Friday, June 24, 2022

Are there really 110 public speaking skills? Probably not.



















In the April 2022 issue of Toastmaster magazine there is an article on pages 18 and 19 by David J. P. Phillips titled Harness 110 Speaking Skills. Page 19 begins with a large matrix titled 110 Steps of Communication that has 9 rows and 13 columns. (If that matrix had all items there would be 117 steps). Groups of columns are divided into six categories: Nervousness, Voice, Body Language, Facial Expressions, Language, and Ultimate Level. At the beginning of the article there also is a link to Toastmasters podcast #202, titled The ‘Periodic Table’ of Communication Skills – David J P Phillips.
















Just a quick glance at that matrix (shown above), under Voice, reveals a big difference between a Step and a Skill. Control of Pace is a Skill, as is Control of Volume. But there instead are three Steps for Pace – Slow Pace (8), Fast Pace (9), and Base Pace (10). There also are at least four Steps for Volume – Base Volume (14), Varied Volume (15), Volume Increase (17), and Volume Decrease (18). For Pausing there are another four Steps: Unfunctional Pauses (19), Relaxation Pause (20), Strategic Pause (21), and Effect Pause (22). For Head Angle there are three Steps: Empowering Head Angle(61), Unfunctional Head Angle (62), and Standard Head Angle (63).     


The seventh paragraph in the article has link (highlighted in blue as 110 core skills) to Mr. Phillips 2018 TEDxZagreb talk titled The 110 Techniques of Communication and Public Speaking, which also can be found on YouTube. But when you look closely at 3:17, you will find that he has a different set of 110 items in that matrix. Let’s take a look at them in detail, with information from the 2022 article shown first, followed by that from the 2018 TEDx Talk.





















Entries for Nervousness are substantially the same. The words go with the icons.



Swaying 1; Swaying 1

Squirming 2; Squirming 2

Irrational movement 3; Irrational movement 3

Stroke/Figdet (sic) 4; Patting/Stroking 4

Flight/Freeze 5; Flight stance 5

Unbalanced Feet 6; Unbalanced Foot 6





















Entries for Voice have differences. Prosody and Voice Climax aren’t in the TEDx Talk matrix.



Register/Pitch 7; Pitch range 27

Slow pace 8; Tempo 7 to 11

Fast pace 9; Tempo 7 to 11

Base pace 10; Tempo 7 to 11

Timbre 11;

Emhpasis (sic) 12; Correct emphasis 12

Playful emphasis 13; Playful emphasis 13

Base volume 14; Base volume 14

Varied volume 15; Varied volume 15

Up-Down talk 16; Volume decline 19

                   ; Normal volume 16

Volume increase 17; Volume increase 17

Volume decrease 18; Volume decrease 18

Unfunctional pauses 19; Unfunctional pauses 20

Relaxation pause 20; Relaxation pause 23

Strategic pause 21; Thought pause 21

Effect pause 22; Effect pause 22

Vocal fry 23; Cord vibration 24

Elongated vouls (sic) 24; Elongated vouls 26

Filler sounds 25; Filler sounds 25

Prosody 26;

Melody 27; Melody 28

                   ; Pitch range 27

Articulation 28; Articulation 29

Voice climax 29;

Dramatising 30; Dramatising 31

               ; Staccato rhythm 30

Language change 31; Language change 32

Sound effects 32; Sound effects 33
















Entries for Body Language also have differences. The section about Synchronicity in the article mentions five levels (or layers): voice, body language, gestures, facial expressions, and words (aka language), but the graphic does not bother to separate Gestures from Body Language.


Body Language

Confident posture 33; Confident posture 35

Neutral posture 34; Neutral position 34

Base pace 35;

Affect 36; Ticks 37

          ; Amplifying posture 36

Feet 37; Feet planted 38

Hips 38; Hip position 39

Angle 39; Angle 40

Relaxed 40; Relaxed movement 41

Dramatising 41; Dramatising 42

Shrugging shoulders 42; Shrugging shoulders 43

Intensity variation 43; Intensity variation 44

Functional (gestures?) 44; Functional 45

Smooth 45; Smooth 46

Distinct 46; Distinct 47

Adapted size 47; Adapted size 48

Standard pace 48; Standard pace 49

Adapted pace 49; Adapted pace 50

Full out 50;

              ; Dysfunctional gestures 51

Pointing 51; Pointing 52

Volume/size 52; Volume/size 53

Regulators 53; Regulators 54

Rhythm of speech 54; Rhythm of speech 55

Signs 55; Signs 56

Imaginary props 56;

                ; Ideaograph 57

Drawings 57; Drawings 58

Affect display 58; Emotional expressions 59

Sounds 59; Sounds 60

Progression 60; Progression 61

Empowering head angle 61; Empowering head angle 62

Unfunctional head angle 62; Dysfunctional head angle 63

Standard head angle 63; Standard head angle 64

Amplifying head movement 64; Amplifying head movement 65

Stage presence 65; Owns the stage 66

Anchoring 66; Step forward 69

Vertical movement 67; Vertical movement 67

Power areas 68;

Horizontal movement 69; Horizontal movement 68

Bent knees 70; Bent knees 71

          ; Strategic positions 70

Amplification 71; Amplification 72

General eye contact 72; General eye contact 73

Sweeping 73; Swipe 74

Focus 74; Focus 75

Attire 75; Functional 76





















Entries for Facial Expressions are substantially the same.


