How To Speak by Patrick Winston

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Patrick Winston at MIT

Patrick Winston’s How to Speak talk has been an MIT tradition for over 40 years. Offered every January, the talk is intended to improve your speaking ability in critical situations by teaching you a few heuristic rules. The actual link of the class is at the end of this article.

A summary of the whole talk at MIT How to Speak, IAP 2018

1. Do not start a talk with a joke.
2. Promise – Tell them what they gonna learn at the end of your talk.
3. Cycle – make your idea repeated many times in order to be completely clear for everyone.
4. Make a “Fence” around your idea so that it can be distinguished from someone else’s idea.
5. Verbal punctuation – sum up information within your talk sometimes to make listeners get back on.
6. Ask a question – intriguing one

Place and Time
1. Best time for having a lecture is 11 am. (not too early and not after lunch)
2. The place should be well lit.
3. The place should be seen and checked before the lecture.
4. The place should not be full less than a half, it must be chosen according to the number of listeners.

Tools For teaching
1. Board – it’s got graphics, speed, target. Watch your hands! Don’t hold them behind your back, it’s better to keep them straight and use them for pointing at the board.
2. Props – use them in order to make your ideas visual. Visual perception is the most effective way to interact with listeners.

For Job Talk. Exposing, Slides
1. Don’t put too many words on a slide. Slides should just reflect what you’re saying, not the other way around. Pictures attract attention and people start to wait for your explanation – use that tip.
2. Make slides as easy as you can – no title, no distracting pictures, frames, points, and so on.
3. Do not use laser pointer – due to that you lose eye contact with the audience. Instead, you can make the arrows just upon a slide.

Show your listeners your stuff is cool and interesting.
You have to be able to:
1. Show your vision of that problem
2. Show that you’ve done particular things (by steps) All of that should be done real quick in no more than 5 min.
3. Persuade your listeners you’re not a rookie (Prof. Winston contrived to do that from the very first seconds of his talk)

Getting Famous
If you want to your ideas be remembered you’ve got to have “5 S”

1. Symbols associate with your ideas (visual perception is the best way to attract attention)
2. Slogan (describing your idea)
3. Surprise (common fallacy that is no longer true, for instance, just after you’ve told about it)
4. Salient Idea (not necessarily important but the one that sticks out) – Story (how you did it, how it works…)

How to End
1. Don’t put collaborators at the end, do that at the beginning.
2. Question’s the worst way to end a talk.

3. It’s good to end with a Contribution slide
4. to sum up, everything you’ve told with your OWN decision.
5. At the very end you could tell a joke since people then will leave the event feeling fun and thus keep a good memory of your talk.
6. “Thank you (for listening)” isn’t a good ending, it’s trite at least. You can end with a quote of a prominent person (my own knowledge), with a salute to people (how much you valued the time being here, the people over here…, “I’d like to get back, it was fun!”

Collected by
Youtube Channel Name: ___GRIG ___

For the youtube link to the actual talk click here

1 thought on “How To Speak by Patrick Winston”

  1. We’re so lucky that this gem of a lecture was captured before he died. Now he can deliver this talk every year, just like he did before.

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