2 Minute Talk Tips

2 Minute Talk Tips helps you improve your public speaking. Each episode starts with a 2 minute, practical tip so you get value right from that start. After that, we have a deeper discussion about issues affecting public speakers. We talk about Speaking, PowerPoint, relating to an audience, stand-up comedy, storytelling, preparation, and much more. If you've got only 2 minutes, you have time to learn stuff. If you have more time, we've got more detail. Public speaking is an important skill to have in any role that requires good communications skills. Anyone who has spent a lot of time in meetings will agree, and they will likely bemoan the lack of effective speakers. The good news is that developing strong public speaking skills isn't hard. Between books, podcasts, seminars, and meetups there are plenty of resources that can help. A lot of folks are intimidated by the idea, though. They think that to learn public speaking, they need to become the next Tony Robbins, Ronald Reagan, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, or Cicero. That's not true, though. Don't focus on being the best speaker ever. Instead, become a better speaker tomorrow. And do that every day. That's the pathway to success. Don't get best…get better. I'm Bill Monroe. I've built a career on public speaking and training. In my work at Microsoft and Toshiba, I used these skills to teach folks how to sell technology products and to excite them about those products. I've worked with customers in the retail, public sector, and corporate industries as a technology evangelist. Yet, while I've been conducting presentations for more than 25 years, I'm still learning and improving. I believe everyone -- from novice to expert -- can become a better speaker. Sometimes that requires small changes. Other times it requires more deliberate strategic decisions. With 2 Minute Talk Tips we can all become a little better every day.
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May 30, 2017

2 Minute Tip: Memorize Your Intro

  Think back to a recent presentation you saw. Do you remember how it started? What do you remember about the speaker's effectiveness?  Do you remember more about the beginning of the presentation or the middle of it?  The first 2-3 minutes of a presentation are critical. That's when you have to hook your audience so they'll join you for the rest of your journey. You can make your intro stronger by memorizing it.  With a memorized introduction, you:  
  • Already know how the words flow together
  • Don't waste time on filler words like "um" and "ah"
  • Project more confidence
  • Make eye contact with more people
  Plus, as you memorize your intro while you prep your presentation, you can continue to revise and sharpen it further.   When you memorize your intro you put yourself in the best position to be successful.  

Post Tip Discussion: Learn from Lincoln

  In light of the Memorial Day weekend we just had, I decided to take a look at the Gettysburg address.  Lincoln gave his famous speech at the dedication for a cemetery for veterans of the Civil War killed during the Battle of Gettysburg just a few month earlier. President Lincoln wasn't even the featured speaker that day, but his short speech has endured in the American consciousness.  What can speakers learn today from what the President said in 1863?  
  • Be brief
  • Keep revising
  • Tie everything back to your theme
  You can learn more about the Gettysburg address in this Wikipedia article.   The closing music on this episode is the Molly Lewis Song, "Our American Cousin" from the album, "I made you a CD, but I eated it." Molly has links to her various albums, projects, social media and more at  

Call To Action:

  • Tell us your thoughts on the Gettysburg Address or on other historic speeches where you find inspiration in the comments below. Or you can email Bill @ You can also find me on Twitter @CurrentlyBill
  • If you liked this episode, share it with your friends through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or the social network of your choice.
  • Check out Molly Lewis and her music at
  • If you heard anything incorrect about the Gettysburg Address, please let me know, and edit the Wikipedia page as appropriate
  • Memorize your next introduction
  • Learn what you can from President Lincoln
  • Don't get best...get better
May 23, 2017

2 Minute Tip: Where Can We Learn More?

  It's highly unlikely any of us as speakers will be in a situation where someone wants us to tell them absolutely everything we know, along with the background on all those details and to do it in one super long session. They may still want the information; they just don't want to sit through it all and neither do I. To make things easier for your more enthusiastic audience members, include a slide or develop a handout that tells your audience members where they can go to get more information.   That information can go well beyond the details of your presentation, and it can come from a wide assortment of sources like:  
  • Books
  • Websites
  • Social Media Feeds
  • Podcasts
  • Archived Interviews
  • ...and many more
  By pulling together the resources that informed your recent project you are also curating content for your audience, establishing your credibility, and becoming a great digital citizen.  

Post Tip Discussion: Manage Audience Expectations

  In every presentation, there are expectations. Whether it's a successful presentation or not really depends on who defines those expectations. As a speaker, you want that to be you. If not, your audience will set expectations, and you won't know what they are. There are five areas to consider when looking at expectations. They are:  
  1. Teach your audience to listen to you
  2. Set basic expectations around the logistics for short and long sessions.
  3. Manage the expectations in your content
  4. Use the BLUF technique
  5. Understand the risk of holding back for a big reveal.
  The BLUF technique, or "bottom line up front," is one I learned about from the folks over at Manager Tools and Career Tools. They're both excellent podcasts worth checking out.  

