10 Tips for Improving Your Public Speaking Skills

Few are immune to the fear of public speaking. Marjorie North offers 10 tips for speakers to calm the nerves and deliverable memorable orations.

Marjorie North

Snakes? Fine. Flying? No problem. Public speaking? Yikes! Just thinking about public speaking — routinely described as one of the greatest (and most common) fears — can make your palms sweat. But there are many ways to tackle this anxiety and learn to deliver a memorable speech.

In part one of this series,  Mastering the Basics of Communication , I shared strategies to improve how you communicate. In part two, How to Communicate More Effectively in the Workplace , I examined how to apply these techniques as you interact with colleagues and supervisors in the workplace. For the third and final part of this series, I’m providing you with public speaking tips that will help reduce your anxiety, dispel myths, and improve your performance.

Here Are My 10 Tips for Public Speaking:

1. nervousness is normal. practice and prepare.

All people feel some physiological reactions like pounding hearts and trembling hands. Do not associate these feelings with the sense that you will perform poorly or make a fool of yourself. Some nerves are good. The adrenaline rush that makes you sweat also makes you more alert and ready to give your best performance.

The best way to overcome anxiety is to prepare, prepare, and prepare some more. Take the time to go over your notes several times. Once you have become comfortable with the material, practice — a lot. Videotape yourself, or get a friend to critique your performance.

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2. Know Your Audience. Your Speech Is About Them, Not You.

Before you begin to craft your message, consider who the message is intended for. Learn as much about your listeners as you can. This will help you determine your choice of words, level of information, organization pattern, and motivational statement.

3. Organize Your Material in the Most Effective Manner to Attain Your Purpose.

Create the framework for your speech. Write down the topic, general purpose, specific purpose, central idea, and main points. Make sure to grab the audience’s attention in the first 30 seconds.

4. Watch for Feedback and Adapt to It.

Keep the focus on the audience. Gauge their reactions, adjust your message, and stay flexible. Delivering a canned speech will guarantee that you lose the attention of or confuse even the most devoted listeners.

5. Let Your Personality Come Through.

Be yourself, don’t become a talking head — in any type of communication. You will establish better credibility if your personality shines through, and your audience will trust what you have to say if they can see you as a real person.

6. Use Humor, Tell Stories, and Use Effective Language.

Inject a funny anecdote in your presentation, and you will certainly grab your audience’s attention. Audiences generally like a personal touch in a speech. A story can provide that.

7. Don’t Read Unless You Have to. Work from an Outline.

Reading from a script or slide fractures the interpersonal connection. By maintaining eye contact with the audience, you keep the focus on yourself and your message. A brief outline can serve to jog your memory and keep you on task.

8. Use Your Voice and Hands Effectively. Omit Nervous Gestures.

Nonverbal communication carries most of the message. Good delivery does not call attention to itself, but instead conveys the speaker’s ideas clearly and without distraction.

9. Grab Attention at the Beginning, and Close with a Dynamic End.

Do you enjoy hearing a speech start with “Today I’m going to talk to you about X”? Most people don’t. Instead, use a startling statistic, an interesting anecdote, or concise quotation. Conclude your speech with a summary and a strong statement that your audience is sure to remember.

10. Use Audiovisual Aids Wisely.

Too many can break the direct connection to the audience, so use them sparingly. They should enhance or clarify your content, or capture and maintain your audience’s attention.

Practice Does Not Make Perfect

Good communication is never perfect, and nobody expects you to be perfect. However, putting in the requisite time to prepare will help you deliver a better speech. You may not be able to shake your nerves entirely, but you can learn to minimize them.

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About the Author

North is a consultant for political candidates, physicians, and lawyers, and runs a private practice specializing in public speaking, and executive communication skills. Previously, she was the clinical director in the department of speech and language pathology and audiology at Northeastern University.

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what makes a good public speech

16 Practical Tips To Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

  • Nathan Mixon
  • June 9, 2024

Table of Contents

How to improve public speaking.

Hey there, fellow public speaker! Ready to level up your public speaking game? Trying to become a better speaker? Whether you’re aiming for that big promotion, nailing that TEDx talk, or just looking to impress at your next social gathering, mastering the art of public speaking is key. It’s not just about talking; the best speakers focus on connecting, inspiring, and leaving a lasting impression.

Public speaking isn’t just a skill; it’s a superpower that can transform how you communicate and connect with others. Whether you’re addressing a small group or a packed auditorium, the ability to articulate your ideas with confidence and charisma can open doors and create opportunities you never thought possible. So, if you’re ready to learn how to improve public speaking, buckle up and get ready for an exciting journey of growth and self-discovery!

In this guide, we’re diving deep into the question of how to improve public speaking and arm you with practical public speaking skills, tips, and techniques to boost your confidence and captivate any audience. From shaking off those pre-speech jitters to crafting compelling messages and delivering them with flair, we here at The Speaker Lab have got you covered. So, grab your favorite mug of coffee (or tea, if you’re like me – no judgment here), kick back, and let’s get into ways to improve your public speaking and advance your career as a better public speaker.

Overcoming Anxiety and Building Confidence

We get it, speaking in public can be scary. As many of you probably know, in public speaking anxiety is a common fear that can significantly impact performance. The thought of standing in front of a live audience, being the center of attention, and delivering a coherent message can trigger feelings of nervousness and self-doubt, even if you’re confident in the value of your message. However, there are effective techniques for managing anxiety and building confidence, allowing speakers to deliver engaging presentations with poise and clarity.

It’s important to acknowledge that public speaking anxiety is a natural response to the perceived threat of judgment or scrutiny from others. It’s normal to feel nervous before a big speech. This fear can manifest in physical symptoms and physiological reactions such as making your palms sweat (you thought Eminem was lying?), increasing your heartbeat, and giving you a shaky voice, all of which can undermine your performance as a good public speaker. By recognizing and accepting this feeling as a common experience, speakers can begin to address it with constructive strategies.

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3 Techniques for Managing Anxiety and Building Confidence

1. deep breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques.

One of the most immediate ways to calm nerves before speaking is through deep breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques. By focusing on slow, deep breaths, speakers can activate the body’s relaxation response, reducing feelings of tension and stress. Incorporating mindfulness practices, such as grounding oneself in the present moment and observing thoughts without judgment, can further alleviate anxiety, steady your trembling hands, and enhance focus.

2. Visualization and Positive Affirmations

Visualization involves mentally rehearsing a successful speaking scenario, envisioning oneself delivering a confident and engaging presentation. By visualizing positive outcomes, speakers can reinforce their belief in their ability to perform well. Additionally, incorporating positive affirmations—such as “I am confident and capable”—can help to reframe negative self-talk and cultivate a more empowering mindset (even if you think it’s corny).

3. Gradual Exposure to Public Speaking

Like any skill, public speaking flourishes with practice. Beginning with practice sessions and small group settings provides a safe environment for speakers to hone their abilities and build confidence gradually. As speakers become more comfortable, they can progress to larger audiences or more challenging speaking engagements. Toastmasters clubs, community events, and volunteer opportunities offer valuable platforms for gaining experience and refining presentation skills. Practicing public speaking is so important when it comes to building more confidence.

Additionally, participating in workshops, seminars, or conferences provides exposure to diverse audiences and topics, further enhancing speaking proficiency. By embracing opportunities to speak in various settings, individuals can conquer their fear of public speaking and cultivate greater self-assurance over time. Not only does this help you address your anxiety as you hone your public speaking skills, but it also provides opportunities to receive constructive feedback from any other seasoned public speaker who may be in attendance.

By implementing these techniques for managing anxiety and working to gain confidence, speakers can overcome the common fear of public speaking and unlock their full potential as effective communicators. With practice and perseverance, they can cultivate the skills and mindset needed to deliver compelling presentations with confidence and impact.

Mastering Body Language and Nonverbal Communication

Body language plays a crucial role in public speaking, influencing how speakers are perceived by their audience and conveying confidence, credibility, and engagement. By mastering body language and nonverbal communication skills, speakers can enhance their presence on stage and deliver more impactful presentations.

Effective communication is about more than just words—it’s also about how those words are delivered. Research suggests that a significant portion of communication is nonverbal, with body language accounting for a substantial part of the message conveyed – the way you stand, sit, walk, and hold your arms and hands all have an impact on how you and your message is received.

When speakers lack confidence and look uncomfortable, they lose much of their sense of authority or expertise. But when speakers project confidence and authenticity through their body language, they establish rapport with their audience and capture their attention more effectively.

3 Public Speaking Tips for Improving Body Language

1. maintain good posture.

