14 Public Speaking Tips

We all have to speak in public from time to time.  We have compiled 14 tips from a range of public speaking experts to improve your overall delivery.
1. Careful with the use of PowerPoint

The first time a speaker brought a drawing, a piece of art, a flip chart, a slide show or any object on to the stage to stimulate the audience’s sense of sight as well as sound, speaking became presenting. PowerPoint is but a tool, used well by some, miserably by many. Using this tool allows presenters to engage one more of the audience’s five senses. As each sense is stimulated the retention of the material grows exponentially.

2. Don’t shoot the messenger

Paull Murray

Paull Murray

Move the audience from the amygdala part of their brain to the neocortex. Laughter is an excellent stimulus to accomplish this.

3. Engage all of their senses

Engage all five senses and your presentation contents will remain with the viewer measurably longer.

Paull Murray, Managing Director at TTG International Management

4. Find a friendly face

Jean Luc Lebrun

The great 17th-century philosopher and scientist, Pascal,  had a thought that applies to public speaking rather well.
It states: “There are some who don’t write well, but speak well. The place or the audience warms them, so much so that they are able to draw from their mind more than they could without that warmth.”
During our face-to-face with the audience, most of us would feel much more at ease, if only we could find that warmth Pascal mentions… We will not find it if we do not look for it. Find a friendly face in the audience, and let its warmth release your thoughts. Return your smile, not just to that face, but to all, to thaw the audience. You may not have much control over the place, but your smile certainly has the power to defrost any audience. Then let the defrosted audience contribute to the total release of your brilliant mind.
Jean-Luc Lebrun, Writer & Trainer

5. Get to know your audience

Nothing is more important, in my opinion, that getting to know the group to which you will be presenting. A little homework goes a long way. Every time you speak it needs to be a “personal” experience for the audience.

Sue Fiedler, PHR Sr. Training & Dev Specialist at Driscoll Children’s Hospital

6. Get to know the room

Jo Robinson

Familiarise yourself with the room.  Allow plenty of time to walk around and practise using the microphone and any visual aids.

7. Don’t apologise
The audience don’t know what you are going to say, so if you make a mistake, they won’t even realise.

8. Speak with confidence

Remember to project your voice clearly but without shouting.

Sminesh Babu

Sminesh Babu

Jo Robinson, Presentation Magazine
9. Smile
Always have a smile on when you present in public.

Sminesh Babu, Sr. Manager
– India Sales at Harbinger Knowledge Products

Robert Buccino

Robert Buccino

10. Look around for advice

There’s a blogful of tips going back more than two years at the PitchSmarter blog, http://neocortexconsult.com/blog

Robert Buccino, Owner, Neocortex Consulting Group

Sir John Harvey-Jones

Sir John Harvey-Jones

11. State the obvious

Don’t be afraid to the state what is obvious to you, it may not be obvious to the audience.

Sir John Harvey-Jones
Chairman of ICI from 1982 to 1987 and probably best known for his BBC television show Troubleshooter.

Terry Waite

Terry Waite

12. Be prepared to adapt

Be prepared to adapt what you have to say at the last moment to accommodate your audience.

Terry Waite CBE
– British humanitarian and author

Ranulph Fiennes

Ranulph Fiennes

13. Make each audience think you care about them

Don’t treat every audience to the same presentation as though they were all mere listening machines. Wherever possible, make each audience think you care about them and you feel lucky or honoured to get the chance to address them.

Ranulph Fiennes
– Explorer

Martha Lane Fox

Martha Lane Fox

14. Concentrate on tone and pace

80 per cent of your speech or presentation will be forgotten! I think the most important thing to remember is your tone and pace.

Martha Lane Fox
– Co founder of Lastminute.com


Published On: 11th Jan 2010

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  1. this side give a wonderful tips to presant your topices . i m very impresed it


    nandni sharma 12 Jan at 6:49 am
  2. Hi, I have many business presentatations to give, but I’m terrified of speaking. Could anyone recommend any expert coaching that’s affordable?

    Susan 28 Jan at 8:48 pm
  3. They are wonderful suggestations.

    Teja seelam 2 Feb at 12:14 pm
  4. Hey there Susan,

    In response to your question, try out TJ Walker’s Master Speaker Online program. You record yourself and have progress reports, great way to improve. good luck!


    karen 2 Feb at 10:40 pm
  5. There’s some really good stuff in here. I’ve set up Speakeasy Groups here in the UK to allow business people to test-drive their message on a focus group audience, aided by a facilitator/coach. The feedback they get in a safe environment benefits all those present. Key lessons include:

    keep it simple.
    it’s about the message.
    they’re buying you, not the presentation technology.
    make it personal.
    understand the audience (remember Stephen Covey’s “First seek to understand…” mantra).
    If you don’t sound passionate about what you’re saying, why should the audience get excited?
    learn to tell stories.
    take your audience on a journey, one that leaves them in a different place.
    Just go for it!

    Andy Thorp 26 Feb at 10:38 pm
  6. good

    Luk 7 Mar at 5:29 pm
  7. this is great!!!!

    rishani de silva 18 Mar at 5:39 pm
  8. that was very helpful to m3 and that was gr8 t0000

    Moh 23 Apr at 7:11 pm
  9. what wonderful points chalked down…really appreciated. Actually by reading the tips we gain 30% of the confidence.

    Safdar 7 May at 7:45 am
  10. Wonderful Tips.

    Sanjay 7 May at 8:42 am
  11. Completely agree with Martha, in the above article. Unless it’s specifically a pitch presentation, in a boardroom, with people taking notes, the only thing an audience really takes away from the speech are the following considerations?
    1. Were you confident in your delivery?
    2. Did the topics you covered seem to lead naturally into one another?
    3. Did you speak for the right length of time?
    These things come largely from your command of rhythm and tone, and are the chief things people will remember when they look back on your speech.

    Daran 15 Jul at 11:26 am
  12. This tips are great. I am planning a presentation training for my staff and this will be helpful to them. thanks a million for this.

    adaramola emmanuel 2 Jan at 10:15 pm
  13. I really appreciate the way you collected these interesting facts. thank you so much.

    Mohamed Abdiwahab 19 Feb at 4:52 pm
  14. Thanks Andy. Great tips.

    Selim 7 Mar at 10:44 am
  15. i appreciate your article on 14 public speaking tips. very helpful. Big thanks.

    ching villamayor 9 Apr at 2:46 pm