Call To Action:

  • Tells us your thoughts on managing audience expectations in the comments below, or email me at Bill @  You can also reach out to me via Twitter @CurrentlyBill
  • If you liked this episode, share it with your friends through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or the social networks of your choice
  • Check out Manager Tools and Career Tools
  • Don’t get best…get better
May 16, 2017

2 Minute Tip: Use a Call To Action

  If you've ever left a meeting and wondered, "What now?" the speaker probably did not use a Call To Action. The Call To Action tells the audience what the speaker would like it to do. That could include things like:  
  • Take concrete steps
  • Consider some new ideas
  • Implement a plan
  • Develop a plan
  • Change its mind
  • ...and more.
  As a speaker, you want to start with your Call To Action, and then build the rest of your presentation around it. This makes it easier for your audience to know what it should do and to act on your presentation.  

Post Tip Discussion: Prepare for Losing a Laptop

  In the Spring of 2017, the US began banning laptops and tablets from the passenger cabin of US bound flights on certain Middle Eastern airlines from certain Middle Eastern Airports.  According to Bloomberg, this ban could extend to all flights originating in Europe. There's always the potential the ban could spread further.   All laptops and tablets will need to go into checked baggage. Most airlines, however, do not accept responsibility for electronics in checked bags.  If a laptop or tablet is stolen, lost, or damaged in checked luggage, the airline is not responsible. Plus, even if a laptop arrives safe and sound, it's still possible to have a hardware or software failure before a big presentation.  A speaker to have contingency plans in place in the event they can't use their laptop. One way to organize these contingencies is to split them into Content Solutions and Hardware Solutions.  
  • Content Solutions:
    • Know your slides so well you don't need them
    • Store your deck on a flash drive
    • Store your deck in the cloud
    • Email your deck to an on-site contact
    • Export your deck to JPEG
  Content is only half the solution. It needs to be paired with a hardware solution.  
  • Hardware Solutions:
    • Consider a "burner" laptop
    • Make a late night retail run
    • Borrow a PC
    • Use your smart phone
    • Ship your gear on ahead

Call To Action:

  • Use a Call To Action for all your presentations
  • Prepare for losing a laptop -- just in case
  • Add your favorite laptop loss contingency plans to the comments below
  • If you liked this episode, share it with your friends through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or the social networks of your choice
  • Don't get best...get better
May 9, 2017

2 Minute Tip: Practice without Slides

  No matter how much we plan, things go wrong at times. When they do, we may not always have time to correct them. If your computer crashes while you're in the middle of a presentation, would you be able to continue without using your slides?  It's important to practice delivering your content without any slides so that if things go wrong, you are prepared. As a side bonus, this helps you learn your material better. When you know your material better, you are more confident, and you can focus more on your audience. You won't be distracted wondering which slide comes next.  

Post Tip Discussion: Deal with your Writer's Block

  Writer's block (or writers' block depending on the exact context or mood of my Facebook friends) is something all content creators have to deal with at various times. This week, I talk about ten ways to deal with it:  
  1. Go Small
  2. Use a picture
  3. Go back to your outline
  4. Pretend you are answering a question
  5. Try a different medium
  6. Engage your audience
  7. Write badly
  8. Take a nap
  9. Ask yourself if you're done
  10. Once you break thru, keep going
  One of my favorite techniques for dealing with my writer's block comes from Robert Pirsig in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." When stumped about writing an essay about a street in a town, a character learns to write about just one brick in one building in that town and then move on to the next brick. It's a powerful tool.  

Call To Action:

  • Check out "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
  • Share you favorite tips for dealing with your writer's block in the comments below
  • Share this episode with your friends with the "Share this:" option below
  • Practice without your slides
  • Deal with your writer's block
  • Don't get best...get better
May 2, 2017

2 Minute Tip: Bring an Extra Shirt

  Stuff happens as we go about life. We spill (and sadly waste) coffee. Our co workers spill things on us. We perspire more than we'd like. And, yet, we still need to stand up in front of a crowd and speak.  That's why is so important to have a spare shirt in your office, car, or presentation bag. You never know when you'll need a quick wardrobe change. Even if you never need to use that spare shirt, you can be more confident just because you know it's there.  

Post Tip Discussion: Use the Tools Available

  Amplification, Teleprompters, and Wheels are great innovations that can help us be more effective speakers. Of course, they're only useful is we actually use them. Too many speakers avoid these tools because they say they don't need them. Often, this is ego. They don't want to be seen as needing these tools.  That's just silly. These tools help the audience. They give the audience a better experience. They give the production team a better experience.  And they make the speaker more effective. That's what matters most.   For additional tips on how and why to use a teleprompter, check out Dallas Prompter.  

Call to Action:

  • What devices help you to be more effective? What other thoughts do you have on this topic? Let us know in the comments below
  • Subscribe to 2 Minute Talk Tips in you favorite podcast app, and tell a friend
  • Bring an extra shirt
  • Use your tools
  • Don't get best...get better.
Apr 25, 2017

This Week's Tip: Do you Need that Animation?

