Talk Good: Giving Effective Presentations

February 15, 2008 at 1:00 pm 17 comments

Note: See related post from October 2008

Since I started doing Toastmasters about two years ago I’ve been Furling every good piece of information I could find on how to be a better speaker and presenter. I mentioned this recently to some of my fellow Toasties and they asked me to share my links.

The pieces speak for themselves (no pun intended), so without extensive annotations, here are my top 10:

  1. Garr Reynolds (see also: his great blog, Presentation Zen):
  2. 10 Tips for a Killer Presentation, Neil Patel

  3. Get Your Message Across by Creating Powerful Stories, Kevin Eikenberry

  4. How to Change the World: World’s Best Presentation Contest Winners There are some great examples of how to effectively use powerpoint.

  5. Bert Decker (Also see his blog, Create Your Communications Experience)
  6. How to Get a Standing Ovation, Guy Kawasaki

  7. Kathy Sierra (See also: her blog Creating Passionate Users which, sadly, is no longer being updated; but there’s great archived content!)
  8. Effective Presentations: More than one way to impress an audience Dave Pollard

  9. All Presenting is Persuasive Guila Muir (see also: Guila’s other training/presenting resources)

  10. A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods From Great ideas for how to use visually represent your ideas.

  11. BONUS LINK: The 5 Immutable Laws of Persuasive Blogging, Brian Clark.
    Ostensibly written for bloggers, I’m finding that the “5 Laws” (provide value, have a hook, etc.) are also helpful in organizing talks and presentations.

I’d love to get feedback on your favorite resources and tips. What’s helped you be a kick ass speaker or presenter?


Entry filed under: Presentations, Speaking and Presenting. Tags: , .

Can libraries adapt this idea? Free Web Based Conferences—Perfect for poor library studies students everywhere…


  • 1. stevenb  |  February 15, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Peter – I wouldn’t say I’m a kick-ass presenter, but I usually get pretty good evaluations. One thing I’d add to your list – though it’s not a resource – is to spend time watching great presenters giving presentations. This is much easier to do now thanks to T.E.D, GEL and Google’s speakers series – and there are others. So I’m not likely to be as good as Seth Godin, but I’ve learned the power of injecting visuals into the presentation, giving a little something unexpected, and so on. I used to maintain a PPT resource page on my web site, but when I revised this past year I dropped it – I think this info is easy to find now. Also, check out my article in American Libraries from a few years ago – “End Powerpoint Dependency Now.”

    – stevenb

  • 2. royce  |  February 15, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Good stuff. Will have to make sure that this stuff gets forwarded to my peeps.

  • 3. Connie  |  February 17, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Thank you for the terrific post. I agree with stevenb–watching the TED Talks helps me to see what really works.

  • 4. Cynthia  |  February 18, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Thanks–this is a really helpful post. Toastmasters is on my list of after graduation things to do–

  • 5. Peter Bromberg  |  February 18, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Thanks for the comments. I also highly recommend the TED talks–they blow me away. One of the things I really appreciate about watching TED talks is that all of their speakers are highly effective but in very different ways. Tony Robbins, often considered the epitome of “motivational speaker”, was brilliant. But so was Sir Ken Robinson, who spoke in a style that was very much dry and reserved–quite the opposite of Robbins. I guess the secret is not to emulate someone else’s speaking style, but emulate the way they found their own unique voice. I’m still figuring that one out! 🙂

  • 6. Kevin Eikenberry  |  February 18, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Thanks for mentioning one of my articles in your great post. As for Cynthia’s comment, I’d encourage her not to wait until after graduation, unless she graduates in the next couple of months. Working on these skills now (and being able to talk about that initiative and experience on a resume) is invaluable.

    Kevin Eikenberry

  • 7. CogSci Librarian  |  February 18, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    I really liked Steve Kosslyn’s 2007 book “Clear and to the Point: 8 Psychological Principles for Compelling PowerPoint Presentations.” (Oxford) So much so that I blogged a review of it. 🙂

    Kosslyn is a cognitive neuroscientist who has written quite a bit about both cognitive psychology and graph design.

    From my review: Kosslyn lists a few “capacity limitations” which affect how people process PowerPoint presentations. Most interesting to me are the memory limitations such as “privileges of the first & last,” where you more easily remember the first 1-2 things in a list and the last 2-3, but not the middle several.

    Interesting topic — both for short presentations, but also for longer-term teaching issues.

  • 8. K.G. Schneider  |  February 20, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Pete, this is a terrific resource! It slipped by me so thanks to AL Direct for pushing it my way.

    You already have a terrific ‘voice.’ That’s not something you can learn.

  • 9. lemasney  |  February 20, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Wow – just did a doubletake when I saw this post (and one of my favorite local blogs) near the top of /popular on — Good stuff!

  • 10. Anonymous  |  February 20, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Do you mean “talk well”?

  • 11. Peter Bromberg  |  February 20, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    In reverse:

    Anonymous: No, I meant “talk good”. I was (trying) to be funny. Ha.

    Lemansey: Thanks John, as I enjoy your blog!

    Karen: thanks again (in public this time) Your writing continually inspires me in 100 different ways, as does your generosity.

    CogSci: Stephanie, thanks for your comments and your book recommendation. I’m looking forward to checking it out.

    Kevin: Uh, wow, Kevin Eikenberry commented on my blog. OK everyone, if you’re not reading Kevin’s blog go check him out. Kevin, your “ 26 Remarkable Questions” was an amazing way to start the year. Thanks for giving it away!

  • 12. Katie Klossner  |  February 27, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    One other way to help folks visiting this site is to attend the 2008 PLA Conference in MI, and participate in the presentation workshop “Protect, Project, Present! Essential Tips for Supervisors, Speakers and Storytellers!” 😉

  • 13. Peter Bromberg  |  February 27, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks Katie, I’ll try to be there! Great marketing 😉

  • 14. Anonymous  |  March 14, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Just make sure you go to Minneapolis, MN, not Michigan.

  • 15. Sarah  |  April 22, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    What a great list, Peter. Thanks!

    One to add… I just discovered the Six Minutes public speaking blog. It has many articles on giving effective presentations. My favorites are the speech critiques.

  • 16. Berry  |  May 2, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Some great ideas here I shall make sure I pass them on to my trainees – and the site address!

  • 17. Lee Andrew Hilyer  |  May 5, 2008 at 11:29 am

    I’ve written a book called Presentations for Librarians published by Chandos. I tried to combine the relevant research on learning with good design and preparation techniques. I’d love some feedback on how successful I was in doing that and creating a useful book.


    Lee Andrew Hilyer

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