Public Speech and Effective Communication


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Public Speech
Tips & Tricks for effective communication
Enric Calvet
June, 2008

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Public Speech and Effective Communication

  1. 1. Public Speech Tips & Tricks for effective communication Enric Calvet June, 2008 Enric Calvet June ‘07
  2. 2. PUBLIC SPEECH In a public speech we have got basically 3 main factors or keys: The constant factors... And the variable factors... And, 3? Part 1. The technical gadgets. Power Point: The aim of using Power Points is only to give a framework of our topic to the audience; it is not a tool for writing articles to be read. When we are designing a Power Point we have to consider, among some other things, these basic style rules: 1) FONTS AND SIZE What font do we have to use? Courier, Helvetica (Arial) and Tahoma for general and smart purposes. Comic for more casual purposes. Select carefully the font for tittles. Do not be too much aggressive, and don’t change the font in each slide. If we want to highlight something we have got four possibilities: change colour, bold, italics and underline (but use only one of this at a time) Help! (It’s redundant) Font size: Title of the topic in the first slide 66 Other slide tittles: from 30 to 48 Text: 28 TIP: No less than 18 points for text and not less than 28 points for titles. The Power Point should be visible from 8-10 meters. If the hall is very big, you have to consider using minimum 28 points for texts and 48 for tittles. Enric Calvet June ‘07
  3. 3. But if you want to insert in a text box a long text and you need to reduce it to 12 points, you better consider cutting it in parts, summarizing or rewriting the text again. The Power Point is awaring you: “Too much text!” 2) COLOUR OF THE TEXT Black, blue and green inks have the greatest visibility. Blue is the most pleasing colour to look at with red coming in second (note: pleasing to look at and visibility are not the same) Do not do the whole chart in red ink. Avoid purple, brown, pink and yellow inks. Use Colour Thoughtfully Use bright colours for small graphics to make them stand out. Use subtle colours for large graphics so they do not overwhelm. Use Colour Psychologically According to Greg Bandy in Multimedia Presentation Design for the Uninitiated certain colours evoke certain emotions. RED = Brutal, Dangerous, Hot, Stop! DARK BLUE = Stable, Trustworthy, Calm LIGHT BLUE = Cool, Refreshing GRAY = Integrity, Neutral, Mature PURPLE = Regal, Mysterious GREEN = Organic, Healthy, New life, Go Money ORANGE / YELLOW = Sunny, Bright, Warm WHITE (if I make the example white you couldn't see it) = Pure, Hopeful, Clean BLACK = Serious, Heavy, Profitable, Death Since "death" is a pretty heavy way to end this section, I will give you a reference to find out more about outstanding visual design. Enric Calvet June ‘07
  4. 4. TRANSITIONS OF SLIDES, SPECIAL EFFECTS, SOUNDS, MOVEMENTS AND TEXT TRANSITION TIP: Don’t over use them! Transition of slides If the slide has got a lot of text, use a transition from left to right with a slow movement (not centrifuges or rebounds!). If the slide has got charts or vertical figures it’s better to use a transition from up to down, or from down to up. And if the slide has got photos, a nice transition could be melting, evaporating or simply appearing. Sounds Forget about the sounds in the transitions. Movements Use the movements only if you want to show something that needs the movement to be explained. Text transition We can make appear a paragraph every time we click, it’s a nice way to concentrate the attention on what are you explaining. But do not use the effect of introducing in the slide word by word or letter by letter (like a typewriting machine). 4) DRAWINGS, PHOTOS, AUTO SHAPES, WordArt, 3D, ARROWS... All kind of images are good to improve text support and comprehension. But again, don’t over use them. A kid drawing or a photo of children doing an activity can express much more than your own words (“An image is worth one thousand words”). A scanned work from a child is a good way to show what you are talking about. But be careful, you probably have to edit the photo in order to correct contrast and brightness (children usually write with pencil and colour with crayons and this is shown very soft on the screen). Auto shapes, 3D objects and arrows will remark key words or special texts. Choose a background colour and a text colour that combine and allows a quick reading. Use WordArt only for very special purposes. Enric Calvet June ‘07