Good posture serves as the cornerstone of confident body language. When individuals stand tall, with shoulders back and heads held high, they project an image of strength and assurance. This posture not only exudes professionalism and authority but also facilitates better breath support and vocal projection, very important aspects of public speaking. Slouching or hunching over can undermine confidence and diminish credibility. By prioritizing good posture, speakers establish a strong foundation for effective communication, captivating their audience with a commanding presence.

2. Make Eye Contact

Eye contact is another powerful tool for connecting with the audience and establishing credibility. By maintaining eye contact with individual audience members, speakers create a sense of intimacy and engagement. It’s essential to scan the room and make eye contact with different sections of the audience, ensuring that everyone feels included and valued.

If the idea of looking straight into an individual audience member’s eyes seems daunting, a helpful trick for making eye contact without focusing on specific individuals is to look at the general area around their eyes or eyebrows. This gives the appearance of eye contact without the pressure of locking eyes with someone directly. You can also just scan the audience, moving your gaze across different sections of the room, which creates the impression of engagement with the entire audience without singling out individuals. Just remember to maintain a natural pace and avoid fixating on any particular spot for too long to ensure a balanced connection with your audience.

3. Use Gestures and Facial Expressions

Gestures and facial expressions can help to reinforce verbal messages and convey enthusiasm and conviction. Using hand gestures to emphasize key points and illustrate concepts adds dynamism to the presentation and keeps the audience engaged. Similarly, facial expressions convey emotions and sincerity, allowing speakers to express empathy, excitement, or concern as appropriate. Let the audience have a clear understanding of your emotions as you speak – this will help them empathize more with your message.

By incorporating these tips for improving body language into their presentations, speakers can enhance their ability to connect with their audience and deliver messages with clarity and impact. With practice and mindfulness, speakers can harness the power of body language to captivate their audience and leave a lasting impression.

Enhancing Vocal Delivery and Articulation

Vocal delivery is a cornerstone of effective public speaking, as it plays a crucial role in capturing audience attention and conveying authority. Speakers who master vocal delivery techniques can engage their audience more effectively and leave a lasting impression.

The way a message is delivered is just as important as the message itself. Vocal delivery encompasses elements such as tone, pitch, volume, and rhythm, all of which contribute to the overall impact of a presentation. A strong vocal delivery commands attention, instills confidence in the speaker, and enhances the audience’s understanding and retention of key points.

3 Techniques for Improving Vocal Delivery

1. practice vocal warm-up exercises.

Just as athletes engage in warm-up routines to prime their bodies for peak performance, speakers can similarly enhance their vocal prowess through targeted exercises. Vocal warm-ups serve as the foundation for clear and commanding speech delivery. Humming exercises, for instance, gently engage the vocal cords while promoting resonance and clarity in speech. Lip trills, where speakers produce a vibrating sound by blowing air through slightly pursed lips, aid in relaxing the vocal apparatus and improving breath control. Tongue twisters serve as playful yet effective tools for sharpening articulation and enunciation.

By using these vocal warm-up exercises, speakers can cultivate a strong and dynamic voice that captivates and inspires their listeners.

2. Pay Attention to Pace and Rhythm

Think of your speech pace like a roller coaster ride: you want to keep your audience on their toes, not lulling them into boredom. Varying your speed and rhythm adds excitement and keeps listeners engaged throughout your talk. Don’t be afraid to hit the brakes with well-placed pauses—they create suspense, give your audience time to digest important information, and make your key points pop. By really mastering the art of pacing, you’ll keep your audience hanging on your every word from start to finish.

3. Focus on Articulation and Pronunciation

In public speaking, the efficacy of communication is intricately tied to the speaker’s ability to articulate and pronounce words clearly. Each consonant and vowel carries significance, especially within the context of essential terms central to the speaker’s discourse. Through consistent practice of exercises like tongue twisters and deliberate focus on the intricate movements of the mouth, speakers can refine their articulation. This diligent attention to detail ensures that their ideas are not only effectively conveyed but also readily understood by their audience’s attention.

By incorporating these techniques into their vocal delivery, speakers can enhance their ability to captivate and persuade their audience. With practice and mindfulness, speakers can develop a vocal delivery style that commands attention, conveys authority, and leaves a lasting impact on their audience.

Structuring and Delivering Engaging Speeches

Effective speech structure is essential for delivering a compelling message that resonates with your audience. A well-structured speech not only captures attention but also enhances comprehension and retention of key ideas.

The structure of a speech serves as its foundation, guiding the flow of information and ensuring coherence and clarity. A well-structured speech enables the speaker to communicate their message effectively, maintain audience engagement, and leave a lasting impression. Without a clear structure, the audience may struggle to follow your train of thought – the last thing you want is an audience that is confused or lost.

3 Tips for Structuring Speeches

1. start with a strong opening.

Picture this: you’re gearing up for a speech, right? Well, the opening is like the big entrance – it’s your chance to grab everyone’s attention and set the vibe for what’s to come. So, how do you do it? With a killer hook. Throw out a mind-bending question, hit the audience with a jaw-dropping stat, or reel them in with a story that’ll have them on the edge of their seats. Trust me, a strong opening is like the spark that ignites the whole speech, keeping your audience hooked and hungry for more.

2. Organize Content Logically

When crafting your speech, think of it as building a roadmap for your audience. Start with a warm introduction to welcome them into your world of ideas. Then, lead them through the main points of your talk, each one seamlessly flowing into the next like stepping stones across a stream. Make sure your points are organized logically, so your audience can easily follow along without getting lost in the shuffle. Remember, clarity is key!

Finally, wrap up with a solid conclusion that ties everything together, leaving your listeners with a clear understanding of your message. If your audience is walking out of your talk knowing (and hopefully remembering) exactly what the main points were that you were trying to get across, then mission accomplished.

3. Incorporate Storytelling and Anecdotes

Think of stories and anecdotes as the secret sauce that adds flavor to your speech. Sprinkle them throughout your presentation to create moments that stick in your audience’s minds long after your talk is over. Whether it’s a personal anecdote, a compelling case study, or a relatable story, these narrative gems bring your ideas to life and forge a deeper connection with your audience. By weaving personal stories into your speech, you transform abstract concepts into tangible experiences with a direct connection that resonate with your listeners on a human level in their everyday life.

Another important way to make your audience feel comfortable is to use personal experience. Personal anecdotes and stories that can help nail down important points make for a better speech. The best speakers use examples from their lives or the life of another person to help make their point for relatable. You want your audience members to be pushed out of their comfort zone but also to be able to relate to what you’re saying as it might happen in one’s daily life.

By following these tips for structuring and delivering engaging speeches, speakers can effectively communicate their message, captivate their audience, and leave a lasting impact. A well-structured speech not only informs and educates but also inspires and motivates, leaving the audience with a sense of clarity and purpose.

Refining Message Content and Delivery

Crafting a message that truly connects with your audience demands meticulous attention to both content and delivery. By honing these aspects, speakers can captivate their audience and ensure their message is communicated with clarity and resonance.

2 Strategies for Refining Message Content

1. conduct audience analysis.

Before stepping onto the stage, take the time to lean into your audience’s interests, preferences, and needs. Do some in-depth audience analysis, examining their demographics, knowledge level, and pressing concerns. Tailoring your message and making a point to identify areas of concern or importance to resonate with their specific interests and challenges not only builds rapport but also enhances credibility, ensuring your message hits home with maximum impact. Give your speech a personal touch for your audience by doing the research beforehand.

2. Use Persuasive Language and Rhetorical Devices

Incorporating persuasive language and rhetorical devices when making speeches elevates the impact of your message by shaping audience perception and eliciting emotional responses. Integrate storytelling, vivid imagery, metaphors, and analogies to convey intricate concepts in a captivating and relatable manner. By appealing to both the audience’s emotions and logic, speakers can effectively sway their perspective and inspire them to take meaningful action.

2 Strategies for Refining Delivery

1. practice emphasizing key points.

Delivery is paramount in molding an audience’s perception and sustaining its engagement. Prioritize practicing your speech delivery beforehand (a lot), focusing on pacing, intonation, and emphasizing key points. Strategic pauses permit the audience to absorb information and contemplate essential ideas. By diversifying tone and volume, speakers can uphold audience interest while conveying enthusiasm and conviction.

Try practicing in front of a mirror with a timer and then maybe with a friend or a spouse or a parent – anyone willing to listen to your speech. That can help you become comfortable with the cadence and pace of your speaking.

2. Focus on Pacing and Intonation

It’s crucial to keep an eye on pacing and intonation to keep your audience engaged and ensure your message comes across effectively. Tailor the speed of your delivery to match the complexity of your content and the audience’s grasp of the topic. Intonation adds depth to your speech by conveying emotions, highlighting key points, and infusing your delivery with energy and dynamism. By mastering these elements, you can create a captivating and impactful presentation that resonates with your audience.

