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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Now displaying: February, 2017
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:

  • How did you enjoy this week's interview? What did it make you think about? 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
  • Practice your parallel structure
  • Don't get best...get better
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
  • If you don't already, please subscribe to 2 Minute Talk Tips in your favorite podcast app
  • 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.