32 Public Speaking Tips From Some Of The World’s Best Speakers and Coaches

Public Speaking Tips

I am incredibly excited to share this post with you!! It took a couple of weeks to pull all the material together and now you get a chance to pick through public speaking tips from some of world’s most sought after experts and speakers like Carmine Gallo, Garr Reynolds and Nick Morgan amongst more then 20 other contributors from a SpeakerMatch group.

When reaching out to these professionals, I asked two questions:

  1. If you were to start as a speaker all over again, what one thing would you do differently?
  2. What one tip would you have for someone just starting on their journey as a professional speaker?

The goal was to give you real world, actionable advice you could take and implement in your speaking practice immediately. Below is a selection of those answers:

 

Professionally Speaking

  1. Have something to say worth sharing and be very clear what your differentiator is.
    Garr Reynolds, author of Presentation Zen 
  2. My one tip for someone just starting on their journey as a professional speaker: Practice your craft! Take every opportunity to speak – and it will be mostly for free at the beginning. Get your 10,000 hours in!
    Nick Morgan, author of Trust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma 
  3. Fall in love with the real you. Identify your quirks and insecurities, then embrace those unique and special qualities that make you different from every other person and every other speaker. Never be ashamed of who you are or where you are in your life. When you love yourself and are comfortable in your own skin, the audience will feel it, appreciate it and want to connect with you.
    Lisa Braithwaite, Public speaking coach and trainer
  4. If I were to start all over again, I’m not sure if I would do anything differently. You see, I didn’t start out to be a “speaker.” I learned a craft first and mastered it—journalism. I was on CNN, CBS, and other outlets. I wrote bestselling business books, etc. I have a very popular communications practice. The point is, people pay to learn from my experience and not to ‘hear me speak.’ That’s a big difference.
    Carmine Gallo, author of Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs
  5. Practice practice practice. be fluent in your introduction and endings. Any nerves will disappear if you are well prepared. Remember also audience want you to be successful.
    Carolyn Matheson
  6. Don’t pursue public speaking to make money. Pursue public speaking because you have a calling to share information. If you’re in it just for the money, audiences will see right through you. Authenticity and passion are everything.
    Carmine Gallo, author of Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs
  7. Work to get amazing on the platform – and be yourself. Love what you do and do your best every time. Record every talk so that you can learn from your mistakes and gather new unexpected lines, be they pithy or funny.
    Paul Huschilt, CSP
  8. Although it is easy to fall in love with the adulation and encouragement from audiences or loose myself in putting together information-rich slide shows and videos, the real purpose for me standing in front of you is to help you see your world a little differently.
    Jack Mateffy
  9. If you need notes you don’t know your subject matter!! Always talk from your heart not your head.
    Dave Van Pelt, CEO of Twin City Alliance
  10. REALLY do be yourself. I know of one speaker in the UK who has a talk that is almost a replica of someone else’s – and I know which one came first!
    Benita Sutton-Cegarra
  11. I would practice more. I would write more. I would gather more stories. I would find a mentor!
    Richard Powell

 

Before The Speech

  1. Know and research your audience (demographics, knowledge base, etc). Always be aware of the different types of adult learners (kinaesthetic, visual, audio) and research their learning styles. It’s important to appeal to all of them – or you’ll negate parts of your audience.
    Aundráy Collins
  2. Get the person who introduces you to do the “who” “what” “where” bits, so that you can concentrate on your message not on establishing who you are.
    Benita Sutton-Cegarra
  3. Don’t see yourself as a beginner and never say “I am new at this” or “this is my first time” to your audience. Understand that you are only new to the people you are speaking to not your subject. Be confident in what you know so that your conviction comes across, but humble at the same time so that you don’t come across as cocky or arrogant.
    Cathy Iverson
  4. Arrange a pre-call with the organizers to learn more about what they want. Go to the event early to meet and chat with the audience; listen in to another presentation if possible so you see how they respond. Integrate what you learn about them into your presentation.
    Marilyn Tam

 