Facial Expressions

Neutral 76; Neutral 77

Matching 77; Matching 78

Dramatising 78; Dramatising 79

Mouth 79; Mouth 80

Eyebrows 80; Eyebrows 81

Forehead 81; Forehead 82

Eyes 82; Eyes 83

Self laugh 83; Self laugh 84

Straight face 84; Serious Face 85





















Entries for Language are very similar.



Adapted 85; Adapted 86

Flow 86; Flow 87

Strong rhetorics 87; Strong rhetorics 88

Filler words 88; Filler words 89

Negations 89; Negations 90

Repetitive words 90; Repetitive words 91

Absolute words 91; Impossible words 92

Strategic 92; Visual language 93

Valued 93; Evaluative 94

Hexacolon 94; Hexacolon 95

Tricolon 95; Tricolon 96

Repetition 96; Repetition 97

Anaphora 97; Anaphor 98

Epiphora 98; Epiphor 99

Alliteration 99; Alliteration 100

Correctio 100; Correctio 100

Climax 101; Climax 102

Anadiplosis 102; Anadiplosis 103





















Entries for Ultimate Level are the same, except for the last two.


Ultimate Level

Loves presenting 103; Loves presenting 104

Role playing 104; Roleplaying 105

Total Intensity transition 105; Total Intensity transition 106

Acts out the obvious 106; Acts out the obvious 107

Present and authentic 107; Present and authentic 108

Synchronicity 108; Synchronicity 109

Contrast 109;

                      ;Divergent 110

Visualization 110;





















What is missing from his classification? Visual Aids such as Blackboards, Flip Charts, PowerPoint, Props, and Whiteboards. Under Body Language he only includes Imaginary Props 56 (like the finger phone handset shown above). In the podcast he mentions also having 136 Spices, which is where he puts Visual Aids. His total then is 246 Steps and Spices - a very long list to navigate.



Monday, June 20, 2022

A YouGov survey of U.S. adults found their most common fears were snakes, heights, spiders, public speaking, and disease


On June 16, 2022 there is an article by Taylor Orth at YouGovAmerica titled Three in 10 Americans fear snakes – and most who do fear them a great deal. It describes results from a survey of 1000 U.S. adults done between June 8 and June 13. They asked whether people feared any of three-dozen situations. Detailed results are provided via separate .pdf files. 











Overall results are shown above in a bar chart. Snakes (30%) were the most common fear, followed by Heights (28%), Spiders (24%), Public Speaking (23%) and Disease (21%). Then came Crowded Spaces and Enclosed Spaces (both 17%), I Have No Fears (16%), Insects (15%), and Fire (13%). The 23% for Public Speaking is less than a third of the 74% claimed in an August 2020 article, which I blogged about in a post titled Toastmaster magazine is spreading nonsense from John Bowe about how common the fear of public speaking is.



























The effect of gender is shown above via separate bar charts for females and males. There are sizable differences, with the largest for Snakes – feared by 39% of females and 19% of males. Public Speaking was feared by 26% of females versus 20% of males. A fourth bar chart shows the difference between females and males.     












A fifth bar chart shows how the fear of public speaking varies based on age, race, political party, family income, and census region. There is a consistent drop with age from 26% for age 18 to 29, 24% for age 30 to 44, 23% for age 45 to 64, and just 18% for age 65+.


This is the second U.S. fears survey done by YouGov. On April 14, 2022 I blogged about the first in a post titled YouGov survey of U.S. adults found they were most commonly very afraid of snakes, heights, public speaking, spiders, and being closed in a small space. The earlier survey asked about four levels (Very Afraid, A Little Afraid, Not Really Afraid, and Not Afraid At All) for just 13 fears.












A sixth bar chart compares those results for the highest level, Very Afraid, with those in the present one. In the present survey they also asked about three fear levels (for those who said they had a fear): A Great Deal, A Moderate Amount, and A Little. The YouGov article has a stacked bar chart showing that data.


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Speeches and slides need headlines - not just titles
















The title is an often-neglected part of a speech. It just is a distinguishing name.  Sometimes that does not matter. We don’t get to choose whether or not to listen to a club speech or a contest speech. But where there are competing presentations, like a breakout session at a Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI) or a District conference getting chosen becomes important. 