  PowerPoint has lots of amazing animations and transitions. Unfortunately, many slide authors use too many of them. When a slide deck has too many animations it looks cheesy and amateurish.  It can also cause problems if you want to print slides or present via a webinar.  If you want to use transitions and animations in a slide deck, first ask, "Why?" or ask, "What will this animation do for me?" Think about how it will help you make your point, or think about how it will help your audience understand what you are telling them.   If it doesn't contribute to your message -- if it doesn't make you more effective -- leave it out.  

Post Tip Discussion: Speak Deliberately

  Many of things we do, we do on autopilot. We walk, talk, drive, watch TV, and snack without actually thinking about it. It's like we have background computer scripts running in our brains while we focus on other things. This can be helpful for some tasks, but it's not helpful for others.   A speaker is more effective when they speak deliberately. That means they should:  
  1. Break rules deliberately
  2. Move deliberately
  3. Use silence deliberately
  Being deliberate means thinking about the things you say and do one stage and doing and saying those things for a reason.  And that makes you more effective.  

Call To Action:

  • What are your thoughts on acting deliberately? What scripts often run in the back of your brain? What are you favorite deliberate steps to take? Let us know in the comments below
  • Subscribe to 2 Minute Talk Tips in you favorite podcast app
  • Tell a friend about 2 Minute Talk Tips
  • Speak deliberately
  • Make sure you need that animation
  • Don't get best ... get better.
Apr 18, 2017

This Week's Tip: Plan to Punt

  It would be great if speakers always got the amount of time they thought they would get when they arranged to speak. If they did, they could easily cover all the content in a well designed presentation. The problem is that often, the amount of time a speaker has will change at the last minute. To effectively manage your public speaking engagements, know ahead of time what to punt.   Whether you lose time due to other speakers going over, the audience needing a break, or even an awesome question, you can be a more effective speaker if you know what to cut ahead of time. Have a plan so your audience doesn't see you scrambling. Remember, it's better to cut material and give the remaining material the attention it deserves than it is to burn through slides in a blur.  

Break Comments

  This week (April 17) I joined Jon Clarke on his podcast Caffeinated Comics. If you enjoy geeky and nerdy stuff, check it out. We talk about Doctor Who, Star Wars, MST3K, and more. You can learn more about Caffeinated Comics on Facebook here, and you can check out the blog and all the episodes here.  

Post Tip Discussion

  Spring time is the start of convention season. Whether the conferences that pop up are fan based, industry based, or corporate based, they are a great chance to get together to learn new things and meet new people. A staple of the convention is the panel discussion.   A panel discussion is a different type of public speaking. Usually 3 or more speakers or experts will be on the stage at a table, while one person hosts and moderates the panel. The job of the moderator is to keep the conversation moving, to ensure the speakers can share their perspectives, and to manage the audience Q&A. It requires a specific set of skills.   This week, Jon Clarke returns to 2 Minute Talk Tips to teach us how to moderate a panel. Jon is a freelance writer, director, and copywriter with nearly 20 years of experience in the advertising industry. His portfolio includes work for Verizon, Lenovo, Jim Beam, and some of the country’s leading pharmaceutical companies. On weekends he is Bono for Without U2, the popular Midwest U2 cover band.   As a pop culture expert, Jon has moderated panels at science fiction conventions, written a comic book, produced YouTube videos that have reached hundreds of thousands of viewers, and performed as a Stand-Up Comedian in New York. In 2013 he launched the Caffeinated Comics podcast, reporting on all the geeky activities in the Chicagoland area. He previously appeared on Episode 003 of 2 Minute Talk Tips.   You can learn more about and engage with Jon here:   Here are 10 tips Jon shares in this interview:
  1. If the panel is about the history of a topic, be sure to pick out a few dates you can go to if you need to move the discussion along
  2. If it's a stylistic panel, and the conversation is going in only one direction, try flipping it around and asking, "What's the opposite of that?"
  3. Before the panel, make sure you check Google or Wikipedia to see what they have to say about the other panel members
  4. Remember, it's not your place to tell stories. It's your place to listen to stories
  5. Be in the moment
  6. Don't ask questions just because you wrote them. Follow the actual conversation
  7. Limit follow-ups during Q&A so the audience member doesn't become an unofficial member of the panel
  8. Wrap up the panel buy summarizing the common theme that's come out of it because a conversation has just been created. What will we take with us?
  9. Ask the guests, "How do we find you online?"
  10. Thank the audience

Call to Action

  • What do you think makes a great panel host? What has been your favorite panel discussion? Tell us in the comments below or leave a voice mail at 650-Talk-Tip (650-825-5847)
  • Subscribe to 2 Minute Talk Tips in your favorite podcast app and tell a friend
  • Consider what to punt before your next presentation
  • Don't get best...get better.
Apr 11, 2017

This Week's Tip: Count Filler Words

  Filler words are the ums and ahhs and likes and verys of a speech. One or two are okay, but a bunch of them will annoy an audience. We usually say them while our brain tries to catch up with our mouth.   An effective speaker uses few of these since they don't help the speaker. To get rid of them, you first need to understand how many of them you use.   Listen to a recording of one of your presentations and count how many times you use a filler word. Alternatively, you can ask a partner to listen to one of your live sessions while you speak, and they can count them for you. Next, divide the number of filler words by the number of minutes in your speech. This will give you the number of filler words per minute which makes it easier to compare your performance from a 10 minute presentation to a 30 minute presentation.   Once you have that key metric, then you can set a goal to reduce the filler words that you use.  