  5. 5. AND… Don’t forget to check the lights, the curtains, the sound system, the DVD if necessary, the screen and the projector, paper for taking notes, have handouts ready, the white board, the markers or felts and all that stuff can ruin your presentation. If you want to improve in Power Point presentations there are some good tutorials in the sites: for Power Point 97 for Power Point 2003 Some beautiful free templates and other stuff for PPT in Part 2. The human “gadget”. Here you are a collection of tips to be considered: Start early, You may have a technical or an ergonomic problem. It is great to introduce yourself, and wait for the people who get late. A strong opening, A body activity, a song, a relaxing story, just a short warm up... Create a nice atmosphere. You can introduce the objectives of the session or make an open question or a surprising statement to create expectations… But you never apologize. Particular – General – Particular, (the diamond shape) As much as you can, in every topic, move with this scheme. Starting with particulars, even if the goal is “general information”, is a good way to promote attention and retention. Know your audience, It is important to know strengths and fondness of people I the audience; you never know how much useful can be this knowledge during your presentation. Try to answer this question: what is the style of information they are most familiar or comfortable with? Power Points and overhead projectors, Some presenters hate these gadgets. Specially, if there are a lot of bulleted lists. Use the Power Points only when necessary and try to manage a presentation using it only for scaffolding purpose. Respect the audience, Don’t be condescending and don’t underestimate the audience. But, don’t underestimate yourself either! Enric Calvet June ‘07
  6. 6. Humour, Are you a zzz presenter? Humour is good, but be careful with it. It always depends on the context of your topic and on the moment you tell a joke. After a long working day a joke can bright someone’s life. Body language, Standing, walking or moving around with appropriate hand gesture or facial expression can help a lot to make your topic understandable or to make your ideas memorable (You can have a look to the last paper “Examples of body language”). The gaze (“la mirada”), Maintain sincere eye contact with your audience. You can use the 3-seconds method, e.g. look straight into the eyes of a person in the audience for 3 seconds at a time. Every now and then make a glance at the whole audience while speaking. Use your eye contact to make everyone in your audience feel involved. Voice, Speak loudly and clearly: sound confident. You can do some “mouth gym”, practice intonation (voice tone), breathing and, of course, hydrating yourself. Masculine or feminine? The Oxford English dictionary allows the use of the plural “they” as the universal neutral gender. The “questions time”, The quality of your talk could only be evaluated by these “terrible” 5 minutes at the end of the speech. A long pause after a question (5-10 seconds) shows that you are considering and respecting the person who is asking you. You are thinking in the arguments and the answer is going to take more sense. Believe! Speak with conviction and show that you believe what you are saying. Finish early, It is unexpected if you finish a little earlier. People really like it and you give time to share comments or simply to do other things. Practice, You can record your presentation, speak aloud at home, observe your gestures and facial expressions in front of a mirror; practice the Power Point, think in jokes, prepare the materials and photocopies... “Practice over and over and over”! Drinks a lot of water! Air travel and presentations are the most dehydrating things. So drink lots of water if you want to stay sharp. Take care of your body, specially your voice. Enric Calvet June ‘07
  7. 7. To learn more about “Advanced Public Speaking Institute” Blog at (last visited in June,2008) Edward Tufte. Seminar for Harvard Publisher Company, publishers of the presentation software Harvard Graphics (1989) Stephen D. Boyd. (CEO Refresher) Northern Kentucky University en Highland Heights, Kentucky. At this moment in (Last visited in June, 2008) (1998-2005) (Last visited in June, 2008) SANZ, G (2005) Comunicació efectiva a l’aula. Barcelona: Editorial Graó. ISBN 978-84-7827-407-9 CASAMAYOR, G et Al. (2007) Els trucs del formador. Art, ofici i experiència. Barcelona: Editorial Graó. ISBN 978-84-7827-489-5 CASTELLÀ, J.M. (2007) Entendre(‘s) a classe. Estratègies comunicatives dels docents ben valorats. Barcelona: Editorial Graó. ISBN 978-84-7827-472-7 CALVET, E. (Last visited, June, 2008) Enric Calvet June ‘07
  8. 8. Examples of Body Language NONVERBAL BEHAVIOR INTERPRETATION Brisk, erect walk Confidence Standing with hands on hips Readiness, aggression Sitting with legs crossed, Boredom foot kicking slightly Sitting, legs apart Open, relaxed Arms crossed on chest Defensiveness Walking with hands in Dejection pockets, shoulders hunched Hand to cheek Evaluation, thinking Touching, slightly rubbing Rejection, doubt, lying nose Rubbing the eye Doubt, disbelief Anger, frustration, Hands clasped behind back apprehension Locked ankles Apprehension Head resting in hand, eyes Boredom downcast Rubbing hands Anticipation Sitting with hands clasped Confidence, superiority behind head, legs crossed Sincerity, openness, Open palm innocence Pinching bridge of nose, Negative evaluation eyes closed Tapping or drumming fingers Impatience Steeping fingers Authoritative Lack of self-confidence; Patting/fondling hair insecurity Tilted head Interest Stroking chin Trying to make a decision Looking down, face turned Disbelief away Biting nails Insecurity, nervousness Pulling or tugging at ear Indecision From the site (last visited June ’08) Enric Calvet June ‘07