Alltop is a site that brings together blogs from a specific niche in a way that allows you to quickly skim and scan. They’ve recently added a category for speaking blogs. The blogs are not explicitly ranked but the first 10 blogs to be mentioned will get more attention. So here’s my review of each of these blogs:
- Presentation Zen. This blog established Garr Reynolds as the guru of presentation slide design and led to his excellent book Presentation Zen. The focus of the blog has shifted in the last few months as Garr has been kept busier by his international speaking engagements. There are fewer posts and they tend to be about his travels and presentations – but always with a gem thrown in to keep you thinking. And he’s still producing brilliant slideshows on the latest books. He has earnt the No 1 slot for his perceptive and unique take on the visual art of presenting. But if you really want to see what the fuss is about, plunge into the archives or buy the book.
- Creating your Communications Experience. This is Bert Decker’s blog. He’s a big name in the US presentation training industry. The blog is updated every 1-2 weeks on average and the posts tend to be newsy. For example, commenting on recent political speeches, advances in technology, or a new article on speaking recently posted elsewhere. My impression is that this blog is very much a sideline for Bert- when something happens he’ll blog about it. Not sure why this blog is in the no 2 slot.
- Presentation Revolution. This is the blog of Ethos3, a presentation training and slide design company. Scott Schwertly is the main contributor, but others post too and it’s updated daily. There’s a clear theme to the blog – drawing lessons about presenting from movies, commercials and sport. There are also regular features – a presentation critique and a presentation tips video “3 tips in 33 seconds“. Fun and irreverent.
- Humor Power. This is the blog of John Kinde, a Toastmaster from Las Vegas. I don’t subscribe to this blog, so I wasn’t familiar with it before clicking on it from Alltop. My first impresssion was that the boring design and intrusive google ads let the blog down. John posts about twice a week. The blog is focused on funny lines and jokes that you can use in a speech. So if you’re wanting humorous inspiration, it’s a good place to go. However, this is a very narrow subniche within the speaking niche and I’m not sure why this blog is so high in Alltop.
- Six Minutes. Andrew Dlugan loves analysis and categorisation- and his audience benefits. Andrew gives us “Public Speaking Articles: Week in Review” every Saturday highlighting the top speaking posts during the week. He’s also the author of 106 Public Speaking Blogs – an authoritative list of the public speaking blogosphere. And he can also write great posts – like this one on giving your statistics meaning.
- Speak Schmeak. Lisa Braithwaite updates her blog almost daily and gives useful insights into presenting. Lisa lets her personal voice come through, and over time, you’ll start to feel as if you know her. The blog occasionally strays away from public speaking – but that’s part of the charm.
- Beyond Bullet Points. Cliff Atkinson is the Powerpoint slide expert who wrote the book Beyond Bullets. His main focus now is a paid membership site and the blog seems to be used mainly to announce events for members and technology tips. The principal author is now Meryl Evans. To get the benefits of Cliff’s thinking on the use of PowerPoint you’ll need to visit his old blog Beyond Bullets. There’s also a great list of his articles here.
- Pistachio Consulting. This is the blog of Laura Fitton, presentation trainer turned social media expert. The blog has changed with her – out of the 10 posts on the home page, only one was about presenting. The posting frequency is erratic. Some useful presentation tips but you’ll have to go to the archives to get them.
- The Public Speaking Blog. Eric Feng is a Singapore-based Toastmaster and speech coach. He writes with energy and enthusiasm and posts about twice a week.
- Memo to C-level Speakers. Pete Ryckman has a speech writing background and it shows. Each post is well thought out, structured and illustrated with a relevant anecdote. He posts once or twice a week.
So some of the Top 10 blogs are past their best. Who would I promote?
- The Extreme Presentation Method. Andrew Abela is a presentation trainer with a particular interest in visual thinking – how to effectively portray concepts in a visual way. There are many excellent visual thinking resources on his blog. He supports his advice with evidence – see his post on evidence-based presenting. He doesn’t post that often but every post is worth reading.
- The YouBlog. Some of his posts come across as a bit of a rant, but John Windsor is not afraid to challenge conventional advice. He often has an interesting visual – a combination of an image with scrawled handwriting. See his post on graphics for more ideas.
- Dave Paradi’s PowerPoint Blog. Dave Paradi takes the principles of effective use of PowerPoint and shows you how to do it in practice. His weekly slide makeover podcasts are excellent.