By implementing these strategies for refining message content and delivery, speakers can maximize the impact of their speeches and effectively engage their audience. By tailoring the message to the audience’s interests and needs and delivering it with confidence and conviction, speakers can inspire, inform, and motivate their audience to action.

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Developing effective public speaking skills is a journey that requires dedication, practice, and continuous improvement. Throughout this guide, we’ve explored key strategies for enhancing your public speaking abilities, from overcoming anxiety to refining message content.

By acknowledging and addressing common fears and anxieties associated with public speaking, you can build confidence and resilience. Techniques such as deep breathing exercises, visualization, and gradual exposure can help you manage nerves and perform at your best. Practicing in smaller groups and settings can help you release some nervous energy, receive constructive criticism and honest feedback, and get some more public speaking tips .

Mastering body language and nonverbal communication is essential for conveying confidence and engaging your audience. By maintaining good posture, making eye contact, and using gestures and facial expressions effectively, you can establish rapport and credibility with your audience.

Enhancing vocal delivery and articulation is another critical aspect of effective public speaking. By practicing vocal warm-up exercises, paying attention to pace and rhythm, and focusing on articulation and pronunciation, you can ensure clear communication and captivate your audience’s attention.

Structuring and delivering engaging speeches requires careful planning and organization. Starting with a strong opening, organizing content logically, and incorporating storytelling and anecdotes can make your speech memorable and impactful.

Finally, refining message content and delivery involves conducting audience analysis, using persuasive language and rhetorical devices, and practicing emphasizing key points. By tailoring your message to the audience’s interests and needs and delivering it with confidence and conviction, you can inspire, inform, and motivate your audience to action.

As you continue on your public speaking journey, remember to embrace opportunities for growth and practice regularly. With dedication and perseverance, you can cultivate valuable public speaking skills that will serve you well in both your personal and professional endeavors.

So, seize every opportunity to speak publicly, embrace the challenges, and strive for improvement. With each speech you deliver, you’ll become more confident, articulate, and influential. Embrace public speaking as a valuable skill for personal and professional success, and let your voice be heard.

  • Last Updated: June 4, 2024

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Grow » thrive, want to be a great public speaker these are the traits you need.

Great speakers aren’t just born that way — they actively work at getting better. Here are the eight must-have traits for a public speaker.

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If you’re trying to improve your public speaking skills, you should study the behaviors of other great speakers. Here are the eight traits of a great public speaker — developing these skills will help you begin to hone your craft.

Confidence is one of the most important characteristics of a public speaker. It will be hard to connect with your audience if you come across as timid or overly nervous during your presentation.

A certain amount of nervousness may be inevitable, so you need to develop strategies to deal with these feelings. The best way to do that is with practice — if you know the material and spend time working on your speech, it will be easier to show up confidently.

You can also show confidence through your body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, move around the stage, and use hand gestures to demonstrate your points.

[Read more: Leadership for Introverts: How to Lead Successfully ]

Effective communicators know how to get their points across in a succinct way. They know how to speak clearly and avoid confusing their audience. This makes it easier for the audience to absorb and take action on the information you’re sharing.

One way to be more concise is to break your presentation into smaller chunks of information. And avoid the urge to over-explain yourself and restate your points using different words.

Ability to read the room

People who are excellent public speakers are good at reading the room and picking up on the audience's nonverbal cues. For instance, you notice if they seem bored or disengaged during your speech and can adjust your presentation accordingly.

Learning how to read the room takes time because you have to get out of your head first. Stay focused on the audience and the goal of your presentation. Over time, you’ll learn how to read your audience’s micro-expressions and understand how they’re receiving the information.

[Read more: How to Improve Your Public Speaking ]

Authenticity is what allows your audience to connect with you during your speech. If your speech comes across as inauthentic, it will be harder for the audience to trust you and take your message seriously.

People can tell when you’re excited about the topic you’re speaking on, and they can also tell when you’re just going through the motions. And enthusiasm is contagious, so if you’re excited about the information, it’s more likely to rub off onto your audience.

If speaking with enthusiasm doesn’t come naturally to you, this is a skill you can develop. Work on showing enthusiasm in your voice, body movements, and the pace with which you deliver the speech.

[Read more: PowerPoint Tips and Tricks ]


You need to understand your strengths and weaknesses to be an effective speaker. Know what your best qualities are and how you can use these to enhance your presentation skills.

You should also know your weak points and look for ways to minimize them. Great speakers are always looking for ways to improve and make their presentations more engaging.


Authenticity is what allows your audience to connect with you during your speech. If your speech comes across as inauthentic, it will be harder for the audience to trust you and take your message seriously. Focus on being yourself and telling stories that are honest and vulnerable.

Knowing how to dress

As a public speaker, your attire matters much more than you might think. You want to dress in a way that’s comfortable and fits your sense of style but also resonates with the audience. For instance, the demographic you’re speaking to will inform your clothing choice.


No matter how well you prepare for a speech, there’s always the potential that something could go wrong. Maybe your slide deck stops working halfway through your presentation, or you forget what you planned to say.

As a speaker, it’s essential to be adaptable and expect the unexpected. This attitude will allow you to stay calm, focus on the audience, and decide what you’re going to do next.

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The Top 9 Characteristics of Effective Public Speakers

what makes a good public speech

Public speaking can be terrifying , but when you care about your career progression you need to find a way to get your voice out.

Public speaking is how you can share your ideas with a large number of people, stand out from the corporate crowd, and get visibility in your field.

Unfortunately, if you’re public speaking skills are not up to par, it’s likely that no one will be focused enough on your presentation to really receive your message.

Here are 9 scientifically-proven characteristics of effective public speakers that you should emulate to become an influential and inspiring leader.

According to a study published by the University of Wolverhampton “A highly confident speaker is viewed as being more accurate, competent, credible, intelligent, knowledgeable, likable, and believable than the less confident uncertain speaker.”

When it comes to public speaking, confidence is key (not the only key mind you). When speaking in public, it’s only natural to be nervous. In fact, Mark Twain once said, “There are only two types of speakers in the world. 1. The nervous and 2. The Liars.”

There are two main antidotes for anxiety

Excitement – If you’re truly excited about your subject, that feeling will shine through any nervousness you may have while you are giving your presentation.  Studies show that people who label their anxiety as excitement end up feeling more comfortable speaking.

Authenticity – Be yourself. If you have to deviate a little from your meticulously written presentation, do so! Although you should practice your speech as often as possible, you don’t want to memorize it! Memorizing a speech can cause you to fumble over a section if you didn’t say it just right.

To excel at public speaking you must do more than just defeat your nervous jitters. You must also have confidence in your subject and be yourself while you are on stage.

In order to really communicate to people through speech, you need to have passion about your subject. Without passion, your speech is meaningless. You need to exude a level of sincerity in your emotion when communicating to your audience if you want them to be moved by your presentation.

There’s no need to attempt to ‘practice’ sincerity by practicing your speech with a raised voice and waving arms. Simply focus on how you feel about your top and those that you are communicating with.

Two recent discoveries by The Gallup Organization offer insights into why passion is rare in U.S. workplaces :

  • 55% of the U.S. working population is not engaged at work.
  • 16% of the U.S. working population is actively disengaged.

It can be hard to be passionate about your topics when you present at work but aren’t really engaged in the activity. Sometimes, to show passion about a topic that doesn’t completely excite you, you need to dig deep into the topic and find things that interest you.

Be Yourself

You don’t have to be someone else on stage, all you have to do is just be yourself. Sometimes, no matter how much you believe in your message or how well you’ve rehearsed, if you don’t act like yourself in front of the group, your audience may view your speech as insincere or calculated.

If a political candidate doesn’t seem authentic, it’s not likely they’ll win an election. If a company’s social marketing strategy appears inauthentic, their sales will not go up. If you create a page on a dating website but what you write is not authentic, the people reading are likely to pick up on this inauthenticity and never contact you. Speaking is the same way.

It’s no surprise that the number of articles that mention the word “authenticity” in the headlines has dramatically risen. Authenticity is important.  Look at the trend since 2009 below.

what makes a good public speech

Source of screen shot

There are many ways to help create more ‘authentic’ speeches but a couple of methods truly shine.

Practice, not memorization – In order to ‘be yourself’ in a presentation, you shouldn’t memorize your speech in absolutes. Practice your speech as often as possible, but be willing to change up the wording. This makes it easier to change it up during the actual presentation if things aren’t going exactly as planned. Memorization can set up a barrier between you and your audience.

Speak in a natural voice – any connection you’ve made with your audience could be broken by tones that seem ‘fake’ or ‘too perfect’. In general, you should try to speak in a conversational tone. If you say few “ahhs” and “umms” that’s ok, don’t sweat it.

Voice Modulations

If you want to be more engaging as a speaker, then avoid talking in a tone that seems too well rehearsed, but you still want to take the speed and inflection of your delivery into account when you practice your speech.

