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Speak, Share and Learn: Public Speaking

By Nell Aronoff

UNYSLA’s spring meeting, Speak, Share, Learn, started of the day with two key presentations on public speaking.

Susan McCarthy, director of the Buffalo State College Small Business Development Center, spoke about the power of effective communication in achieving goals and objectives.  She shared her tips with the group and demonstrated how to give an engaging, direct presentation.  Her first recommendation was to speak with passion and enthusiasm and to believe in the presentation’s message.  Ms. McCarthy stressed the importance of developing a connection with the audience since a rapport with the audience enhances the ability to communicate.  Keeping the message to one overarching theme is also crucial because the audience should never have to wonder what the point of the talk is.  This shows a respect for their time and reduces the likelihood that they’ll become disinterested.

Ms. McCarthy followed with a discussion about the three presentation types (informative, persuasive and entertaining/evocative) and also detailed five steps to making an effective presentation.  Her five key steps to make an effective presentation are: get someone’s attention; get right to your discussion; let the audience know what you are going to tell them about; summarize what you’ve said; and leave the audience with a closing task or take home message.  Lastly, Ms. McCarthy shared her strategies for keeping cool under pressure.

Bill Grieshober, an advisor with the Buffalo State College Small Business Development Center, addressed the group with his best practices for presentations.  He described the reasons why people have a fear of presenting and then offered some mental and physical strategies to help them combat this fear.  Mr. Grieshober pinpointed the three factors for presentation success (visual, vocal, and content) and explained how to go about organizing content for a presentation.  He outlined Guy Kawaski’s 10/20/30 Rule, which instructs presenters to use ten slides, prepare for a twenty minute presentation, and use thirty point font.  Most importantly, he advised to be prepared and get some practice speaking in front of someone or a group.


Nell Aronoff is a student in the Library & Information Sciences program at SUNY Buffalo. Nell attended the University of Rochester and has a B.A. in political science and a minor in studio art.

She spent two years in Richmond, V.A. working for a national non-profit health care organization. Her desire to work in an academic arts library or special library, especially in the museum field, led her back to school to pursue her MLS. Besides going to school, Nell enjoys watching movies, printmaking, baking, and traveling.

Nell Aronoff

One Response to “Speak, Share and Learn: Public Speaking”

  1. Sounds interesting,thanks for informing us ..


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