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Speakers: Use a “Sidebar” to . . .

Updated: Mar 13


Emphasize and Clarify.

For writing articles or books, a Sidebar is separate from the main text on a page. It is often a shorter piece of information related to the main topic or gives another point of view about the topic.

For Presentations, a Sidebar can be a pattern interrupt that grabs your audience’s attention.

It is then used to emphasize or clarify something you just delivered.

Example: Raising my hand high in the air, I ask the audience: “Who believes speaking opportunities are business, career, and leadership opportunities?”

Sidebar: I literally ‘step to the side’ and say, “Sidebar!” After pausing for a moment, which gathers everyone’s attention, I ask: “Did you see what I just did and your reaction?” Again, pausing before continuing, I say, “When I asked the question and raised my hand, most of you also raised your hands. Had I not done so, not as many would have followed my non-verbal communication. (I then raise my hand to reinforce the point.)

Announcing “Sidebar!” grabs everyone’s attention. They are immediately aware something different is about to take place. That’s a good thing because our attention span is short.

Some in the audience may have mentally disconnected from your talk. The “Sidebar!” declaration brings them back to the moment. Combine that exclamation with physically moving to the side (Sidebar!) and those in attendance are primed for what comes next.

Another example: “It’s time to wrap up this presentation. Before I do, let’s review what we covered today.” “Sidebar!” “See what I just did! I told you the closing is coming and then explained we’ll do a review before I close the presentation.

This is important because your audience should know when you’re finished speaking. Too often a speaker stops talking, pauses, and says, “Thanks for having me!” Pretty under-whelming, right? Your Closing can have a surprise in it, but it should not be the surprise. Telling your audience, ‘This is the end!’ gets their attention. Good, because the last thing you say and do will be the first thing they will remember.”

Use Sidebars in your presentations to grab your audience’s attention to emphasize and clarify something just presented. Do that, and I guarantee your presentations will be absolutely, positively – NO SWEAT!



About the Author Fred E. Miller is a speaker, an international coach, and the author of the books, “NO SWEAT Public Speaking!” and “NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!”

Businesses, Individuals, and Organizations hire him because they want to improve their Networking, Public Speaking, andPresentation Skills.

They do this because they know:"Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities."

They also know:We perceive really great speakers to be Experts. We like to work with Experts.

He shows them how to: Develop, Practice, and Deliver Fantastic Presentations! with – NO SWEAT!


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  1. Lessening The Fear of Public Speaking with – NO SWEAT!

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  3. Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

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תגובה אחת

Robert Black
Robert Black
22 בינו׳

Fred I have been using many, many, different versions of what you have just described as SIDE BARS in print: books, blogs, articles, newsletter and in my various types of speaking presentations from Keynotes to 40 hrs in one week masters degree courses or in one on one chats. IMPROV and CLOWNING training taught me many Many of the storytelling methods I have observed that other storytellers or speakers use I have borrowed, adapted or used to create my own.

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