If you’re looking for public speaking tips, you’ve come to the right place! Here you’ll find advice and information on everything from overcoming fear of public speaking to connecting with your audience.
These Tips are also available in a beautifully-designed, fully searchable download called 100 Top Public Speaking Tips: The Book. Coded around five major areas — Body, Mind, Skills, Audience, and Career — the book can go with you when you’re off-line.
So explore these Tips individually, or read them all. But whichever way you like your Top Tips presented, be sure to enjoy learning more about public speaking!
The line between public speaking and regular talk is thinner than you think. In fact, you can practice public speaking (and increase your skills) during regular conversations — and no one will ever know! Give your small speech.
Public speaking is part of everyday life — and you can make public speaking practice part of your daily life, by playing this game. Make it a game.
The rules for writing that you may have learned in high school are rarely right for public speaking. Instead, write to speak in a way that reflects your natural conversation style. Lose the rules.
No one else can tell your story, or speak from your heart. That’s why the most powerful speeches always comes from people who are being themselves. Be yourself!
Every public speaker makes mistakes! If you hate that reality (and even if you don’t), here are some strategies to quickly recover from the inevitable imperfections. Get ready to recover.
Words have their place in public speaking, but it’s a much smaller place than most people assume. So instead of worrying about individual word choices, focus on your ideas and your connection with the audience. Forget the words.
It isn’t always possible to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” at work. But if you start by being honest with yourself, it’s easier to find a compromise you can live with. Tell yourself the truth.
What, besides experience, is the biggest difference between veteran and newbie public speakers? Both groups experience stress, nerves, even fear; but the veterans aren’t thrown by those feelings — and you don’t have to be, either. Embrace the stress.
Is your fear of public speaking a phobia? Or is it in the the mild-to-heavy anxiety range that most of us feel when we make a presentation? Here’s what to do when the fear is more than fear. Got phobia?
Before you agree to give a speech, ask for information about everything. Time, place, audience size and composition, topic, your fee, of course. Everything! Ask.
Great public speaking isn’t just — or even primarily — about what you say. Your ability to LISTEN is equally important. Here are some tips for listening better to become a better public speaker. Listen better.
Listening to one person can be hard work — and listening to an AUDIENCE can really seem daunting. But if you stop, look, and focus on their cues, you’ll find that the mood of your audience isn’t all that hard to “hear.” Listen even more!
Adults often approach public speaking with fear, self-doubt, and inhibition, but babies just open their mouths and speak their minds. We could learn plenty from watching them. Learn from babies.
Public speaking situations can change, and when they do, you may find yourself having to choose between adjusting your speech, changing its context, or totally abandoning your script. Adjust your speech!
Wouldn’t it be great if we could speak with such mastery that a positive reaction was guaranteed? Unfortunately, things don’t work that way — people will respond as they see fit, not as we want them to. But the good news is that audiences are generally on the speaker’s side. Give up control.
Savor your speech, giving each moment its due, and the fear that made you want to sprint toward the finish line will dissolve. Savor your speech.
Many people who come to the U.S. from other countries are concerned that their accent makes them hard to understand. But if you organize your thoughts, speak slowly and clearly, and leave pauses so that people can absorb one idea before hearing the next, listeners will almost always understand you. Accents are fine.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple and flexible five-sentence format that made every idea sound better? There is; and it’s called the Instant Speech. Make Instant Speeches!
If you make a public speaking mistake, don’t explain. We all make mistakes, and your best move is to acknowledge, apologize if necessary, and move on! Don’t explain.
Public speaking always offers the choice of whether to present your material in a way that’s predictably safe, a little more flexible, or right at the high-risk edge of defeat. And sometimes, it’s worth taking a risk. Jump!
To get your fill of air — a critical element in any public speaking situation — learn to breathe OUT before you breathe in. Here’s how. Breathe out.
