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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2 Minute Talk Tips


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Now displaying: January, 2017
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).