We all have those words we struggle to pronounce correctly (for me it is the words conscious and conscience). Many of us have just learned to avoid the words that give us trouble. But for some speakers, there may be several trouble words because of a speech disorder.
Guest blogger Ben Allen gives several great suggestions about how to be a confident speaker with a speech disorder at the Six Minutes blog. Because he shares from personal experience, this would be a great article to share with students who are concerned that their manner of speaking may interfere with their message.
And I always share the advice from Randy Fujishin: Audiences will forgive many mistakes when they sense a genuine desire to communicate with them — and you can do that.
Often public speaking textbooks give visual aid advice that is overly technical, too simplistic for computer-savvy college students or just hopelessly outdated. I’m always on the search for basic advice that is also practical and will apply to a variety of software programs.
Andrew Dlugan’s “Slide Fonts: 11 Guidelines for Great Design” from the Six Minutes blog gives great advice (though I’m still partial to serif fonts myself) along with picture demonstrations about why the advice works, which you can use for class.
If you need some good material on visual aids, especially slides, this would be a good reading assignment for students or rules to present in class. It could be turned into an activity if followed by several “rule-breaking” examples for discussion.
Andrew Dlugan of Six Minutes discusses great ways for speakers to collect and assess audience feedback. This article would be great to share with students who want to make serious improvements in their speeches or who are struggling with how to interpret the responses they are getting from the audience.
The article makes several suggestions for the speaker to get more useful feedback. For example, follow up a general compliment like “that was great” with questions like “what part most resonated with you?” Also, pay attention to the questions: If the questions are demonstrating that the audience missed points that you covered, it indicates that you need to make sure your main ideas are being made more clearly.
Also, the suggestions for soliciting good feedback could be used by instructors, especially if you make use of peer reviews. The article gives some specific questions that could make a peer review form stronger, like “what was the most useful thing you learned?” It also gives other suggestions that teachers could use to help students assess audience feedback which professional speakers sometimes use, like filming the audience during the speech to review later.