Post Tip Discussion: Raise your Energy Level

  We're all familiar with the high energy presenter who bounces around the stage, waving their arms, and loudly celebrating every slide.   That's not the only type of high-energy presenter, though. A speaker can also demonstrate high-energy through a more intense, focused, and quiet style.  It's not about being shy or low-key. It's about being quietly, intensely, deliberate in conveying a message.   That's good because high energy of whichever type is important in a speech. Higher energy levels show the audience you care, make it easier to take the audience on a journey, keep the audience awake, facilitate audience connections, and make the speaker more compelling.   There are several things speakers can do to increase their energy levels.  
  • Know your stuff
  • Pace, stretch, do Jumping Jacks or generally move around back stage
  • Refocus on a core message
  • Vary your pitch, volume, and pace

Call To Action:

  • What is your presentation style like? Why does it work for you? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Subscribe to 2 Minute Talk Tips in your favorite podcast app
  • Count your filler words
  • Raise your energy level
  • Don't get best...get better
Apr 4, 2017

This Week's Tip: Face your Audience

  It may seem obvious that the speaker should face the audience, but we're probably all been in sessions where the speaker keeps turning  away from the audience to reach and watch their slides. Each time they advance the show, they turn their back to the audience again so they can read to their audience or just figure out what point to touch on next. An audience does not usually appreciate staring at a presenter's back for 20-90 minutes.   To make sure you always face your audience, do 2 things. 
  • Make sure your laptop display faces you while you speak to the audience. It shouldn't be against a wall facing the audience
  • Know your slides well enough so that you don't need to read them to make the point you want to make. A glance should be all you need

Post Tip Discussion: The Job's not Done until the Paperwork is Done

  The presentation doesn't end the moment the speaker leaves the stage. There is a lot of value a speaker can generate from their own post-event reporting. In this week's episode, I explore that idea in greater detail.  
  1. Why should you report on an event?
    1. If there's no report, it didn't happen. Creating reports gives you greater accountability, confirmation to your supervisor that it happened, and opportunity to praise you team for their assistance. It's also helpful when you compile your annual review months down the road.
    2. It helps preserve institutional memory of events. This is especially important for annual and semi-annual recurring events.
    3. It's a great way to keep track of follow-up items
    4. It helps you become a better presenter by keeping track of the things you can improve on
  2. When should you compile your reports?
    1. Immediately or ASAP.
    2. Reports will not get any better with time. Details will start to fade after a few hours.
  3. How do you compile data for reports?
    1. Make notes during a session.
    2. Review your slides.
    3. Repeat the question when an audience member asks one.
    4. Listen to a recording of your session.
    5. Things about the folks who approached you after a session.
  4. What should you include in your reports?
    1. Logistics
      1. Date
      2. Place
      3. Time
      4. Presenter names
      5. Number of attendees
    2. Summary of the event
      1. General description
      2. Operational details
      3. Stories of things that happened
    3. Feedback
      1. How the audience responded
      2. Comments the audience made with verbatim comments
      3. Opinions folks offered about your content or presentation style
    4. List of questions
      1. Questions you were able to answer
      2. Questions you were not able to answer
    5. Follow-up items
      1. Each item you need to follow-up on
      2. Post event To Do list
    6. Pictures
      1. Any pictures, videos, or multimedia from the session

Call To Action

  • What best practices do you have for post-event reporting? How do you compile reports? Please let us know in the comments below.
  • Please subscribe to 2 Minute Talk Tips in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode.
  • Face your audience.
  • Do your reports.
  • Don't get best...get better.
Mar 28, 2017


This Week’s Tip: Manage your Handouts

  In many presentations, a speaker will start introducing themselves at the beginning and immediately start passing out handouts. The audience then begins reading those handouts during one of the most important parts of the presentation – the part where the speaker sets the tone for the rest of the session.   Instead of doing that, pass out handouts only when they are relevant to the material. Then, you can take a moment and pause to let the audience read the material, and you can use that material to reinforce the point you are making at that moment.  

Post Tip Discussion: 12 Webinar Tips

  Webinars are a popular way to speak with large groups of people while saving time and money. They are often not quite as effective as an in-person session, but the tradeoffs are usually worth it. Here are 12 Tips to make your webinars more effective.  