Take a look at this article by the Washington Post. They discuss how the wrong tone can spoil the message of your speech.

To practice proper cadence, record yourself giving your speech and listen to it later. You’ll be able to tell exactly when and where you start to sound inauthentic.

You can still use effective voice modulations while employing your natural voice.

Keep it Short and Sweet

If you’re only given 30 minutes to give a speech, don’t force yourself to fill the entire time allotted. Say what you need to say and use any remaining time for questions or to let your audience out a little early.

The main purpose of delivering a speech is to attempt to get your point across, and that might not require a whole hour. You want to make sure that your presentation is easily digestible for those listening to you. If you can complete your speech in 15 minutes, do so, and leave any remaining time open for questions and comments.

Research conducted by Dianne Dukette and David Cornish (2009) shows that, on average, adults can only sustain attention for around 20 minutes and that their short-term response to the stimulus that attracts attention is only seconds. This means that when you stand up in front of a crowd to present, you only have eight seconds to attract the audience’s attention.  Additionally, if you’re presentation takes longer than 20 minutes then you need to break it up into smaller chunks with a maximum of 20 minutes per chunk of information.

Connect with your Audience

A speech is just like a conversation, which means you need to communicate your message to someone else. In this sense, there is no difference between talking to one person or a thousand.

The problem, however, is that we’re all subject to a large amount of information in a short period of time, and it can be difficult for you as a speaker to cut through that noise and prove that what you’re  saying really matters.

While you’re speaking people are likely on their phones, tablets, or laptops, reading emails, surfing the web, researching who you are, or maybe taking notes on your speech. It’s your job to make them put their devices down and pay attention to what you have to say.

You can’t ask them to turn off their phones, but you can make them set their phones down by creating an atmosphere that excites and engages the listeners.

The best ways to connect with your audience are;

  • Tell stories
  • Be aware of your target audience
  • Know the energy in the room
  • Be Willing to poke fun at yourself
  • Work on your non-verbal body language

Paint a Picture Through Storytelling

One of the best ways to really engage your audience is by becoming a good storyteller. This aspect of public speaking is so important I didn’t want it to simply be a bullet point in the ‘Connect with your Audience’ section.

Storytelling is a powerful tool used by the best speakers. By employing context into your speech for your audience to connect with, you’re creating an easy to listen to the atmosphere in which you are not simply shoving information at them in the hopes that they’ll retain that information.

The best presentations don’t feel like presentations, they are simply stories told by people with interesting experiences.

You can include stories of your own experiences, or use classic stories to bring context to your speech. Martin Luther King was a master at establishing a historical context for his message. Take a look at some of the most inspirational TED Talks. TED Talks, in general, are extremely story driven, and that is one of the reason they’re so popular.

For a great example of storytelling being implemented in public speaking, take a look at this presentation given by Jill Bolte Taylor .

The story is the most digestible, understood, and easy to retell communication medium in the world. A story is what really sticks in a listener’s mind.

When writing your speech, think about what you need to say in order to establish a context that your audience will understand and be able to engage with.

Repetition can help ensure your audience takes the main points away from your presentation. It promotes clarity and helps to encourage acceptance of an idea.

In order to employ repetition in your presentations, determine what you want your audience to take away from your speech. Say it. Say it again. And then say it a third time just in case anyone missed it the first couple of times.

Don’t Just Practice, Practice, Practice

Have you ever heard someone say that they want to seem authentic on stage, so they didn’t practice their speech? Although it may seem contradictory, the more you practice a presentation, the more spontaneous it will actually sound!

Of course, you have to practice it the right way though.

Take into account your environment when you practice and always practice as if you’re giving your presentation to a group of people. Speeding through your presentation on the bus in a hushed voice is more likely to hurt you than help you.

Practicing will help to make you feel more confident, and appear more authentic, thus creating a better opportunity to connect with your audience. Which, in the end, is the ultimate goal of public speaking.

In summary, the best way to give an inspiring presentation is by having a message that you believe in that the audience can connect to.  The connection between you and the audience is what allows them to truly listen to your message and be inspired.

It takes a lot of practice and experience to become a powerful public speaker, and by emulating the mentioned characteristics of effective public speakers you can become more inspiring and more influential.

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  • Delivery Techniques →

How to Give a Speech: 10 Tips for Powerful Public Speaking


When we start preparing to give a speech, it can be a nerve-wracking experience. It’s completely normal—most of us feel a combination of excitement and nerves when we’re about to take the stage.

However, with some strategic planning and practical advice, you can make sure your speech is powerful and effective. In this blog post, we’ll explore how to give a speech that will leave your audience engaged and inspired.

We’ll examine 10 tips to help you build a powerful speech, from outlining your points methodically to crafting captivating introductions . Whether you’re a beginner or experienced public speaker, these nuggets of wisdom will help you take your next speech to the next level. Let’s get started!

Quick Review of Key Points

Preparing ahead of time is the key to giving an effective speech. Make sure to structure your speaking points, rehearse your delivery, and be aware of the needs of your audience for maximum impact.

How to Prepare for a Speech

Preparing for a speech is an essential step to public speaking success. It can help to build your confidence, create content that reaches the audience, and reduce performance anxiety.

Although it can be time-consuming in the beginning, preparation will ensure less stress and more comfort during delivery. Here are some tips to consider when preparing for a speech:

Practice : Before delivering a speech, practice it out loud several times. This will allow you to gain experience in speaking without an audience and increase your confidence when you do have one.

Practicing also helps to identify awkward moments in the speech or any difficult phrases which then can be changed or removed altogether. Additionally, it helps you determine where to pause for effect. Research : Depending on the topic of the speech , research should be done beforehand to gather information that is relevant and interesting for the audience. It is important to get acquainted with the language typically used by audiences to ensure a clear understanding of what is being said.

Additionally, relevant statistics and stories concerning the topic are a great way to draw in listeners and make the presentation more engaging .

Know Your Audience : When preparing your speech, be sure to consider who will be listening. For instance, if giving a presentation at work, include industry jargon that members would understand and include relevant topics from publications that might be familiar to the employees.

On the other hand, if consulting business professionals in their field then technical language may be easier for them to comprehend than laypeople or students.

By gathering valuable information about the topic and getting comfortable with a speech’s content and delivery through practice, speakers will gain more assurance during their talk as well as respect from their audience.

Preparing beforehand not only gives insight into how to engage listeners but also encourages more meaningful conversations after the event. Now that we have discussed how to prepare for a speech let us move on to creating an outline which will provide structure during delivery.

Create an Outline

After determining the audience and purpose of your speech, the next step to effective public speaking is to create an outline .

An outline serves as a roadmap to ensure that your speech has a logical flow and contains all important points. It also can help keep you on track during the speech itself, allowing you to stay focused and organized.

When constructing an outline, consider drawing up both a main point and sub-points for each portion of the speech. Both should be relevant to the goal of the presentation and backed up by facts and research.

Brainstorming can help in this process; try grouping your ideas together in clusters to make sure you cover all possible angles.

Furthermore, writing out exact quotations or figures can prove beneficial in forming a cohesive argument. At this stage, it is also wise to decide where transitions, humor, stories, or other engaging techniques will be included.

While there are differing opinions as to whether outlines should be memorized or simply used as a reference while speaking, many agree that they should serve their purpose – not only articulate the main thoughts of the speech but also assist the speaker with maintaining focus and preventing distractions.

The debate between those who advocate for memorization versus casual consulting touches upon issues such as rehearsal time, risk of errors in delivery, ease of practice versus actual performance and more.

Each side has valid arguments that should be weighed prior to deciding what type of approach best suits your needs.

Having a firmly constructed outline acts as a valuable tool when it comes time to deliver a powerful public speech. By actively utilizing this tactic, speakers may not only enhance their clarity and coherence, but also add structure and vibrance to their presentations.

Now that we have explored what goes into crafting an effective outline, let’s dive deeper into how we can best collect resources and research our topics for maximum impact.

Collect Sources and Research

Collecting sources and research is a crucial step for any public speaking engagement. It ensures that you have the necessary information to make strong points and back up your statements.

Before writing your speech, take time to research your topic to gain familiarity with different perspectives, facts, and counterpoints. This will help you to craft an argument that can stand up to scrutiny while also adding a breadth of knowledge to your speech.

Interviews can be a powerful source of evidence and anecdotes, so try to include one or two relevant interviews in your research process. Relying solely on secondary sources such as books and articles can lead to a narrow scope of understanding.

Interviews provide an opportunity to hear directly from an expert and create an interesting dynamic in your speech by adding personal experiences as well as commentary from a professional.

In research it is important to stay objective. Gather a variety of perspectives and be open-minded about their merits. Don’t forget to consider both sides of the argument when researching for your speech.