Listening is hard work! But you can make it easier for an audience to understand and remember what you’re saying by being easier to hear. Be audible.
It’s not enough to write a great email. You have to get the other person to open it up! Here’s how to get your email read. Get your email read.
A simple key message is the heart and soul of any speech. It will help you make your point with elegance, clarity, and confidence. Keep it simple.
Uhm, it’s clear that, people who, like, fill up every available space with sounds that, y’know, have no meaning are just sort of forgetting to add the silence. Add silence.
Like it or not, we’re all judged on how we look. So when you’re interviewing for a job, or presenting to a business audience, be sure that you know what looks professional to them. Look professional.
Public speaking templates can save you time, effort, and anxiety, whether you’re making a speech or writing a thank you note. Use templates.
The word YOU is magic. It helps you connect with your audience, and let’s THEM know that you relate to their needs, goals, and situation. Use the word YOU.
The public speaking process — the process of becoming the public speaker YOU want to be — is mental, physical, social, and individual to you. Start the process.
If you’ve been practicing the flat, gray speech that’s standard in many businesses and professions, it’s time to stop! Instead, delight yourself and your listeners by adding a touch of drama when you speak. Be dramatic!
Want to be a great public speaker? Be miserable! OK, not really; but thinking about how to be miserable as a public speaker can help you be the opposite. Be miserable.
Most of us feel some level of public speaking panic from time to time. Don’t make things worse by assuming this means there’s something wrong with you. Don’t panic.
Lead your audience through your speech, just like a tour guide would — taking them from idea to idea until you deliver them at your conclusion. Lead your audience.
Would you rather savor five-course tasting menu, or plow your way through a plate of hash? Well, it’s important to savor each “course” of a presentation, too! Savor Your Speech
Public Speaking Tip 36: Use the “Three Audience Questions” to Make Sure People Know What You’re Talking About
We all get a little wonky in our own areas of expertise. So use the “three audience questions” to make sure people understand what you’re talking about. Don’t wonk out!
As a public speaker, you can focus on yourself, your content, or your audience — and putting the right amount of focus in the right place at the right time is important for your success. Focus!
Public Speaking Tip 38: Tell Success Stories, Because If You Don’t Talk About Your Achievements, Who Will?
Lots of people hate to “brag” about their accomplishments. But you can tell success stories without being obnoxious about it! Tell success stories
It’s easy to go on and on when you’re tired, nervous, or passionate about your topic. But try to stop talking before your listener stops caring! Stop talking.
Were you told in high school English class that you should never repeat yourself? For public speaking, forget that rule and repeat yourself a lot! Repeat yourself.
People often doubt the positive feedback they get when they’ve given a speech. Believe it!
Just as we vaccinate against disease, you can vaccinate your audience against reactions that may stop them from hearing your message. Vaccinate!
Public Speaking Tip 44: Make Small Talk in Business Settings Using the “Respond and Return” Technique
When you make small talk, you’re helping to build strong business relationships. Here’s an easy, two-step process for mastering the skill. Respond and return.
Public Speaking Tip 45: Why You Should Answer the Question First (and Then Decide How Much More to Say)
Answer the question first to relax your listener, be concise, and give yourself flexibility in any situation. Answer first.
It’s not hard to answer the question once you decide that you really don’t have to know everything. Go ahead, answer!
Public Speaking Tip 47: Fear of Public Speaking? Use YOU Language and an Avatar to Create Distance from Fear
Public speaking is scary. But you can manage fear of public speaking by distancing yourself from your emotions, with these two simple and highly effective techniques. Manage your fear.
Whenever it’s possible to speak positively and appreciatively about your audience, do it! Criticizing their shortcomings won’t win you any friends; and even if you’re the boss, negative messages don’t generally lead to positive changes. Be positive.
When you give a speech that you haven’t worked on, you’re subjecting your audience to a practice session. Don’t shed on the stand!