  1. Choose a quiet, distraction-free environment
  2. Check the background
  3. Stop streaming other stuff
  4. Know your software
  5. Streamline your slide deck
  6. Disable background tasks
  7. Arrive early
  8. Use a welcome screen
  9. Use a USB Webcam
  10. Use and external microphone
  11. Use the annotation tools
  12. Work with a partner


Call To Action


  • What tips or questions do you have about webinars? Leave a comment on Episode 14 at
  • If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a rating or review in the iTunes podcast store
  • Please subscribe to 2 Minute Talk Tips in your favorite podcast application
  • Practice your webinars
  • Manage your handouts
  • Don’t get best…get better
Mar 21, 2017

This week's Tip: Sit in the back of the room

  Before you start your presentation, and before your audience enters the room, display your most complex slide, and sit in the back row.  Then sit in a few other places in the room. Your goal is to make sure you can see and read your slides from all points in the audience. You actually need to sit in the chairs to get the angles right and understand exactly what the audience sees. If your slides aren't legible, or you encounter other things that make it tough to consume and experience your presentation, you have time to fix them before you start. It's all because you literally put yourself in the place of the audience.  

Post Tip Discussion:

  It's almost cliché now for a Public Speaking tip site to repeat the claim that people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of dying.  Is Public Speaking really so terrifying that people would rather die than give a speech?  No. That claim comes from a frequently misquoted study from 1973. You can read more about the study in this article: Is Public Speaking Really More Feared than Death?   There are a number of different strategy for dealing with nerves and glossophobia.   In "Your Perfect Presentation," Bill Hoogterp writes:
What you think of as nervousness is really just trapped energy…   The harsh truth is this:   Get over yourself.   Forget yourself. The speaker doesn't matter. Your magic happens when you focus on how to get your audience to know something and do something. To feel something…when you stop thinking it's about you, that is when your greatness begins to emerge. It's about the audience getting your content.
  In "Peak Performance Presentations," Richard Olivier and Nicholas Janni tell us:
Richard's father, Laurence Olivier, was a successful actor for over 50 years. A reporter once asked him, towards the end of his life, when he stopped getting nervous. He replied; "The day I stop getting nervous is the day after I should have stopped!" Being in front of a crowd is not a 'normal" occurrence; it is "special" and requires a special energy. Remember: Presentation is Performance.  
We use the image of "riding a tiger", with you being the rider and your nerves the tiger. If the nerves have you, it feels like you are being dragged off on a wild animal over whom you have no control, and whom you have good reason to fear. If you stop your nerves altogether it is like watching a tame, doped-up tiger in a circus (claws and teeth removed for safety). But there is no "bite" and no interest. However, if you and the tiger are "in flow" there is an exciting edge that others enjoy watching.
In the Harvard Business School anthology called "Presentations that Persuade and Motivate," we learn:
The only reason to feel nervous is to use that adrenaline to speak with more energy. Because presentations aren't about you, the speaker. They're about the audience. Good public speaking begins with respecting the audience. The moment you realize that it's not what you say that counts in the end, but what the audience hears, you will be on the road toward becoming a great speaker. And you'll forget about your own nervousness.
Ultimately, one of the best ways to manage the fear of public speaking is to prepare, practice, rehearse, and do it all over again. Focus on delivering your core message -- the message your are passionate about -- to the audience, and give the audience the best experience you can.
And sometimes all you can do is be nervous -- be afraid -- and get out there and do it anyway.
For especially severe case of glossophobia, the kind that prevents a person from living the life they want to live, other professional assistance may be a good choice.  Many organizations have an EAP, or Employee Assistance Program, that many folks don't take advantage of and often forget exists.

Call to Action:

  • How do you manage stage fright, glossophobia, or public speaking anxiety? Let me know in the comments below.
  • If you enjoyed this episode of 2 Minute Talk Tips, please leave a review in the iTunes store.
  • Please subscribe to 2 Minute Talk Tips in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode.
  • Next time you present, be sure to check out what the audience sees from the back row.
  • Don't get best...get better.
Mar 14, 2017

This Week's Tip: Repeat the Question

  When an audience member asks a question during a presentation, be sure to repeat that question. There are several reasons to do this:
  • To make sure everyone hears it
  • To confirm the question
  • To summarize the question
  • To make it easier to answer
  When you do this, your session is more efficient since the audience won't have to ask you to repeat a question they didn't hear. Plus, people will feel acknowledged.  

Post Tip Discussion: What I saw on my Cruise

  During a week long vacation I saw 5 things that can help public speakers:
  • Rituals
  • Repetitive framework
  • Own the stage
  • Power of the stage
  • Alternative timers
  Exploring these areas can help you become an even stronger speaker.  

Relevant Websites:


Call To Action

  • Check out the JoCo Cruise website if a week at sea doing nerdy things appeals to you
  • Leave a comment about what you've seen other presenters do while you were on vacation
  • If you enjoy 2 Minute Talk Tips, leave a review in the iTunes store
  • If you don't already, please subscribe to 2 Minute Talk Tips in your favorite podcast app
  • Repeat the questions in your next session
  • Don't get best...get better
Mar 7, 2017

This Week's Tip: Record Yourself

  When you record your practice sessions or presentations, you give yourself a powerful tool for professional growth.   When you're in the middle of a presentation, you have a bunch of important things to focus on. Number 1 of course is your audience. Plus you can't hear or see yourself the way your audience does. The physics of human anatomy simply make that impossible. By recording your self, you make it possible to go back later, perhaps with a little distance, and do a full assessment of your actual performance.   If the recording it great, you now also have piece for your portfolio if you ever find yourself job hunting.  

