10 Public Speaking Tips from 20 Years of Speaking

Just stepping into the world of public speaking? These public speaking tips from my 20 years of delivering keynote speeches and motivational talks can help you. Let me guide you in crafting speeches that resonate and inspire.

Discover the true joy of public speaking.

Public Speaking

Public speaking is the act of talking to a group of people in an organized way to inform, influence, or entertain them. It requires standing before an audience to present a prepared message clearly and engagingly, using words and sometimes visual aids to help convey ideas.

This form of communication can take place in various settings, from small meetings to large conferences, and can serve different purposes, such as teaching a class, proposing business ideas, or celebrating special occasions. The main goal is to connect with the audience and deliver the message effectively.

Nowadays, public speaking can also happen online. With platforms like Zoom, speakers can reach audiences worldwide without being in the same room, using video calls to deliver speeches and interact with listeners.

public speaking workshops

1. Know your starving crowd.

Before you write your speech, walk in the shoes of your audience. It means researching and understanding the demographics, preferences, and expectations of the listeners before you speak.

Ensure that your message resonates and the content is tailored specifically to your audience.

Every audience is unique. What resonates with one group might fall flat with another. By knowing your crowd, you ensure relevance and connection.

Studies in communication suggest that audience-centric approaches improve comprehension and engagement, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the message delivered.

Meet Alex. Passionate and knowledgeable, Alex always had so much to share but struggled to make a lasting impression during presentations at work. Eager to improve, Alex attended one of our public speaking workshops. The first rule he learned was “Know Your Crowd.”

In the next team meeting, instead of diving straight into the numbers and data, Alex took a moment to consider his colleagues – their roles, their challenges, and what they sought from his presentation. 

Tailoring his message to their needs, Alex noticed an immediate shift. Not only did his bosses praise him for his improved clarity and relevance, but his colleagues also engaged more, asking questions and sparking discussions.

How he spoke became more attuned, more responsive. His audience no longer just heard him; they listened.

ProTip 1: Before your speech, take a moment to profile your audience. What are their backgrounds? What are their expectations? A simple survey or a quick chat can provide invaluable insights. Tailor your content to align with this understanding.

get started in public speaking

2. Start with a bang.

You need a compelling opening. Initiate your speech with something that immediately captures your audience’s attention, be it a fascinating story, a surprising fact, or a powerful quote.

A strong start is like the cover of a book – it sets the tone and evokes curiosity. Scientific research suggests that our brains are more receptive to information when intrigued or challenged. Hence, an impactful beginning ensures your listeners are engaged right from the start.

Meet Jamie. Jamie was a budding entrepreneur, often finding herself in meetings pitching ideas. However, her pitches usually began with dry statistics, leaving potential investors disinterested. After joining our public speaking workshop, she learned the rule: “Start with a Bang.”

For her next pitch, Jamie opened with a personal story of what inspired her business idea. The room was immediately hooked. By the end of her presentation, investors were leaning in, eager to learn more. The change was evident – not just in the nods and smiles she received but in the influx of questions and interest post-pitch.

Want to captivate your audience from the get-go? Begin your speech with a bang. Join our workshop to unlock this technique and more. Make every word count and every start unforgettable!

ProTip 2: Consider the most compelling part of your message. Can it be your opener? A quote, a story, or a question – choose something that resonates with your topic and sparks curiosity.

3. Craft your audience’s journey.

Structure your speech. Design a clear path from introduction to conclusion, ensure each segment flows seamlessly into the next. Think of it as mapping out a journey for your audience to follow, making it as engaging and insightful as possible.

A well-structured speech aids comprehension and retention. Cognitive studies highlight that our brains process and remember information better when it follows a logical and predictable pattern. By crafting your journey, you’re setting up your audience for optimal understanding.

Meet Ravi. An academic by profession, Ravi frequently presented his research at conferences. However, feedback often pointed to his talks being a tad disjointed. Eager for change, he participated in our public speaking workshop and he learned how to craft the journey of his audience.

At his next conference, Ravi unveiled his research like a storyteller, with a defined beginning, middle, and end. The result? His presentation was met with applause, appreciation, and engaging discussions. No longer lost in a maze of data, listeners now followed Ravi on a captivating academic journey.

Eager to deliver impactful and coherent presentations? Dive into the art of crafting your journey. Join our workshop and let us guide you in creating speeches that resonate and inspire.

ProTip 3: Outline your speech beforehand. Identify key milestones and ensure there’s a logical transition between them. A clear roadmap not only aids your delivery but also your audience’s understanding.

4. Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse.

Preparation is very valuable. Just knowing your content isn’t enough; mastering its delivery through repeated practice is crucial. It’s about refining your tone, pace, and pauses to perfect the delivery of your message.

