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: May, 2017
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.