Post Tip Discussion: An Interview with Tim Garber (Part 2)

  Tim Garber is a university trained public speaker passionate about health care, education, and consumer electronics. His professional speaking career began nearly 20 years ago recording retail store voicemail greetings before he moved on to teaching salespeople how to sell computers and servers while teaching educators how to use tablets and projectors in the classroom. He used his vocal talents in 2010 to host “The Info Desk,” a technology podcast by the National Sales Trainers at Toshiba, designed to help salespeople be more productive. Tim then moved on to a career in the medical staffing field, teaching regular courses to new staff to help them place the right medical practitioners with the right facilities. A passionate fan of the original Fallout game, Tim live in Dallas with his wife Angela and two, rapidly-growing children.   In this episode, Tim and I talk what public speaking means to us and the deep impact it has on our lives.   Notable Tim Garber links:  

Call To Action:

  • Did you enjoy this episode or find value in it? Let us know in the comments below
  • If you enjoy 2 Minute Talk Tips, leave us a rating or review in the iTunes store
  • Subscribe in your favorite Podcast app
  • Record your next rehearsal
  • Celebrate the passion projects in your job
  • Don't get best...get better
Feb 28, 2017

This Week's Tip: Use Parallel Structure

Parallel Structure is a term most often associated with writing, and it's a powerful tool for a presenter who wants to land a powerful message. We see it in famous speeches from world leaders. It's embedded in the Declaration of Independence. And it's a way that any speaker can more effectively land their points.   When you use parallel structure in a talk:
  • You make it memorable
  • You make it important
  • You make it powerful
  • You make it more effective.

Post Tip Discussion: An Interview with Tim Garber (Part 1)

Tim Garber is a university trained public speaker passionate about health care, education, and consumer electronics. His professional speaking career began nearly 20 years ago recording retail store voicemail greetings before he moved on to teaching salespeople how to sell computers and servers while teaching educators how to use tablets and projectors in the classroom. He used his vocal talents in 2010 to host “The Info Desk,” a technology podcast by the National Sales Trainers at Toshiba, designed to help salespeople be more productive. Tim then moved on to a career in the medical staffing field, teaching regular courses to new staff to help them place the right medical practitioners with the right facilities. A passionate fan of the original Fallout game, Tim live in Dallas with his wife Angela and two, rapidly-growing children.   In this episode, Tim and I talk about the transferability of public speaking skills and some of the self reflection that happens with an involuntary employment change.   Notable Tim Garber links:  

Call To Action:

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  • Practice your parallel structure
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Feb 21, 2017

This Week's Tip: No Eye Charts

  Eye charts are presentation slides will small text, lots of numbers, and/or detailed charts. They might look okay on the presenter's desk, but to the audience, they are illegible. A presenter will often apologize for the eye chart and simple state the point they want to make. The better option is not to use illegible slides at all. If the audience can't read it, there's no value in the slide. Here are some tips to avoid them:
  • Use only fonts larger than 24 points
  • Include only the most relevant part of a spreadsheet
  • Trim extra labels from charts
  • Break up a single eye chart into multiple, legible slides
  • Look at your slides from the back of the room while practicing so you see what the audience will see

Post Tip Discussion: Managing Q&A

  Question and Answer is an unavoidable part of a live presentation. When you manage Q&A well, you conduct a more effective presentation. We'll talk more about handling questions in future episodes. For now, there are four key areas we focus on:
  • You can take questions during your sessions
  • You don't have to take all the questions
  • You might get stumped, and that's okay
  • You can help your audience shine by taking their questions

Call To Action

  • How do you manage Q&A?  Tell us in the comments below
  • What is the most challenging Q&A session you've had? Tell us in the comments below
  • If you enjoy 2 Minute Talk Tips, please leave us a rating or review in the iTunes store
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  • Avoid eye charts and practice your Q&A approach
  • Don't get best...get better
Feb 14, 2017

This Week's Tip: Avoid the G-Word

Many speakers have picked up the bad habit of referring to a mixed-gender audience as, "You guys..."  Don't do it. There's not benefit to it.  You risk alienating a significant part of your audience, and you get nothing in return.  Using the G-Word can only make you less effective as a speaker.