Titles That Talk is an article by Lesley Stephenson in the April 2021 issue of Toastmaster magazine. She claims that:


“Five words or less is the recommended maximum length for a speech title.”


Why ‘or less’? And are five words enough? I don’t think so. She got that five-word limit by looking at a curious sample - titles from Toastmasters World Championship speeches. But they’re inspirational speeches. Informative speeches deserve more.




















How does a headline differ from a title?


A headline is the head for a story or slide giving the essence of what follows – what it is about. (On the internet that’s called clickbait.) Look at a tabloid newspaper on the rack at your local supermarket checkout line. You will see headlines like Dwarf Rapes Nun; Flees in UFO!


There is a 2008 book by Dave Paradi titled The Visual Slide Revolution. I blogged about it back on March 30, 2010. In chapter 3, Dave says that once you find the key point of a slide you need to write a headline to describe it. A headline is not the same as a title. A title is a few words that might hint at the topic but doesn’t describe the meaning. A headline is a 6-to-10 word sentence (that will fit on two lines). It clearly states the key point for the audience.




Say something Super


The Sears catalog used to have three categories: Good, Better, and Best. At a web site called Best Speech Topics there is a page unfortunately instead called How to Write Good Speech Titles. But animated cereal commercials with Tony the Tiger didn’t say Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes just were good. He said that They’re Great! Try to use superlatives. 







Slides need headlines too.


 When I open PowerPoint, I get template that says:


“Click to add title” 


So that’s what I’m tempted to do. But Assertion-Evidence slides with a headline and a graphic (as shown above) are more powerful. Michael Alley described how to write them in his 2013 book The Craft of Scientific Presentations. On February 19, 2014 I blogged about them in a detailed post titled Assertion-evidence PowerPoint slides are a visual alternative to bullet point lists.


When you have finished writing your speech, take another look at the title and see if it could be improved.


Friday, June 10, 2022

Some food packages are shrinking















There is an article at AP News by Dee-Ann Durban on June 8, 2022 titled No, you’re not imagining it – package sizes are shrinking that was repeated at NPR with the title ‘Shrinkflation’ accelerates globally as manufacturers quietly shrink package sizes. It mentioned that Gator Ade bottles had been downsized by 12.5% from 32 oz. to 28 oz. I recently noticed that some 99-cent packages of dry pasta had gone down even more from 16 oz. to 12 oz. (by 25%). Wikipedia even has an article titled Shrinkflation.


The peanut butter jar came from Openclipart.


Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Spouting Nonsense: Common sense versus just making something up













At the Gem State Patriot News there is an article (blog post) on June 5, 2022 by Dr. John Livingston titled Time for Some Common Sense. His sixth paragraph says that:


“A list of 17,000 scientists signed a petition supporting ‘Science’ and Dr. Fauci. Apparently the ‘science was settled.”


His next paragraph just is a link to a press release from the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA), but instead it says 12,000 medical doctors, research scientists and public health experts.   


Dr. Livingston’s eighth paragraph begins by claiming:


“A list of 930,000 doctors, nurses’ public health specialists signed The Barrington Declaration in 2020 offering mitigation and lockdown strategies very different from those recommended by The World Health Organization (WHO), The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Dr. Fauci.”










This time he does not provide a link, but the current Signatures web page for The Great Barrington Declaration has very different information. As shown above via a bar chart, the Total Signatures were 930,528, Concerned Citizens were 867,612, Medical Practitioners were 47,037, and Medical & Public Health Scientists were 15,883. So, the sum for Medical Practitioners and Medical & Public Health Scientists really was 62,920 – or 5.24 times larger than the 12,000 for the ISDA. That honest number would have made his point, but instead he dishonestly used the total (14.8 times larger). I am awarding John a big red Spoutly award – a booby prize for Spouting Nonsense.


Dr. Livingston had told us the same nonsense in a previous article on December 17, 2021 titled The Covid “Boogey Man.” I made the following comment on it there:


“The last sentence in your first paragraph claimed there were: “…890,000 physicians and scientists from around the world who signed onto The Greater Barrington Project.” It actually is the Great Barrington Declaration. Their signatures web page now says there were a total of 902,673 but just 15,468 medical & public health scientists, and 45,609 medical practitioners for a sum of 61,077. The others were 836,337 concerned citizens. You inflated the number of physicians and scientists who signed by a factor of 14.8 times, which is ridiculous!”


His irrelevant reply was:


“Richard, Thank you for your thoughts. I consider nurses–RN. s. LPNs, nurses’ aides, technicians, physical therapists all to be in the category of ‘health care professional’. I have no way of knowing what percentage of the total number includes those professions, but it is certainly a sizable percentage. These are the very people whose voices have not been heard, and yet they are the ones who every day take care of sick patients. Politicians and administrators and ‘experts’ who all are supporting a political narrative are overrepresented by the press and media. The Greater Barrington Declaration gives these people a voice as well as patients.”


