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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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