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Public Speaking. Glen Whitman Dept. of Economics CSUN. The Traditional Rules (or, what they told me in high school speech class). “Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em; then tell ’em; then tell ’em what ya told ’em.” Use three-point structure, and signpost.

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public speaking

Public Speaking

Glen Whitman

Dept. of Economics


the traditional rules or what they told me in high school speech class
The Traditional Rules(or, what they told me in high school speech class)
  • “Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em; then tell ’em; then tell ’em what ya told ’em.”
  • Use three-point structure, and signpost.
  • Establish base position, then use body paragraphing.
  • Have regular eye contact with audience.
  • Eliminate filler words (um, uh, y’know).
breaking the rules
Breaking the Rules
  • The traditional rules are only guidelines. Good public speakers will break them.
  • The learning process:

Adhere strictly to the

traditional rules.

Selectively break

rules to avoid rigidity.

Start making the classic

errors again.

Develop your own

speaking style.

dealing with nervousness
Dealing with Nervousness
  • Practice… but not too much.
  • Be on time.
  • Perform stress-release rituals before speaking.
  • Always have water on hand.
  • Learn your own tics and be ready to deal with them.
pleasing the audience
Pleasing the Audience
  • Don’t go overtime.
    • Better to make a few points well than a dozen points poorly.
    • Plan which sections to leave out if necessary.
  • Be friendly and respectful.
  • Use examples and anecdotes.
  • Feel free to use humor, but don’t force it.
using notes
Using Notes
  • Do not write your whole speech on cards!
  • Use cards for the general outline.
  • Use cards for quotations, as well as specific sentences that must be stated a certain way.
  • If you’re relying too much on your notes, you probably have too many of them.
using slides and powerpoint
Using Slides and PowerPoint
  • Use a simple, non-flashy design.
  • Use a large, readable font.
  • Avoid screen-reading.
  • Avoid walking between projector and screen.
keeping the attention on you
Keeping the Attention on You
  • Have very few points per slide.
  • Write less on your slides than you intend to say aloud.
  • Use fly-outs to ration information.
handling q a
Handling Q&A
  • Don’t be defensive.
  • Be prepared to concede points and admit error.
  • Be prepared to admit your ignorance.
  • Take notes for long questions.
  • Answer the specific question, but return to the big picture (if you have time).