Want to become a better public speaker? Have a SMART public speaking goal. Get SMART!
Today, many public speakers don’t want to read their speeches, and especially not from PAPER. But reading can help you give an even better speech! Read with pride.
The social class you come from can influence many things in your life, including whether you feel entitled to speak up and be heard by others. Be entitled!
Amy Cuddy’s research could change how you feel about public speaking, and yourself! Become your best self.
Public speaking can stress your voice. Here are some techniques for protecting your pipes, so that you and your voice can both go the distance. Take care of your voice.
Public Speaking Tip 55: If Your Job Involves Serving the Public, Talk WITH Your Customers, Not AT Them (or: A Tale of Two Servers)
Build a relationship with your customers by engaging them, and listening to what they say. Listen to your customers!
When passions run high, it’s easy to slip into attacking your opponent. Instead, keep your tone friendly and light, and rebut their ideas, not their value as a person. Rebut ideas, not people.
It’s not enough to have great skills and a strong work ethic. You also need Executive Presence, the quality that telegraphs your strengths to others. Develop executive presence.
A lot of public speakers are off-balance at the start of their talks. When you take the stage to give a speech, use the Stand, Settle, Smile, Speak method to make sure you start strong. Stand, settle, smile, speak!
It’s easy to lose energy after giving an entire speech, and let your ending (or your Q&A, or even your main message) dribble off or fade away. Don’t do that! Stick your landing.
As a speaker, you want to say things that matter. But when you’re PRACTICING your public speaking skills, it’s just as useful to say inconsequential things. Be inconsequential.
In a meeting, don’t wait for the most profound, perfect, or articulate comment to occur to you. Just talk! Speak up.
It’s hard for many of us to talk about inconsequential, simple, silly, or obvious things. But small topics work best for small talk; here’s why. Keep it small.
PowerPoint is a useful and effective tool, if you keep it short, sweet, and simple. Keep it simple.
Is there a nasty little voice in your head that loves to criticize your public speaking skills? Here’s how to beat the NLV. Don’t listen!
If you have trouble practicing a speech or talk, it may be because you don’t know HOW or WHAT to practice. These tips and tricks will help! So practice!
Public Speaking Tip 66: Choose a Networking Strategy that Works for YOU, Whether You’re an Introvert or an Extravert
There isn’t one right approach to networking. The best networking strategies, practices, goals, and actions are the ones that work best for YOU. Go network!
Nothing helps you connect with an audience like a smile! To be sure your smile is always at the ready, give your smile muscles a workout. Smile!
Pauses are one of your most important, dramatic, relaxing, and versatile public speaking tools. Practice using pauses.
Copy other speakers so that you can learn their secrets — how they pace, pause, build their ideas, and sell them. Then go out and speak like yourself! Copy.
Even simple, silly pictures can make your slides engaging, when they’re personal. Use pictures.
A simple and fun way to add power to your slide decks is by learning how to transition, and taking your audience along with you. Transition.
Small talk isn’t a conversation, it’s the warm-up for a conversation. Here’s how to master it. Make small talk.
Public Speaking Tip 73: Build Your Confidence and Public Speaking Success in 15 Seconds, Twice a Day
What if you could build your public speaking confidence and success with an exercise that took 15 seconds? You would do that, right? Build your confidence!
Millennials speak quickly, and can leave older listeners in the dust. Here’s how to slow down so that your older colleagues understand you. Slow down!
What’s rarer than a unicorn? Effective business meetings. But you can learn to run them with these tips and a few minutes of advance planning. Run effective meetings.
It’s easy to avoid common PowerPoint mistakes and make your audience happy. Avoid these mistakes.
Public Speaking Tip 77: Want to Be Relaxed, Consistent, and Effective Every Time You Speak in Public? Focus on the People You’re Talking To
To give a great performance every time you speak in public, focus on the person or people you’re talking to, not on yourself. Focus!