Doing this allows you to understand the opposing perspective and enables you to anticipate potential counter arguments from your audience.

By acknowledging them beforehand, you may increase the persuasive power of your speech by showing confidence in the points you make.

Once you have collected all sources, review them carefully and separate the most pertinent information from the less useful material.

Synthesising this information into concise yet impactful points is a critical part in delivering powerful talks without overloading your audience with too much data or going off track during your speech delivery.

Organizing Your Speech

Before you start putting your words together, it’s important to consider how the different parts of a speech fit together. By taking the time to organize the ideas in your speech , you’ll be able to deliver a presentation that is well-constructed and easy to understand.

One way to help with organizing your speech is to write an outline . An outline is like a map or plan that will provide you with a framework for each section of your speech.

Start by writing out your main points and then include additional details underneath each one. This will help keep your speech focused and provide direction for where you are going next.

Another approach for organizing your speech is known as the “inverted pyramid” method. This structure starts with your conclusion at the beginning of the speech, and then works backward by providing more explanation and detail as it moves toward the introduction.

This method can be helpful when speaking about topics that are unfamiliar to the audience since it doesn’t require them to wait until near the end of the presentation to learn what you’ve been talking about.

No matter which organization approach you choose, make sure to practice it before giving your speech so that you are comfortable with its flow. Lastly, remember that it’s ok to adjust things while you speak if they don’t seem or feel quite right.

Now let’s take a look at how we can use these organizing techniques to actually put our speeches together – starting with structuring our speech.

Structure Your Speech

Creating a strong structure for your speech will ensure that the audience stays engaged and understands your main points. As you are developing an outline, map out how you want to begin and end your speech.

Break up the information into smaller sections with either verbal or visual cues so that your audience can clearly see how you are transitioning between topics . Consider adding humor judiciously throughout your presentation as this could help engage the audience and lighten any tension.

The length of your presentation is also important. You will want to make sure that you include all of the necessary information without going over time.

Oftentimes less is more; if you can say it in five minutes why use ten? Make sure that you practice timed rehearsals so that you can gauge how long you’re actually speaking.

In contrast, avoid trying to pack too much content into one presentation as this could overwhelm both you and the audience. If needed, offer supplemental reading materials for those who may be interested in delving further into the subject matter.

Paragraphs can also be helpful when organizing large amounts of content within the body of your presentation. Utilizing paragraph breaks gives your audience a break and helps to highlight key ideas or summaries before moving onto a new topic area.

Finally, it is crucial to remember what your desired outcome is from the presentation; plan accordingly by ensuring that the beginning, middle, and end serve their respective purposes and adhere to that goal.

With careful deliberations, structuring a successful presentation can be achieved with relative ease.

Having established a solid structure for your speech, it’s important to focus on another key element: rehearsal. The next section will discuss the benefits of practicing before delivering a powerful public speaking performance.

Rehearse Your Speech

Rehearsing is integral to giving a successful speech. When you rehearse your presentation, you give your mind an opportunity to become familiar with the notes and concepts that you are presenting. It also increases your confidence and reduces anxiety or self-doubt.

In fact, studies have found that those who rehearsed their presentation had higher scores in public speaking performance and language proficiency evaluations.

When it comes to how much rehearsal is enough, opinions are divided. Some people believe that over-rehearsing can lead to a more robotic speech with less natural emotion and connection with the audience .

On the other hand, others argue that no matter how well-versed someone is on the topic, additional rehearsal time improves both the delivery of the speech and memorization of key points and facts.

Ultimately, it’s important to practice until you personally find the most comfortable level for yourself, as this will ultimately result in a more engaging delivery.

Finally, if at all possible, try to practice in front of a friend or colleague for honest feedback on any elements that need improvement before the big day. Rehearsal dedication may be tedious, but it results in big rewards on stage–enabling you to deliver your content with clarity, confidence, and poise.

With thoughtful preparation complete, it’s now time to step into the spotlight and give your speech!

Giving Your Speech

The key to success when giving a speech is to be well prepared and confident. Every individual’s preparation process will vary, but the basics should stay the same.

Start by studying your content, understanding the material and being able to repeat it in your own words. Clarify any potentially difficult points. Create visual aids like PowerPoint slides or handouts that supplement the key ideas in your speech.

Practice your public speaking skills with informal conversations with friends and family or rehearse it alone in front of a mirror. Use visualization; imagine yourself confidently delivering your speech. Consider addressing a practice audience if possible to become more accustomed to a live size group.

On the day of the event, arrive early and plan for any potential obstacles: What if my computer doesn’t work? What if I forget something? Allow sufficient time for setup and check-in.

When you are ready to give your speech, take some deep breaths, focus on the positives, and distract yourself from any anxious thoughts with positive affirmations. Remember you have prepared diligently for this moment, you are well prepared and you will succeed!

Start strong by engaging the audience immediately with an attention grabbing opening statement. Speak clearly and make sure that everyone can hear and understand your message.

Slow down and emphasize points as needed throughout your presentation. Be aware of pace, volume, and tone of voice: too fast/monotone can confuse/bore listeners while pauses add a dramatic effect that keeps their interest piqued.

Ultimately, giving a successful speech will depend on knowing your material well enough to speak confidently in front of your audience without hesitation or missteps.

When you do make a mistake (and they happen!) don’t panic – know that mistakes are inevitable but don’t be discouraged; get back on track as soon as possible and continue at the same energy level you had before the mistake occurred.

Having successfully given your speech, take a moment to reflect on what went well and what could be improved upon for next time before transitioning into the next step: mastering delivery.

Master Your Delivery

Mastering your delivery is the key to an effective speech. Without purposeful body language and careful emphasis on certain words , your speech may lack wow-factor and prevent listeners from tuning in. Following these simple tips can help you get started with delivering an engaging and memorable speech:

The most important part of delivery is practice. Rehearse and perfect your speech ahead of time – this allows for more natural flow and confidence during your presentation. It also helps to create pauses between sentences for clarity, emphasize key points, and not be too casual or stiff.

Practicing inflections and varying tones adds interest to your speech by keeping listeners’ attention.

Additionally, it’s important to project your voic e so everyone in the room can hear you; make sure you’re speaking loud enough but don’t feel pressure to shout or yell at any point unless that’s part of the atmosphere of the event.

It’s also crucial to maintain good posture while speaking – stand tall with both feet on the ground, keep your back straight, hold yourself up without gesturing too much or leaning against a podium if applicable.

To further engage listeners, use purposeful hand gestures as they help emphasize certain points and add visual interest – however, avoid overusing them as it can hinders communication.

Make meaningful eye contact with audience members throughout the presentation – otherwise you might come across as unenthusiastic or bored with what you’re saying which deters attention away from the content itself.

By mastering your delivery, you can boost the impact of your presentation considerably – providing a memorable experience for your audience that stands out from others’. As such, it’s worth investing time into practicing ahead of time until delivery feels comfortable and second nature.

Having said this, making use of visual aids such as PowerPoint slides can greatly improve the impact of a speech once delivery has been mastered – let’s look into that next.

Use Visual Aids

Using visual aids can help presenters express concepts more clearly and engage the audience.

Visuals are particularly useful when conveying complex information, such as data, trends, or statistics — they impart meaning at a glance. But some public speakers may wonder if visual aids can be distracting or unnecessary.

Even though visuals can attract attention away from a presenter’s verbal delivery, carefully designed visuals can actually support the speech and help provide clarity. If done well, visuals are effective for capturing an audience’s interest and helping them to better understand the content being presented.

For example, a graph or chart should relate to the points made in the speech and should be discussed in more detail during its appearance onscreen. The presentation can also include larger images that effectively reinforce the ideas conveyed in the speech.

Videos and sound clips are other powerful forms of multimedia that could be employed to make the speech more meaningful.

To ensure that visuals enhance the message of the presentation, key factors to consider include relevancy to topic, good graphic design or aesthetics, accurate size to prevent distortion or blurriness, and seamless integration into the keynote slides or printed handouts .

In this way, visuals offer an opportunity for presenters to demonstrate their creativity and keep their audiences interested in what is being said. Thus, used wisely and aptly, visuals can add tremendous value to speeches by presenting arguments more efficiently and driving home important points. Now let’s explore effective techniques for speech giving that will allow you to craft and deliver your speeches with confidence.

Effective Techniques for Speech Giving

There are a number of effective techniques for giving a speech that will help you deliver it with confidence and poise.

First, practice your delivery in advance. You should practice both in front of a mirror or recording device to check for any distracting habits such as talking too quickly or mispronouncing words.

Second, use simple, clear language and short, concise sentences. Avoid overly technical terms and jargon that may leave your audience confused.

Third, work to establish a connection with your audience by using appropriate facial expressions and hand gestures while speaking.