Post Tip Discussion: Fill Your Bag

It's important to carry all the cords and adapters you are likely to need at an event. Start by understanding what video out options you have on your laptop. The 5 most common are:
  1. VGA/RGB
  2. HDMI/microHDMI
  3. Display Port/Mini Display Port
  4. USB
  5. Wireless Display
Next, try to be familiar with the ports on your destination device. You can assume that the destination device will support VGA/RGB and HDMI. It may support both. Your strategy is acquiring adapters should be to ensure that you can get from each of the video out options on your laptop to both VGA/RGB and HDMI. Once you have your adapter strategy sorted out, you can add some additional gear.
  • A 6-12 foot VGA Cable
  • A 6-12 foot HDMI Cable
  • A 6-12 foot extension cord with 3+outlets
  • A roll of Gaffer's Tape

Call To Action

  • Stop using the G-Word, or don't start
  • Check which video out options your laptop has
  • Acquire the right adapter cables
  • Tell us what else you carry in your bag in the comments below
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  • Don't get best -- get better
Feb 7, 2017

This Week’s Tip: Empty Your Pockets

We often fill our pockets with gadgets and wallets and keys and lint. Before speaking, take all that stuff out of your pockets, and stash it in your bag, desk, best friend’s pockets or someplace else. Speaking with full pockets simply invites distractions that you don’t need.

Post Tip Discussion: Prepare and Prewire Your Audience

Communication is the process by which shared meaning is created. -- Practically every Communications text book I’ve ever read
To maximize the effectiveness of your presentation, make sure the audience is ready to understand it.  Prepare them for it by letting them know what your session will cover. This will help them focus on the topics you are discussing.

When you have the opportunity to prewire the audience, do that as well. When you prewire, you meet with attendees in advance. You can brief them on the topic of your presentation, understand any questions they may have, listen to their objections, research responses, and modify your plans. As a result, you will be better prepared for your actual session.

Call to Action:

  • How do you prepare and audience? Add a comment below.
  • Check out the Manager Tools prewire discussion here.
  • If you have other questions or comments, please leave them below, or call the listener line at 650 TALK TIP (650-825-5847).
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  • Don’t get best – get better.
Jan 31, 2017

This Week's Tip: Manage your Beam

If you conduct a PowerPoint slide show through a data projector, you are likely shining a beam at a screen or wall. You need to be conscious of that beam while you speak so you don't block it, stare into it, or distract your audience. It's also important to make sure nothing unintentionally casts a shadow on the screen. You can use the "B" key on your keyboard to make the display in PowerPoint go all black, or you can use the "W" to make the screen go full white, in case you want to do shadow puppets.

Post Tip Discussion: Enhance your Credibility

Your credibility determines how much the audience believes you. If they don't trust you, then they are unlikely to trust the information in your presentation. There are lots of ways to enhance your credibility. Here are six:
  1. Meet your goals
  2. Respect your time limits
  3. Don't tell them it was all a lie
  4. Follow up
  5. Say, "I don't know."
  6. Meet your pre-event commitments (AKA Don't forget the donuts)

Call to Action:

How do you increase your credibility? Leave a comment below or leave a message on our listener line at 650-TalkTip (650-825-5847), and I may include it in a future episode. If you liked this episode, leave a rating and review for 2 Minute Talk Tips at this link or directly in the iTunes app. Practice managing your beam and improving your credibility a little each day. Don't get best -- get better.
Jan 24, 2017

This Week's Tip: Arrive the day before the event

If a speaking engagement is important enough to travel for, it's important enough to arrive the day before.  There are always unexpected challenges that can arise when you have an event planned, and throwing in air travel only multiples them. When you fly in the day before you give yourself the options and flexibility you need to deal with unforeseen circumstances.  

P"Talk LIke TED" Book coverost Tip Discussion: A Review of Carmine Gallo's "Talk Like TED -- The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds"

  In this episode, I discuss the nature of a TED Talk, the themes in Carmine Gallo's book, and the most important take-aways that I found as I read it.  (Hint: it's his secret number 8, "Paint a Mental Picture with Multisensory Experiences.")   The Home for TED Talks is  You can find the 25 most viewed TED Talks here.   After I recorded the episode, I did a little more research and found out the J Peterman company parodied in Seinfeld is actually a real catalog company.  That's my big surprise of the week. You can find them here on the web and check out their product descriptions. They might not be quite as epic as the ones Elaine dealt with, but they're close.   I briefly reference Spoon Theory when talking about energy levels. You can read more about this valuable metaphor here in Wikipedia, and you can read the original story at  

Call to Action


  1. Check out the TED talks on line, find a favorite, and then pay attention to how the speaker tells their story.
  2. Check out Carmine Gallo's book. What do you think of it?
  3. Comment on this article and let us know what your favorite TED Talk is and why.  Also, if you've read Gallo's book, what do you think about it?
  4. Finally, if you liked this episode be sure to subscribe in iTunes, Google Play Music, or the Podcatcher of your choice.
  Thanks, and don't get best -- get better.
Jan 17, 2017

This Week's Tip: Use the Cursor Keys

  When you are in slide show mode, you can navigate a PowerPoint slide deck by using the cursor keys. This makes it easier to navigate back and forth through your slides while speaking to a group.  

