SpeakHQ Blog

What are the toughest public speaking situations?

By Berkun | January 9, 2014

On Tuesday 1/28 I’ll be doing a free, live webcast (register here) about public speaking, hosted by O’Reilly Media. NOTE: The webcast happened and you missed it. The slides and Q&A can be found here. In Confessions of A Public Speaker I explained how to deal with 17 difficult speaking situations. In the webcast I’ll coach you…

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How To Handle A Heckler

By Berkun | January 6, 2014

It’s rare to get heckled when giving a lecture, yet it’s a top fear for many people. My own advice on dealing with hecklers is in the what to do when things go wrong chapter of Confessions of a Public Speaker. In short: Acknowledge them briefly and politely. They want you to step down to…

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When Is Something Worth Teaching?

By Berkun | January 4, 2014

This month I’m posting every day, picking the top voted reader question and answering it. With 37 votes, submitted by Andrew Holloway, is: When do you know that you have something worth saying or teaching? I often find myself caught between two competing thoughts: that I don’t know enough to help anyone, and that I should help…

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How to present well without slides

By Berkun | December 19, 2013

If you were having an important conversation with a friend at a restaurant, would you pull out a projector and put your slides on the wall? They’d think you were crazy as would the people at other tables. Rather that look into your eyes or give full attention to your words, your friend would have…

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Updated: Speaking checklist for great talks (Printable)

By Berkun | October 30, 2013

I hired Eva Giselle to design a proper checklist based on the popular post, How To Prepare: Checklist for Great Talks. Here it is. You can read the original blog post. Or you can download the checklist here (1.2 MB PDF). It’s a great handout for event organizers to give to their speakers. Pass it on.

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Why hats and iPads are speaking mistakes

By Berkun | May 6, 2013

I spoke at TEDXDepaul last month and it was a fantastic event. The organizers Daniel Gurevich and Matt Helbig did a fine job from a speaker’s perspective. They chose a great venue, sold every ticket, paid for good A/V, the stage was well lit, and they had a great roster of other speakers (you can read my…

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Why I sit in the back row at conferences

By Berkun | April 1, 2013

Clay Hebert recently posted on the The Best Conference Hack, which is simply sitting in the front. As a frequent speaker I like Clay’s advice. For speakers the empty front row is mysterious and frustrating. Speakers make a huge commitment, yet audiences who have little at stake show their lack of faith by staying back. Unlike a…

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Blame the speaker or the organizer?

By Berkun | March 19, 2013

Linda at Cook for Good asked me about Godin’s recent post Communication is a path, not an event: The other day, I heard the CEO of a large corporation drone on for twenty minutes. He was pitching a large group of strangers, reading them a long, prepared speech that was largely irrelevant to their needs. They…

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Advice for speakers bored with their own material

By Berkun | February 11, 2013

A basic rule offered in Confessions of a Public Speaker is to pick material you care deeply about, since you can’t blame an audience for being bored if you are. But what I didn’t cover is what to do when you have to present the same material 300 times: how do you stay excited about…

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How to Run a Good Workshop

By Berkun | January 28, 2013

Workshops are hopeful things. They’re sold on so much promise, but that promise is often dashed as students discover their expert instructor is far from an expert at teaching them how to learn anything. For years I was a workshop guy: I taught them, I studied them, I even hired people to do them for…

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