Fourth, utilize effective persuasive techniques such as presenting evidence, strong arguments supported by facts, personal anecdotes and vivid metaphors.

Finally, articulate an organized structure for your speech. Your speech should have an introduction, body and conclusion to clearly communicate the main point and provide the audience with the necessary context to understand it better.

While these techniques may sound intimidating at first, they can be learned over time with practice and will make all the difference in how successful your speech delivery is received by your audience.

To build on these skills further , the next section will provide tips on how to build confidence when giving a speech.

Building Confidence

Building confidence is key when giving a powerful speech, as it will enable you to deliver the speech in a more poised and credible manner.

To create this confidence , start by understanding that any hesitation or butterflies prior to your speech are completely normal and should not be feared. Instead, view them as natural states of anticipation for something exciting, knowing that you are about to give an amazing speech.

Next, understanding who your audience is and tailoring your speech to meet their expectations will help build your confidence.

Familiarizing yourself with their interests and knowledge on the subject matter ahead of time can equip you with the understanding needed to respond appropriately if questions arise or objections surface during the speech.

Further, practice is key when building confidence for a public speaking engagement . Rehearsing with friends or colleagues before hand will give you an opportunity to learn where problem areas are within the content of your speech, as well as help solidify your delivery by becoming more comfortable with each step.

Checking sound levels in the room you’re presenting in coupled with learning where exits/emergency locations are located within that space can also help alleviate stress levels and boost self-assurance while delivering the speech.

Finally, wearing comfortable clothing and dressing professionally adds an extra layer of confidence when speaking in public.

If possible, bring an additional outfit on hand during the presentation in case of spills or accidents that would require a quick change between sections of the talk. Having this back-up plan in place can aid in keeping peace of mind at ease throughout the speech.

In conclusion, building confidence prior to a public speaking event can mean the difference between a good and great delivery of your message.

By taking into account each of these tips you can ensure that this part of your preparation runs smoothly and sets you up for success when delivering powerful speeches.

With a well-crafted note card of talking points and strong sense of self-assurance, it’s time to start speaking with passion!

Speaking with Passion

As a public speaker, your audience expects you to engage not only with your words but also with your emotions. To share the most impactful message, it is important to speak passionately about your subject.

Doing so will make your speech more memorable and thereby more effective in convincing your audience of its legitimacy.

The power of speaking authentically with emotion lies in its relatability and connection. Showing feelings allows people to connect with you as a person rather than just a speaker. It opens the door to understanding through empathy and active listening .

Examples might include adding personal stories , telling jokes, or displaying your feelings openly during the delivery of your message.

However, not all topics lend themselves easily to expressing emotion. If the subject matter is overly complex or technical there may be less opportunity for emotional expression—but this doesn’t mean those conversations can’t incorporate emotion.

Even if faced with a difficult situation such as death or financial turmoil, emotions can still be conveyed in a respectful way that keeps audiences engaged.

Remember that how much emotion you show depends on the type of audience you’re sharing it with—using sensitivity when delivering passionate speeches helps avoid awkwardness or embarrassment for any attendees who may find opinionated language uncomfortable for whatever reason.

Striking the right balance between being straightforward and showing compassion takes practice, so take the time to develop a style that works best for you and improves upon each performance.

Finally, incorporating passion into a speech gives it life and makes it relatable and engaging—which are essential elements to speaking effectively.

Having passion means giving ourselves permission to take ownership over our stories, making them deeply personal in order to reach our goals and touch people’s hearts in meaningful ways. With that said, let’s move on to discussing how we should tackle dealing with challenges while giving a speech.

Dealing with Challenges

The process of delivering a speech can be challenging, but it is also rewarding. Difficulties can arise during the process that may threaten to derail your success. To ensure you are adequately prepared for these possible pitfalls it is important to consider strategies for proactively mitigating the risk of encountering these challenges. 1. Public Speaking Anxiety: Many people experience some form of anxiety when asked to speak in public. There are a number of techniques available to combat this fear and increase confidence, such as deep breathing exercises, mental rehearsal, positive self-talk and visualization of success.

Learning about the audience, creating an engaging presentation and using props or visual aids can also help reduce anxiety levels and create a better overall experience for both the speaker and the audience. 2. Unfamiliar Topics or Audiences: When presenting on unfamiliar topics or to an unknown audience it can be difficult to prepare effectively.

In this situation it is important to conduct research on the topic and familiarize yourself with the needs of your audience so that the content is tailored accordingly. It is also helpful to use humor or stories related to the topic in order to engage your audience and make them more receptive to your message. 3. Lack of Support: If you lack support from family, friends, colleagues or mentors, it can be difficult to push through difficult conversations or speeches without any additional motivation.

To overcome this challenge, seek out peer mentorship opportunities or find compatible online communities where people discuss similar topics or objectives. Here you can share ideas, provide feedback and learn from others who have experienced similar issues. 4. Time Constraints: One of the biggest challenges when giving a speech is managing your time effectively in order to deliver an effective message without going over allotted timeslots and boring your audience .

To successfully address this challenge try setting manageable goals for each section of your speech and practice regularly. Replicating real-time conditions as closely as possible will help you stay within time constraints when delivering your speech on the day itself. In conclusion, there are many potential challenges you may face when giving a speech or taking part in a public speaking event – but with proper preparation and practice they are easily managed if approached correctly.

With knowledge of techniques for dealing with such scenarios comes increased confidence when stepping up to the podium – further improving your chances of delivering an effective speech that resonates with your audience members.

Responses to Frequently Asked Questions

How should i end my speech to leave a lasting impression.

The best way to end your speech is by reinforcing your main point and summarizing the key takeaways. You should also encourage the audience to take action, whether it be to sign up for a newsletter, make a donation, or visit your website for more information. This final call to action will not only leave a lasting impression on the audience but will also help you achieve any goals you might have had when making your speech in the first place.

What techniques can I use to keep my audience engaged during my speech?

One of the best techniques for keeping an audience engaged during a speech is to keep it interactive . Ask questions throughout the presentation, as well as allowing for audience input and discussion. This can help to keep people’s attention and create a more engaging experience.

Another great tip is to use humor. Even if you don’t consider yourself a natural comedian, sprinkling in a few jokes here and there can break up the monotony of long speeches and keep people interested. Humor can also help to make points stick in people’s minds, making them easier to remember.

Finally, try to be enthusiastic about the content of your speech. If you show too much indifference or lethargic behavior, it will discourage your audience from paying attention and taking your message seriously.

Instead, be passionate about what you are saying so that the energy of your words carries into the room and engages your audience with excitement.

How can I use storytelling to make my speech more interesting?

Storytelling is a powerful tool that can be used to make any speech more interesting. Telling stories in your speech will help engage the audience and make your message stick. Here are some tips for using storytelling in your speech:

1. Choose stories that are relevant to your message and audience. Think about stories that will best illustrate the point you are trying to convey, or evoke emotions in your listeners. 2. Use vivid descriptions and visuals when telling your story. Be sure to include details such as setting, character descriptions, dialogue and plot points. This will help to bring the story to life for your audience. 3. Make sure the story you are telling has a strong conclusion or moral at the end. This will help add emphasis to your message and make it memorable. 4. Practice telling stories out loud before delivering a speech with them. Rehearsing will help you deliver your story more effectively and with more confidence in front of an audience. By using these tips, storytelling can be an effective tool to make any speech more interesting, engaging, and persuasive!

How can I prepare for my speech effectively?

Preparing for a speech effectively is essential to delivering an impactful and memorable presentation. Here are some tips: 1. Have a clear goal in mind. Before starting to prepare, ask yourself what the purpose of giving the speech is: what message do you want to convey? Defining this will help to structure your content and focus your research. 2. Research thoroughly. Make sure you understand the subject matter well, so that your delivery sounds confident and inspiring. Using facts and data will strengthen your arguments and make your talk more convincing. 3. Outline your speech. Make a rough outline of how you want it to go – from beginning to end – well in advance of the actual presentation. This will give you a strong foundation upon which you can craft an engaging talk with an effective narrative arc that keeps audiences interested and engaged. 4. Practice regularly. Rehearsing your speech out loud several times is key to ensuring that you know it well enough to feel comfortable when delivering it live in front of an audience.

5. Time yourself. Record how long it takes for you to go through your entire speech, so that you can adjust the length as needed before delivering it live – remember that most speeches should last no more than 10-15 minutes. 6. Identify potential questions from the audience and prepare answers before hand. Knowing ahead of time what kind of questions people may ask can help reduce the anxiety of not knowing what comes next, enabling you to stay confident when speaking in public. 7. Work on building up confidence levels before delivering a speech. Visualize yourself succeeding in delivering a great presentation; practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or positive self-talk; or use props during practice sessions such as water bottles or stress balls if needed to remain calm during the real thing!