Post Tip Discussion

  We start by talking about the nature of PowerPoint. Many folks have learned to fear "Death by PowerPoint," and they blame PowerPoint for bad meetings.   In reality, this is not a problem with the tool. It's the way folks use PowerPoint.   If you don't want to use it, that's fine, and the reality is that in most organizations and meetings, not using it is not an option.     The trick to successfully using PowerPoint is to use it to reinforce what the speaker is saying, not to replace the speaker.   In many organizations, PowerPoint is the Word Processor of choice. If your organization is like that, make sure you do not use the same decks for email reports that you use to conduct a presentation. To be effective the deck should be written for the way you expect your audience to consume it -- from a computer at their desk or led by a presenter at a meeting.   A deck is not a presentation. You cannot email someone a presentation because a presentation exists at a specific time and place.   What are your thoughts on PowerPoint and how to use it properly? Post them here, or call the listener line at 650-TalkTip (650-825-5847)
Jan 10, 2017

This Week's Tip: Don't Open with a Joke

  Humor is tough, especially in business. Jokes need to relevant, non-offensive, and funny. If you're a nervous speakers, trying to open with a joke just makes things more challenging than they need to be.  

Post Tip Discussion

  We have an interview with Jon Clarke. Jon is a freelance writing director and copywriter with nearly 20 years of experience in the advertising industry. His portfolio includes work for Verizon, Lenovo, Jim Beam, and some of the country's leading pharmaceutical companies. On weekends he is Bono for Without U2, the popular Midwest U2 cover band   As a pop culture expert, Jon has moderated panels at science fiction conventions, written a comic book, produced YouTube videos that have reached hundreds of thousands of viewers, and performed as a Stand-Up Comedian in New York. In 2013 he launched the Caffeinated Comics podcast, reporting on all the geeky activities in the Chicagoland area.   Jon talks about advertising, comedy, music, and importance of building a relationship with your audience.   You can learn more about and engage with Jon here:   Do you have any comments or questions? Do you know someone else I should interview for the podcast? Post them here, or call the listener line at 650-TalkTip (650-825-5847)
Jan 3, 2017

This Week's Tip: Use a Timer

  Most presentations have a time limit, and exceeding that time limit is rude and ineffective. Finishing to soon can present other risks. While speaking or presenting, though, our internal clock is unreliable. Use a timer of some sort.  

Post Tip Discussion

  Preparation is the key to success in conducting a presentation. There are a lot of models for this, and I like to use this approach.  

Stage 1: Early Development

  In this stage, you determine your point, figure out what you know, identify the other resources you need to consult, learn about your audience, and confirm the logistics and timing of your presentation.  

Stage 2: Building Your Content

  Consolidate your material and make sure it still supports your goal and main point.   A sample outline will include:
  1. Theme
  2. Introduction
  3. Call to Action
  4. Main Point 1
    1. Details
    2. Examples
    3. Demos
    4. Supporting information
  5. Main Point 2
    1. Details
    2. Examples
    3. Demos
    4. Supporting information
  6. Main Point 3, etc.
  7. Conclusion and Summary
  Confirm again that your content is the right content.   Now, you can start building your slides.  

Stage 3: Practice

  Rehearse your presentation many times so there are no surprises when it's time to do it for real.   How do you prepare for a presentation? Let us know below. You can add your tips or questions here or call the listener line at 650-TalkTip (650-825-5847).  
Dec 27, 2016


This week's tip: Hydrate

  The common wisdom we encounter on the web, from well-meaning relatives, from health fans, etc., is that we should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Or maybe not. It's become surprisingly controversial. Presenters should probably drink more. It's easy to become dehydrated while speaking, especially, if you'll be speaking for a while. Speaking and projecting means exhaling more moisture than standard conversation. It's important to replace that moisture by staying hydrated.    

Post Tip Discussion


The Goal for the Podcast

  Communication skills are more important than ever, and there are a lot of aspects to that -- spelling, grammar, email etiquette, small talk, introductions, and public speaking. My goal is to help you become a more effective public speaker.   I often say, "Don't get best, get better." It's great if you want to become the best speaker ever, and that is a tough standard. It requires a tremendous amount of work, time, and practice. And it requires that others don't become better than you.   Instead, I want to help you get a better. Just focus on being a little better every day. That's how you improve and become more effective. Just get better every day. The tips I introduce each week, and the deeper discussion that follows, will help you do that.  

Ground Rules

  Each episode will begin with a 2 minute practical tip that can make you more effective. I won't do an pre-roll ads, and you won't have to wait for a long intro to pass. If you have only 2 minutes a week, you'll get value from the podcast.   After the tip, I'll include an introduction and then a 15-20 minute discussion that may include interviews, conceptual discussions, book reviews, or other discussions relevant to public speakers.  

Who am I?

  I'm Bill Monroe, a professional speaker and trainer with more than 15 years' experience teaching folks to be more effective in the their jobs. My background as a speaker goes back even further.   When it comes to public speaking, I believe (among other things) in these five principles.  
  1. Anyone can do better.
  2. Genuine passion matters.
  3. Logic alone will not win.
  4. Your audience wants you to succeed.
  5. Preparation matters.
  Do you have any comments or questions? What topics to you want to hear more about? Post them here, or call us at 650-TalkTip (650-825-5847) Have a great day.