The importance of rehearsal can’t be overstated. Neuroscientific research reveals that repetition strengthens neural pathways, making actions more automatic and less anxiety-inducing.

In essence, the more you practice, the more confident and natural your delivery becomes.

Meet Isabella. A rising star in her company, she often had insights to share in meetings. Yet, her nervousness and sporadic delivery often overshadowed her content. Determined to overcome this, Isabella enrolled in our public speaking workshop and was introduced to the golden rule of “Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse.”

For an upcoming company-wide presentation, Isabella practiced diligently. She rehearsed multiple times, refining her delivery with each attempt. On the day, Isabella spoke confidently, her words flowing effortlessly. Her colleagues were impressed, praising her clarity and composure. The change wasn’t just in her delivery; Isabella felt a newfound confidence from within.

Looking to exude confidence and poise in your speeches? The secret lies in rehearsal. Immerse yourself in our workshop, and we’ll equip you with techniques to practice effectively and present impeccably.

ProTip 4: Don’t just run through your content in your mind. Practice out loud, in front of a mirror, or record yourself. This allows you to catch inconsistencies and refine your delivery.

make it relatable

5. Make it relatable.

Weave familiarity into your speech. This rule champions the use of anecdotes, real-world examples, and stories that your audience can connect with.

Ground your message in contexts that resonate with your listeners. Speak with empathy.

Human beings are naturally drawn to stories and scenarios they can relate to. Psychological studies show that relatable content fosters empathy, making the message more memorable and impactful.

When an audience sees themselves in your narrative, they’re more likely to engage and understand.

Meet Carlos. An environmental scientist, Carlos was passionate about climate change and often presented with its dire consequences.

However, his talks, brimming with charts and statistics, rarely struck a chord. After attending our public speaking workshop, Carlos discovered the power of making content relatable.

In his subsequent presentation, Carlos intertwined global data with local stories of communities grappling with climate change. By showcasing relatable examples, Carlos saw his audience nodding in understanding and concern. The feedback was overwhelming; attendees appreciated how he made a global issue feel personal and immediate.

Want to captivate your audience and make your message unforgettable? Learn the art of making it relatable. Bridge the gap between your content and your audience’s heart.

I invite you to read how public speaking turned my life around.

ProTip 5: Integrate stories or examples that mirror your audience’s experiences or concerns. The more they can see themselves in your narrative, the more invested they’ll become.

If you are looking for ways to turn your managers into leaders, book a discovery call. Let’s talk about your needs and explore opportunities for collaboration.

6. Use visual aids wisely.

Effectively integrate visuals in your presentation. Visual aids—be it slides, graphs, images, or props—should complement and enhance your spoken words, not overshadow them.

Visual learning is a cornerstone of comprehension for many. Studies indicate that a significant portion of the population benefits from visual input alongside auditory information. The right visuals can simplify complex ideas, emphasize key points, and engage your audience in ways words alone might not.

Meet Elena. As a product manager, she frequently gave updates on her team’s progress, using slide decks filled with text and bullet points. Despite her best intentions, she often lost her audience’s attention. Then, Elena attended our public speaking workshop and learned the importance of using visual aids wisely.

For her next update, Elena transformed her presentation. She incorporated images showcasing product features, minimalist slides highlighting major points, and infographics depicting progress metrics. The difference was palpable. Her team was more engaged, discussions were lively, and her bosses commended her innovative approach.

Ready to give presentations that are not just heard but also seen and remembered? Harness the power of visual aids. Create visuals that complement your words and captivate your audience.

ProTip 6: Remember the adage: less is more. When using slides, opt for minimal text, impactful images, and clear, concise data visualizations. Your visuals should support, not replace, your narrative.

fear of public speaking

7. Let your body speak.

Non-verbal communication in public speaking amplifies your message. Non-verbal communication encompasses everything from your posture and gestures to facial expressions and eye contact. While words convey your message, your body language amplifies its emotion and intent.

Our brain is hardwired to pick up on non-verbal cues. According to research, a substantial part of our communication is non-verbal.

Effective body language reinforces your message, builds trust, and engages your audience, while conflicting cues can lead to confusion or mistrust.

Meet Samuel. A passionate educator, Samuel’s lectures were always informative. However, he had a habit of pacing continuously and avoiding eye contact. After some feedback, he decided to attend our public speaking workshop, where he learned the importance of “Your Body Speaks Too.”

Incorporating what he learned, Samuel’s next lecture was transformative. He made intentional eye contact, used purposeful gestures to emphasize points, and stood confidently. His students were noticeably more engaged, later sharing that the lecture felt more interactive and personal.

