SpeakHQ Blog

The Best Books On Public Speaking

By Berkun | January 22, 2013

A feature of some of my books is a ranked bibliography. I rank books that I read while doing research in the order of their usefulness. Below is the ranked bibliography from Confessions of a Public Speaker, which suggests which books are the most valuable to read. Warning: trying to learn a skill by reading about…

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Great talk: Life on a Möbius Strip

By Berkun | December 28, 2012

One reason I rarely get excited about TED talks, although I do enjoy many of them, is I’m drawn towards the personal. For years I’ve been a bigger fan of the MOTH podcast, which is an evening of stories told without notes in from of live audiences. Although these talks are generally well presented, the…

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99 second presentations

By Berkun | November 28, 2012

A running joke in the world of presentations is: how short can they be? They used to be an hour. Then TED went to 20 minutes, Pecha Kucha to 6, and Ignite to 5. The trend of short presentations has been on the rise for years and one wonders where it will stop. But then…

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What I learned from Powerpoint Karaoke

By Berkun | November 20, 2012

Everyone has fears about regular public speaking, but what if you have to present someone else’s slides? And see them for the first time as the audience does? And only have 5 minutes? And the slides auto-advance? I believe in the theory of trying something insanely hard to make normal work feel easier. As a public speaking…

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How to be a great host (at Ignite)

By Berkun | November 5, 2012

Ignite Seattle , an evening of fast presentations, runs like clockwork. We think of the evening as a show, and each of the 16 speakers we have at each events are the stars. We do all that we can to set the stage, the audience and the format to make it as easy as possible for…

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Haiku Deck: a simple way to make better presentations (review)

By Berkun | September 25, 2012

I recently wrote a harsh review of Prezi, focusing on how that tool makes it easy to make distracting, annoying presentations. On the other end of the spectrum is a new iPad app called Haiku Deck. Haiku Deck takes a radically simple approach. The tool has very few features. It lets you pick background images…

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Why I hate Prezi

By Berkun | August 13, 2012

One of the many jokes about Powerpoint is how much time people who use it spend picking transitions between slides. They spend more time picking out animations and fonts than what their audience needs to learn and how best to convey those lessons. It’s like wanting to make a movie and spending all your budget just…

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Commutapult: the great commute of the future

By Berkun | August 7, 2012

I’m often baffled by which things online are popular, as it has little to do with what’s good. The most popular ignite talk seems to be How to Buy a Used Car, which is a good topic, but the talk itself disappoints. It’s not delivered well enough, nor the content good enough, to be worthy of its…

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my NPR interview about great speeches

By Berkun | May 17, 2012

Yesterday I was interviewed on NPR about great commencement speeches, and presentations in general. They had me on for the hour and we talked about Steve Job’s Stanford speech, a diferent speech commonly called the worst of all time, as well as lots of general advice on all kinds of speaking. Thanks to the Regina…

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What makes a good commencement speech?

By Berkun | May 14, 2012

I’m being interviewed on Wed on NPR about commencement speeches. Update: I was interviewed yesterday on NPR about this. You can listen here. Commencement speeches are the ones given at graduations, usually in the summer and often outside, where the attention spans of young people are stretched to their limits. Most of my advice about commencement speeches  is similar to advice I give…

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