If your audience seems very different from you, look deeper. You may have more in common than you think! Learn about your audience.
Many petite women, like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, have an outsized impact, proving that true power knows no size. Women, power up!
Public Speaking Tip 80: The Right Apology Makes Both People Feel Better (Even If You Don’t Think You’ve Done Wrong!)
We all make mistakes. Fortunately, it’s not hard to give an apology that helps BOTH parties feel better. Apologize.
Public Speaking Tip 81: Close With Your Key Message. And if Your Speech is Followed by Q&A, Do It Twice!
Every time you speak, remember to close with your key message — and if your speech is followed by Q&A, do it twice! Close twice.
Public Speaking Tip 82: Don’t Let the TED Talk Style Intimidate You, or Stand Between You and Making a Good Speech
It takes tremendous effort to create the smooth professionalism of a TED talk, and it’s not fair to expect business speakers to reach the same bar. Give a good enough speech.
Learning to tell a good business story isn’t hard, and it’s a a useful skill for growing your career. Learn business storytelling.
Good business stories, like good wine, gain richness and depth as you practice and tell them. Tell your business stories now.
Editing your speech is helpful, up to a point. Then it’s time to stop editing and start practicing. Drop that pen and practice!
Facebook can make it seem like a conversation is private, but IT’S NOT. So use extra restraint when discussing your colleauges, or better yet, don’t do it! Watch out for Facebook.
Speaking properly has nothing to do with being a good, smart, or valuable person. It’s a series of skills you can acquire, and a game you can master. Master the game!
Should you memorize your speech? That depends! Ask before you memorize.
Public Speaking Tip 89: Learn the Public Speaking Lessons of Orphan Black (Hint: It’s All About Your Avatar)
Orphan Black is outstanding entertainment, and it has surprising lessons to teach everyone who speaks in public (meaning, all of us!). Embrace your Avatar(s).
You can’t be a perfect public speaker (there is no such thing), but if you cultivate self-acceptance, you can be a great one. Cultivate self-acceptance.
Even the best bosses sometimes need a little help. You can teach them to manage you more effectively by learning how to manage up. Manage up.
Most of us have some experience of talking to a toddler, which can come in very handy for business communications. Talk like you’re talking to a toddler.
Gender neutral language is a way of honoring difference, and the reality that we just don’t know how other people identify or want to be described. Use gender neutral language.
Upspeak can undermine your professional credibility, particularly if you’re female. That isn’t fair, but it’s a reality worth considering. Lose the upspeak.
Unconscious bias is bias that you’re not aware you have. It can affect how you see your audience, and just as importantly, how you see yourself. Find out your bias.
The Rule of 3 will help you shine in every public speaking situation, from media interviews… to off-the-cuff remarks… to knowing when to stop talking. Use the Rule of 3.
For job interview success, the top three things to focus on are not defending yourself, doing your homework, and having a conversation. Ace the conversation!
Public Speaking Tip 98: For a Successful Presentation, Get Your Attitude Together Before You Prepare Your Speech
Want to give a confident, successful presentation? Get your attitude straight, put practicing in your flow, and go for what you know with an audience! Succeed.
Public Speaking Tip 99: For a Successful Presentation, Practice Individual Ideas Throughout Your Day
Your speech isn’t a collection of words. It’s a series of individual ideas that can be practiced separately, as needed, during the regular flow of your day. Practice.
You’ve worked hard to create and practice a speech that will help your audience succeed. Now, when you stand before them, it’s time to go for what you know! Go for it.
In 25 years of speaker coaching, I’ve helped my individual speaker coaching clients develop their strengths and skills become authentic and effective communicators.
Along the way, I’ve developed tips for everything from small talk to speaking up in meetings, from managing fear to making an impact.
And now, I’ve shared it all in 100 Top Public Speaking Tips: The Book. This beautifully designed PDF booklet is searchable, clickable, and categorized, so that you can find what you need, instantly.