Eager to make every aspect of your communication resonate? Dive deep into the nuances of non-verbal cues. Join our workshop and let your body amplify your message in the most powerful way.

ProTip 7: Practice in front of a mirror or record yourself. Observe your body language. Are your gestures aligning with your words? Is your posture confident? Aim for congruence between what you say and how you say it.

8. Be authentic.

Genuine, heartfelt communication often resonates the most. It’s about being true to yourself, your experiences, and your feelings when you speak. Authenticity fosters connection and builds trust with your audience.

Being genuine has a profound impact. Psychological studies have shown that audiences are more receptive and trusting of speakers who come across as authentic and sincere. When you share from the heart, your audience feels it and is more likely to engage.

Meet Li. A talented young marketer, Li often looked to popular speakers and tried to emulate their style, believing it would make her presentations more impactful. Yet, something always felt amiss. After attending our public speaking workshop, she grasped the importance of “Authenticity Shines.”

Embracing her unique style and experiences, Li’s next presentation was about a marketing strategy she genuinely believed in. She spoke from her heart, with genuine enthusiasm. Her team felt her authenticity, and her ideas were met with unparalleled enthusiasm and support.

Wishing to form a genuine connection with your audience? Let your authenticity shine. Join our workshop to discover your unique voice and make a lasting impression every time you speak.

ProTip 8: Don’t try to mimic someone else’s style. Find your voice and embrace it. Reflect on what you truly believe and communicate it with sincerity.

9. Handle questions like a pro.

Effectively engage with audience queries. Whether during a formal Q&A session or an impromptu question, addressing queries confidently and concisely showcases your expertise and maintains the flow of your presentation.

Handling questions adeptly is crucial. Research in communication dynamics indicates that the Q&A session can significantly influence an audience’s perception of the speaker’s expertise and credibility. A well-handled question can solidify your message, while a fumbled response can detract from it.

Meet Aisha. As a tech lead, she often presented updates to stakeholders. While her presentations were solid, the Q&A sessions often left her flustered, causing doubt among her listeners. After joining our public speaking workshop, she embraced the strategy to “Handle Questions Like a Pro.”

At her next presentation, Aisha was poised and prepared. When faced with a challenging question, she took a moment, addressed it with clarity, and even admitted when she needed to check specific details. Her stakeholders were impressed with her honesty and confidence, praising her improved communication skills.

Aspiring to impress not just with your speech but also your Q&A prowess? Mastery lies in handling questions effectively.

ProTip 9: Always listen to the full question before responding. If unsure, it’s okay to admit you don’t have the answer on hand but will follow up. This displays honesty and commitment.

10. Reflect and iterate.

Public speaking is a learning journey. Every presentation offers lessons. It’s about gathering feedback, introspecting on what went well and what didn’t, and then refining your approach for the next time.

Continuous self-assessment is pivotal for growth. Educational research suggests that reflection enhances learning outcomes. By analyzing one’s performance and iterating based on feedback, speakers can consistently enhance their effectiveness and connection with audiences.

Meet Diego. An enthusiastic event organizer, Diego frequently addressed large groups. While he received decent feedback, he felt there was room for improvement. Upon attending our public speaking workshop, he resonated with the principle of “Reflect and Iterate.”

Post his next event, Diego actively sought feedback, took notes on his observations, and identified areas of improvement. At subsequent events, attendees began commenting on how his speeches were becoming more engaging and impactful. For Diego, this continuous cycle of reflection and iteration became his formula for success.

Hungry for consistent growth in your public speaking journey? The key lies in reflection and iteration.

After each presentation, set aside time to reflect. What resonated with your audience? What could be improved? Seek feedback and be open to it, using it as a tool for growth.

Master the Art of Public Speaking

Public speaking is a journey, one that is carved with persistence, introspection, and continuous learning. Each of the 10 public speaking tips outlined above serves as a stepping stone, guiding you toward becoming a more impactful and confident speaker. 

Whether you’re addressing a small group or a vast audience, the essence remains the same: effective communication that resonates and inspires.

It’s not just about knowing these rules but internalizing and applying them. By understanding the nuances of each principle and weaving them into your presentations, you set yourself on a path to leave a lasting impression every time you take the stage.

Remember, every speech is an opportunity, a platform to share ideas, inspire change, and connect deeply with your audience.

So, equip yourself with these speaking tips, practice diligently, seek feedback, and iterate. The world needs to hear your voice, and with the right tools and techniques, you can ensure it rings loud, clear, and compelling.1

Dive deep, apply, and watch as your public speaking journey transforms from a challenge into a cherished skill. Your audience awaits! 🎤

When you need to train a group of managers to become effective public speakers, schedule a discovery session so I can help you.

  1. Do you want to learn more, explore these public speaking terms. ↩︎

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