SpeakHQ Blog

How to speak to a bored audience

By Berkun | October 21, 2010

In a series of posts, called ask berkun, I write on whatever topics people submit and vote for. This week: How to speak to a bored audience All audiences are bored. If not now, then soon. Listening is boring, and listening to boring people talk about boring work in boring ways is even more boring.…

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Ira Glass live: review

By Berkun | September 8, 2010

I saw Ira Glass, of This American Life (TAL) fame, speak recently in Seattle at Benaroya Hall.  Years ago I met him backstage at a conference in NYC. He’s tall. and thin. And very funny, nice and slightly sarcastic all at the same time.  We chatted about my sacred NYC places tour, which he seemed…

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The Four Minute Presentation

By Berkun | August 19, 2010

We’re very proud, in this day and age, of our capacity for consuming information. We often brag (or lament) about  the speed of the world and the acceleration of change. Surely our TED talks, lightning talks, and 99 second presentations must be recent inventions, right? I wrote for Forbes about this fascinating trend in public speaking. But it…

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In Defense of PowerPoint

By Berkun | July 20, 2010

Every few months there’s another article on the evils of PowerPoint, but it’s a poor craftsman that blames their tools. If you can’t think of a decent sentence to write, would you blame your pen? If you seem to habitually crash cars, would you blame the shape of the steering wheel? Regardless of how good…

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Ignite: How speakers prepare

By Berkun | May 3, 2010

I’m a huge fan of helping people speak – I’m the speaker coach for Ignite Seattle, and did an Ignite talk called How and Why to Speak at Ignite hoping to get more people up on stage.   Many events now use this short video, an ignite talk about doing good ignite talks, to help get…

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Should the web be allowed in class?

By Berkun | April 16, 2010

There’s a fantastic discussion on metafilter about whether college students should be able to use the web during class time. The original question by quodlibet was this: How do I keep my students off the internet during lecture? Today, in the class I TA – I had about 5 students on facebook, another 2 texting,…

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Philosophy: Everything you need, in 5 minutes

By Berkun | April 14, 2010

I’d always wanted to do a talk about my curious path through the world of philosophy. I’ve studied philosophy my whole life, trying very hard to undo the bad lessons I was taught while getting a degree in the Philosophy Department in college. Thanks to Ignite Seattle I got my chance. So here’s Everything You…

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Should you pay for an outside speaker?

By Berkun | April 5, 2010

A potential client asked me – we’re not sure it makes sense to pay a speaker to come to us. What’s your argument? And so, I sat down and wrote this. Clearly I’m biased, since I make a good part of my living being hired to speak. However, back when I was a manager it…

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How to convince anyone of anything

By Berkun | March 10, 2010

[This topic was requested with a slightly different title:  How to make a convincing argument.] The word argument itself makes people think of lawyers or divorce proceedings, which are poor connotations if you’re hoping to charm someone into agreeing with you. It’s worth shifting to the more positive word: convince. The goal is to persuade, to…

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Obama, Palin and teleprompters

By Berkun | February 9, 2010

I saw on CNN today more about Sarah Palin’s use of handwritten notes on the palm of her hand. This story is stupid and pointless. It’s just as dumb as the people who criticize Obama for using teleprompters, while using telepromters themselves, which includes nearly every newscaster on every TV network (ironically, Sarah Palin criticized…

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