What strategies can I use to reduce my anxiety when giving a speech?

1. Plan Ahead: Create an outline of your speech beforehand and practice it multiple times to become familiar with the content. Doing a trial run with the audience can also help you get used to speaking in front of people.

2. Visualize Success: Positive visualization is a great way to reduce anxiety before giving a speech. Imagine yourself confidently delivering the speech while feeling relaxed and composed.

3. Get Organized: Make sure you have all the materials necessary for your presentation, including notes, slides, etc., to reduce any additional stress that may come from not having what you need when you speak.

4. Take Deep Breaths: Before and during the speech, take a few deep breaths as this will help calm nerves and make sure your breathing is regulated throughout the duration of your presentation.

5. Speak Slowly: It is common to feel anxious while giving a speech and try to rush through it too quickly. Speaking slowly helps maintain composure while delivering your message effectively and clearly.

6. Pay Attention to Your Body: Your posture, stance, movements , facial expressions can all influence how confident you appear to your audience and how nervous you may be feeling inside. Check in with yourself frequently throughout the presentation and correct any tense body language or physical actions if needed.

7. Focus on the Audience: If you notice that your anxiety levels are growing as you present, shift your focus onto the audience instead of yourself as this will help refocus your attention away from negative thoughts that may arise from fear or insecurity.

8. Make Eye Contact: Establishing eye contact with your audience is a key confidence-builder for public speakers—it shows that you’re strong, engaged with them, and receptive to feedback or questions they might have regarding your speech topic .

9. Practice Positive Affirmations: Positive thoughts will boost your self-confidence as well as your mood which can help increase performance quality significantly during speeches or presentations in general—so don’t forget to tell yourself “you can do it!” several times throughout the day leading up to the event!

10. Seek Support of Friends & Family: Many experienced public speakers suggest seeking support of close friends & family members prior and during their speeches—not only does it allow helpful critique regarding content but it also creates a more comfortable atmosphere while speaking which can reduce pre-speech jitters drastically.

what makes a good public speech

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by David JP Phillips • November 16, 2021

what makes a good public speech

Public speaking is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences that many of us face in our daily lives (although it’s dropped off the list of Americans’ biggest fears in recent years, replaced by more immediate threats like … sharks ?).

Part of our fear is about what we’re going to say, but the other part is about how we’re going to say it, according to communications expert David JP Phillips (TEDxZagreb Talk: The 110 techniques of communication and public speaking ). Phillips has spent years analyzing 5,000 public speakers to identify what moves work — and which ones don’t — when talking to an audience.

When we think of body language, many of us immediately think about hand and arm gestures. But body language is so much more than that — and it’s also something that we should all get comfortable with. By making small, easy tweaks to how we stand, move or even smile, we can help hold an audience’s attention. While Phillips has an entire 110-step system to public speaking, there’s no way or need to master them before your next presentation. Here, he shares 7 body-language tips that anyone can use.

Lean towards your audience

“Taking a step back indicates that you are threatened and makes your audience feel less relaxed,” says Phillips, who is based in Sweden. “Whenever we are threatened, we tend to close our body language, tense our muscles, and take a step back.” Crossing your arms is another move to avoid — it’s something else that people do when they’re nervous or scared and it puts those watching us on the defensive. So keep your arms open, and lean towards your audience. Make sure your head is inclined too; tilting your head backwards signals to your listeners that you feel superior to them.

Match your gestures to your words

Phillips’ rule of thumb when it comes to hand gestures: Make them functional (they should always have a purpose) and make sure they match your message. “The core of all communication is to make your message as clear as possible,” Phillips notes. If you’re talking about sales figures going up, that’s a good time to use a gentle, rising motion. If you’re setting two rhetorical options out for your audience to consider, place your hands on either side as if you’re weighing items in your palms. Humans are visual creatures, and movement will arouse an audience’s attention. But do not abuse this tendency. “If a person is using non-functional gestures, they can become annoying very quickly,” explains Phillips. “Functional gestures, however, are rarely used too much.”

Give your hands a rest

Most of us struggle mightily with what to do with our hands while talking. Put them in our pockets? (No, says Phillips: Too closed off.) Clasp them behind our back? (Nope: Domineering and overly formal.) Phillips has a whole lexicon of poses not to do with one’s hands, such as the “the prayer” (hands clasped in front) and “the beggar” (hands in front, palms up). And then there’s “the peacock”: hands on hips with elbows flapping loosely at your sides. “You often see this one being used by people who are nervous and who desire to quickly become ‘bigger’ in front of their opponent,” he explains. Phillips’s recommendation: “Leave your hands by your sides when you’re not using them.”

Tilt your head

Some of the ways that humans communicate nonverbally are pretty hardwired in us, says Phillips. One of these nonverbal signals is something you probably do all the time without realizing: When you’re trying to show empathy, you tilt your head to one side. “Good listeners are head tilters,” Phillips says. The same empathy signals work — even when you’re the one doing the talking.

Smile like you mean it

One of the most important things that a public speaker can do is deliver a Duchenne smile — the kind of genuine grin that fills your face and reaches your eyes. People respond more warmly to a Duchenne smile. “It will help make the audience more at ease and relaxed. And if they are at ease and relaxed, you’ll become more that way too and you’ve created a positive spiral, making you deliver your talk better. Also, adds Phillips, “as our emotions work from the inside out and the outside in, it means that you can affect your own emotional state in a positive way by smiling on stage.” No need to fake it — just bring to mind a person, place or animal that you know automatically brings a Duchenne smile to your face.

When you slip up, don’t panic

We’ve all had that moment: We practiced our speech until we could recite it in our sleep, but suddenly we can’t remember what comes next. The best way to recover, according to Phillips, is to act like you’re not panicking. “Avoid reacting on your fear,” he says. “Your body will want to tense up, reverse, hide in a corner, but all that just makes you feel less confident.” Instead, he suggests, “lean forward, open up your posture, breathe deep and slow, talk slowly, pause, and smile a Duchenne smile. All of those in combination will make you feel more comfortable.”

Practice — even when you’re not in front of a crowd

One of Phillips’ favorite mottos when it comes to body language is: “It’s a skill, not a talent.” He believes that anyone can become a great public speaker, even the most awkward and nervous of us. He says that a good first step is to simply become more tuned in to your everyday body language. Learn what gestures you tend to use to get your point across. Once you’ve gotten familiar with your existing body language vocabulary, you can start changing it and expanding it. “My most practical tip is to pick one to three skills and practice them every day until they become part of your natural way of communicating.”

This post was originally published on TED Ideas . It’s part of the “How to Be a Better Human” series, each of which contains a piece of helpful advice from someone in the TED community; browse through all the posts here .

© 2024 TED Conferences, LLC. All rights reserved. Please note that the TED Talks Usage policy does not apply to this content and is not subject to our creative commons license.

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20 Public Speaking Tips With Great Examples (for 2022)

20 Public Speaking Tips With Great Examples (for 2022)

Written by: Chloe West

An illustration of a man speaking at a podium to an audience full of people.

We've created a list of 20 public speaking tips to help you improve your public speaking skills and present with confidence in front of any audience.

Here are the some of the tips you’ll find inside:

  • Make enough rehearsals so that you feel confident with your speech
  • Practice in front of a mirror and in front of others
  • Prepare a visually appealing presentation
  • Get to know your audience
  • And, many more.

So, if you want to get your public speaking skills to the next level, you’ll need this list. 

Read the tips one by one or choose the ones that interest you the most from the navigation below.

Let’s get into it. 

20 Public Speaking Tips to Make You a Better Speaker

Tip #1: know your audience, tip #2: prepare a visually appealing presentation, tip #3: practice in front of a mirror & in front of others, tip #4: make enough rehearsals, tip #5: speak from the heart, tip #6: use props for effect, tip #7: be candid, tip #8: start with a question, tip #9: end with a question, tip #10: simplify the complex, tip #11: test the equipment that you’ll be using, tip #12: make eye contact with your audience, tip #13: speak slower than usual, tip #14: leave space to breathe, tip #15: get to know the stage, tip #16: ask for feedback to improve, tip #17: don’t be afraid to repeat yourself, tip #18: try to memorize your notes, tip #19: plan your speech & create a structure, tip #20: include a digital version of your presentation.

The first thing you need to do is have a full grasp on who your audience is going to be. You need to have this down before you even begin choosing a topic and creating your presentation content because it could vary based on who you’re speaking to.

Even if you’re giving the same speech two separate audiences, take the time to tweak it and personalize it based on where you’re speaking and who you’re speaking to.

Furthermore, your presentation slides, props and stories that you tell might vary whether you’re speaking to a more business-oriented audience versus a room full of peers.