Delivering an Awesome Presentation

  1. Focus just as much on your emotional content as you do on your content – your speech, your slides, and so on.
    Nick Morgan, author of Trust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma
  2. Open with a statement that means your audience sit up and take notice. And try to avoid them thinking you’re about to tell them off! I say this from experience. My opening line for one talk was “80% of strategy is never implemented” which is a striking and sad fact. However, feedback from senior executives was that they felt attacked by the statement and were, therefore, less likely to be open to the positive things I had to share with them!
    Benita Sutton-Cegarra
  3. Always have a story to tell. No matter what the topic, your audience will relate to a relevant story. It does not have to be a personal experience but it needs to have some meaning to you. Don’t be afraid to have audience members share their stories. I often find that stories will generate a very thought-provoking discussion that brings out points that may not have been made.
    Hazel Blake Parker
  4. Always have a handout! It gives the audience something to take home, as well as information on how to reach you. Volunteer to speak for free for all audience types (even if not your niche) when you’re starting out, the practice in front of tough crowds will help you refine your content and delivery. Always remember its not about you, it’s about how you can help them (audience) with your message.
    Elizabeth McCormick, keynote speaker and business trainer
  5. Start a speech with something that will grab attention. The old “Ladies and Gentleman…” should come after a question (e.g. “Have you ever thought that we are heading for a crisis? Ladies and Gentlemen, it crosses my mind all the time and here is why…” )
    Denise Becker, CC
  6. The best advice I ever read was from Chris Brogan. In his blog post he discussed how to address an audience. The very first step he would take is to identify the idea(s) in his talk that would be either controversial or could create push back. He then would openly address the audience reluctance by saying something like: “You may be wondering, how can (idea-concept) work or be true for everyone” or even more to the point “You may be thinking to yourself ‘He’s wrong it doesn’t work for me’ so how could he say (idea-concept).
    Dean Guadagni
  7. Have a unique beginning that sets you apart from other speakers they have heard, breaks the ice and gives them a way to immediately connect with you. Also, don’t forget to have an interesting ending that helps them to remember you after they have gone home.
    Tony Lacertosa

 

Improving Presentation Skills

  1. If I were to start all over again, I wouldn’t change much. One of the first things I did was watch a video of myself presenting. It was painful but powerful. I realized how different I appeared to the audience from how I felt I appeared. It’s one of the first things I recommend, yet something many speakers are afraid to do. If you can’t watch yourself, how can you confidently ask an entire audience to watch?
    Scott Berkun, author of Confessions of a Public Speaker
  2. No one really plans on being a “professional presenter” per se. But looking back, one thing that would help me now is…. it would have been good if I had studied drama in school and done real plays. I was a musician and I played in orchestras but I think training as an actor would be a really good experience that would be make me a better presenter. Of course, it is never too late to take acting lessons, but I think high school and college would have been a really good time for that.
    Garr Reynolds, author of Presentation Zen
  3. Record every speech - so you can critique yourself and see where to improve, to create product, and to generate samples when meeting planners request them.
    Shel Horowitz
  4. Relentlessly find a professional videographer to tape my presentations. I have asked at every conference – as well as meetings I spoke at and I have yet to get a GOOD video that captured the energy, the passion and the impact of me delivering my message and the audience receiving it.
    Michele Price
  5. Finish with a handover to the person who follows you (MC?).. it transfers the power of the stage. A simple “thank you for listening”, is not the best way to go.
    Denise Becker, CC

 

The Business of Speaking

  1. The main key to success and longevity in this industry is MARKETING. Make it easy for people to find you and hire you through internet marketing.
    Gloria Starr
  2. Ask for more letters of recommendations and use them to follow up with sister organizations.
    Paul Huschilt, CSP
  3. Whether you are starting out today or you are established, the tip I would share here is it is a new world — without a social reputation and audience, your ability to leverage your income will be diminished. Make sure that you spend as much time developing your skill on both sides of the mic. I have had great speakers miss golden opportunities in their media interviews because the dance on the other side of the mic was not as fluid. Be prepared for both, since they both drive your profits.
    Michele Price
  4. Referrals and repeat engagements are the only metrics worth measuring.
    Tom Deans Ph.D.
  5. My best lesson is to MAKE 100% certain you understand the clients BRIEF. Not just the person booking you, but also the Personal Paying your bill… Keep clarifying and make sure you understand EXACTLY what they are expecting.
    Tony Dovale

 

I really hope you will get as much value and ideas out of this collection of speaking tips as I did! If you had to pick one to three, which ones were your favorite?

PS: We have some incredible articles lined up, so be sure to check back and join our community (there is a form below the post). Until then, have a wonderful day!

 

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