Not every nail needs a hammer


Many speaking tips that I have learned, used successfully and post here apply to a great number of different speaking situations. However, no speaking situation requires you to use every tip and tool you learn from me or anyone else. In fact, to follow the nail analogy, when you look more closely, you may see that the nail is really a screw or a bolt. In those cases you put the hammer away and get the right tool.

If you’re a director having a meeting with your employees, you probably don’t need to have an introducer start by listing your relevant accomplishments.

Handling those who interrupt you is quite different in the work environment from how it’s handled on the stage.

Know your Audience:
This tip is always important, but it may not require as much work with repeat audiences.

While it can make a positive difference  in your presentation, huge, sweeping gestures probably aren’t needed in a job interview. Notice how TV anchors don’t need many gestures (except the weatherman), and don’t get me started on radio DJs…

Writing your speech:
Some situations may call for a scripted presentation, some for just notes.

Avoid Powerpoint:
Sometimes you’re compelled to use it, sometimes it is a great tool that you should use. Many times…neither.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different tools in different environments. For things that count (interviews, presentations at work, etc.) find a way to try new things in a simulated environment first before testing on your boss. When you hammer that screw in, it may seem easier, but the structure won’t stand the test of time. Using the right speaking tools at the right time can be just like using the right screwdriver: when you choose wisely, you do a more professional job, and it’s easier in the long run.

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