It is debatable whether the strategies in the Great Barrington Declaration made sense. In an article at Respectful Insolence on April 29, 2022, David Gorski explained that The Great Barrington Declaration never would have worked.


Back on July 28, 2021 I also had blogged about Dr. Livingston in a post titled What is a fairy tale and what is real?


Saturday, June 4, 2022

A warning to park your vehicle outside - because it could cause a fire














Imagine getting a notice from the manufacturer of your car or truck telling you not to park it in your garage. That’s called a ‘park outside’ warning. It can be issued when a serious fire problem is identified, but before there is a definitive solution. Three examples of that sort of press release from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are:


One on November 13, 2020 titled NHTSA Consumer Alert: Important Chevrolet Bolt recall for fire risk which begins:


“Owners of select Model Year 2017-2019 Chevrolet Bolt vehicles should park their cars outside and away from homes until their vehicles have been repaired, due to a new recall for the risk of fire. GM has issued a recall of 50,932 Chevrolet Bolt vehicles for the potential of an unattended fire in the high-voltage battery pack underneath the back seat’s bottom cushion.  The affected vehicles’ cell packs have the potential to smoke and ignite internally, which could spread to the rest of the vehicle and cause a structure fire if parked inside a garage or near a house. These vehicles can catch fire even if they are turned off, parked, and disconnected from a charging unit.  NHTSA has confirmed five known fires with two injuries; at least one of the fires spread from the vehicle and ignited a home.  Until these recalled vehicles have been repaired, the safest place to park them is outside and away from homes.”


Another on February 8, 2022 titled Consumer Alert: Kia and Hyundai Ford issue park outside ordered for select Sportage, K900 and Santa Fe vehicles begins:


“Kia Motors America and Hyundai Motor America recommend that owners of select model year 2014-2016 Kia Sportage, 2016-2018 Kia K900 and 2016-2018 Hyundai Santa Fe vehicles park their vehicle outdoors and away from other vehicles or structures due to a risk of fire, even if the vehicle is turned off.”


Yet another on May 19, 2022 titled Consumer Alert: Ford issues park outside warning for 2021 Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators begins: 


“Ford Motor Co. is warning rental car companies and other owners of 2021 Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators to park their vehicles outside due to the risk of fire. The automaker has confirmed 16 fires, mostly in vehicles that were unattended. Fourteen of these fires were in rental cars. Until further notice, owners of these affected vehicles should not park them inside – they should only be parked outside and away from homes and other structures. Fires have occurred in vehicles that were parked and turned off. More than 39,000 vehicles are affected, and at this time there is no known cause or remedy.  Ford has filed a recall with NHTSA and will be notifying owners with instructions.” 


Why is there no cause given for that latest warning? Vehicle fire investigation is difficult since a growing fire can destroy evidence of its origin and cause.


On April 14, 2016 I blogged about a driver side airbag inflator recall in a post titled How not to communicate – Honda told me my car is literally da bomb. On December 6, 2018 I blogged about the other passenger airbag recall in another post titled My 2012 Honda Fit is still da bomb – another Takata airbag inflator recall.


Cartoons of a home and a fire both came from Openclipart.


Thursday, June 2, 2022

Spouting nonsense: a fake statistic in an article on how public speaking is related to leadership












There is an article by Dane Cobain at Speakerhub on May 30, 2022 titled How public speaking is related to leadership. It has nine paragraphs titled:


Leaders need to:

Challenge the status quo

Bring people together

Overcome their fear

Lead from the heart

Tap into emotional intelligence

Accurately convey information

Address people’s needs

Always be prepared to answer questions

Continuously learn


His third paragraph on how Leaders need to overcome their fears begins by claiming that:


“Public speaking is the world’s most common phobia, ahead of fears such as death, spiders and heights.”


That statement violates his sixth paragraph, titled Leaders need to accurately convey information. The first clause in Dane’s third paragraph links to another article at the National Social Anxiety Center which is titled Public Speaking Anxiety. That article contains a fake statistic. It claims that:


“The fear of public speaking is the most common phobia ahead of death, spiders, or heights. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that public speaking anxiety, or glossophobia, affects about 73% of the population.”


That is rubbish, which I blogged about on March 22, 2019 in a post titled An apparently authoritative statistic about fear of public speaking that really lacks any support. The 73% just is crap from Statistic Brain. So, Dane is awarded a Spoutly for spouting nonsense.


Could his article have been better another way? On January 28, 2017 I blogged about How many items should be on a list of tips or top tips? He could have added a tenth paragraph, and changed the title to the Top Ten ways public speaking is related to leadership.