Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Public Speaking Tips: Use a Demostration

by Anne Durrum Robinson

Tom, I have to pass this on. Some years ago I was teaching a large group in business and professional writing. I wanted them to realize the biggest error in most business and professional writing so I had each person blow up a balloon and then stick a pin in it. (Amusingly that was a very difficult task for balloon lovers.)

When all 65 folks stuck the pins in at more or less the same time the results were loud pops! The point to the exercise, of course,was to show how little one had left when one took all the hot air out of one's business writing. All seemed to get that point. What I personally didn't understand was why, after all that unusual noise, nobody came to see if we were okay.

NOTE FROM TOM: This same exercise can be used to simulate an indoor fireworks show. Of course, there is no fire and smoke but it sounds like it. Also, you can have the people stomp on the balloons which makes for a fun visual.

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