject of this article. Transitions are necessary but they are also rather magical. Without transitions, a speech can seem disjointed and disconnected; an audience in turn leaves the presentation unsure of how the individual pieces in the presentation lead to the whole “big idea.” In this article, Dlugan describes not only the uses of transitions (help create flow, show relationships between ideas, and help with comprehension) but also provides readers with a handy list of transitional phrases that communicate different relationships/serve different purposes.
The final article I’d like to share with readers today is about the somewhat forgotten yet remarkably effective presentation tool, the prop. Thousands of presentations are delivered each day, and chances are that only a small fraction of those move outside of the now standard and often dreaded expectation of PowerPoint. But, as Dlugan points out, using a prop well, as Bill Gates did in his 2009 TED talk, can completely change an audience’s perception of not only a speaker’s message but the speaker himself. In this article, Dlugan cite six reasons to consider the power of the prop in a presentation:
1. Props are concrete (this is so important in a speech, where the main mode of communication is verbal, which is by nature more abstract than visual.)
2. Props are unexpected (as Chip and Dan Heath explain, unexpectedness is one key mark of a truly sticky idea!)
3. Props are emotional (because they are visceral, they bring up all kinds of sensory associations untapped by a word or visual or bullet-riddled death machine).
4. Props are dramatic (Have you seen Bill Gates open up that jar of mosquitos? Jill Bolte Taylor interact with a real brain in her TED talk? People cannot help but physically react when a speech enters the realm of the tangible!)
5. Props require preparation (and a prepared presenter is a more effective, confident, and engaging presenter!)
6. Props are memorable (four years after a student persuaded us to do something about gang violence by sharing the story of her friend, who’d been killed in an initiation, what I remember most about that story is the way she held a single golf club–the same type of club her friend used to defend himself in the attack that killed him.)
Read the rest of the article here for more on how to choose a strong prop and harness the untapped power of unexpectedness!