The next tip we have for public speakers is to ensure your presentation is visually appealing and engaging to your audience members.

This is the best way you can ensure you grab your audience’s attention from the get go. While the rest relies on your ability to speak well, you have full control over the design of your slides.

If you have no idea where to start, a professionally designed slide deck is the perfect starting point. Give our Simple theme a try – it has over 300 different slide designs for you to pick and choose from when creating your presentation.

Our Simple presentation theme with over 300 different slide designs to choose from.

Just be sure to leave out those bullet points and boring black and white slides. Match your branding if it makes sense and incorporate a variety of visual aids.

One great way to help you get over a fear of public speaking is to practice in front of a mirror and watch how you present yourself. 

Then once you’re comfortable giving your speech alone, recruit a group of friends, family members or colleagues who are willing to be your audience as you practice in front of them.

This can help you prepare for speaking in front of people, and starting small is the best way to become more comfortable and in your element.

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what makes a good public speech

Practice, practice, practice. The only way you’re going to get over that nervous energy and help your speech come across as natural as possible is through rehearsing it over and over again.

Read over your slides, make mental notes and create mnemonic devices to help you remember the information you want to share for each slide you create.

You don’t want to simply read off your slides, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to rehearse. When it comes to public speaking, you don’t want to leave anything to the last minute.

If there was a category for the most forgettable speeches in the world each spring, it would be for those delivered at graduation ceremonies.

However in 2016, a young man by the name of Donovan Livingston changed all of that. His speech began safely with a quotation, a tried-and-true technique, although over-used for generations. But then, in an amazing display of creativity, Livingston broke all the rules.

Instead of the standard platitudes and well-wishes, he launched into a spoken-word poem as a speech and his imagery was so vivid, it drew an emotionally overcome audience to its feet at the end.

Livingston’s speech has since been shared more than 170,000 times and viewed by eight million people.

This proves that making presentations that your audience supports is not a trick or a gimmick – it is simply delivering eloquent, amazing content that touches people deeply and inspires them to reach out and share your message.

Sometimes the best way to stand out in front of an audience is to incorporate props into your presentation.

That was evident in another speech that brought the audience to its feet in support of Mohammed Qahtani, winner of the Toastmaster’s 2015 World Champion of Public Speaking award.

Standing on stage, reaching in his pocket and pulling out a cigarette, putting it to his lips and then flicking his lighter, the quirky speaker elicited a shocked response from his audience. Then he made them laugh by quoting some amazing statistics which he then revealed he had made up.

By this time the audience was hooked. What would happen next? You can watch this example below.

Qahtani’s unorthodox opening mixed with humor and effective facial expressions caught people’s attention and when he was ready to hammer home his message, they were already on his side.

“Words have power, words are power, words could be your power,” he told them.

The presentation of a powerful message for change can fall on unresponsive ears unless the speaker can bring the issue into the lives and hearts of the audience.

Caitlyn Jenner, in her acceptance speech for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award managed to bring her audience onside through her remarkably straightforward talk.

As you listen to these excerpts from Jenner’s message, you sense the emotion building. By the time she tells her story and vows to “reshape the landscape of how trans issues are viewed and how trans people are treated,” she has the audience following every word.

What Jenner illustrates best is not only how to grab the audience’s attention, but how to keep their attention. She reached out to thank her children in an emotional moment and talked about the everyday things that women take for granted that she had to get used to.

Telling a moving personal story remains one of the all-time best public speaking tips to get and keep an audience on your side. The more unusual the story is, the more the audience will be fascinated.

Note that Jenner also refrained from glorifying herself with her stories.

Instead, she focused on the impact of her decision on those around her and on urging others uncomfortable with their gender to take the necessary steps to live life on their terms. This approach scores higher with any audience.

She didn’t brag; she didn’t exaggerate. Her direct speaking style was refreshing to her audience and effective in bringing them on her side.

Telling a great story works well in bringing an audience on your side, as illustrated by Jenner’s remarks, but it gains even more power when you combine the story with another great technique, and that is asking your audience a question.

When self-help guru Amy Morin did both in her speech “The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong,” her audience was onside immediately.

Listen to her effective opening as she first tells a story about her friend and follows it up with a self-revealing question to her audience.

Morin, a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist and lecturer at Northeastern University, is adept at building a bridge to her audience.

In fact, she not only bridges to them, but mentally they climb up on that bridge and start walking toward her. She knows how to use the best techniques in a way that is so natural, her audience is unaware that they are seeing professional tactics of presentation science at work.

If you opt to tell a personal story, make sure that it is closely connected to your theme. Also, make sure that it is not more than a minute or two in length.

If you decide to ask a question that invites your audience to think about your topic, be very specific. There is a time in life for open-ended questions, but it is not at the start of your presentation.

As Morin did, ask them one direct question about their immediate response or emotion to something. For example, do not say “do you think jealousy is just a part of the bigger picture of being human?”

In the same vein as starting with a question, you can also consider ending your speech with a question. This is a great way to keep people thinking about your topic and how they can apply it to their own life, job, etc.

Ending your presentation with a question can be a great way to inspire or motivate your audience and keep them thinking about your key points long after you’re finished.

Another important strategy for bringing audiences on your side is ensuring that if you are going to talk about a more complicated topic, you break down the concepts you present in a way that your audience can easily understand.

A great example of that is Dan Gilbert’s presentation on The Surprising Science of Happiness.

Gilbert makes his point by explaining from the beginning how the human brain works, and how cognitive judgments are formed. Then he illustrates that we can all misinterpret our own happiness or well-being because of our cognitive interpretations and false assumptions.

He makes it clear to his audience that they have the power to try out life experiences before actually doing them for real. He takes complicated concepts like our experience simulator and impact bias and shows how we can mislead ourselves.

But when we master these brain responses, we can live and interpret our experiences in a more positive way.

As all of the impressive presentations mentioned illustrate, there are lots of public speaking tips you can apply to bring your audience on side with you, but the foundation of all of them is having something worthwhile to say and a straightforward vocabulary to ensure that your audience grasps it.

In the presentation game, there is a huge element of showmanship, but in the end, that only works to impress people when you still deliver content that creates value in their lives.

Before you encounter technology errors in front of your entire audience, be sure to test all equipment that you’ll be using during your speech.

This can be anything from the clicker for your presentation slides, the computer you’re using to open your presentation, the projector or any other piece of equipment that might be available to you.

Knowing exactly how to use each of these objects before you go into your presentation will help your setup be that much more seamless and can take the edge off a bit before a big speech.

One of the key characteristics of any great speaker involves making eye contact with your audience. As you speak, take the time to look around the room, speaking directly to each person sitting in front of you.

Not only is this a great way to help yourself feel more at ease while you speak, it helps your audience feel even more connected and engaged with what you’re saying.

Often when people feel nervous or are encountering stage fright, they start to speak quickly. You need to be conscious of this so you can avoid that bad habit.

When you speak too quickly, your messaging can easily be lost on your audience as they struggle to keep up. Even a normal, conversational speed can be too quick for a speech.

You want to be fully aware of every word that leaves your mouth, speaking more slowly than you typically would, so that your main points really resonate with your audience. 

Another good practice is to pause for emphasis after your important points to let them really sink in. Speaking slowly and pausing for effect are two tactics for great speeches.

This goes right in line with our previous point – allow yourself time to breathe and don’t speak too quickly .

When you’re rushing through your speech, not only does it cause you to lose your audience, but it will also cause you to get winded quickly, ruining your performance.

Be sure to give yourself time to breathe. Taking deep breaths can also be a great way to get over stage fright and start to feel more confident on stage.

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While you’re testing out your equipment, take a chance to really get to know your stage area. Will you have a larger stage? If so, practice walking around while you give your speech so you can cover as much area as possible.

Find out if there’s a podium. If so, it might be helpful to bring props, notes and other memorization devices to keep on the podium with you.

If you’re able to access the stage ahead of time, consider doing a test run of your speech so that you know what to expect when you have an audience.

At the end of the speech, be sure to ask trusted colleagues and attendees for any advice or feedback on improving your presentation skills. 

As you get more comfortable speaking, this can be helpful to ensure you hone in on the feedback you’ve received and work to get better and better during each speaking engagement you attend in the future, whether it’s a TED Talk or a friend’s wedding.

If there’s a point you really want to drill into your audience, don’t be afraid to repeat yourself! Saying the same powerful phrase over and over again is going to sink in much more effectively than any filler words would.

Find the number one takeaway that you want your audience to get from your speech and say it again and again throughout your presentation.

You don’t want to stand up on the stage and read your presentation word for word from notecards. This is why it’s important to try to memorize your notes.

We’ve previously covered 8 memorization techniques that pros use to remember their notes, so be sure to check them out.

Another one that we recommend is to utilize our presentation notes feature. Include bullet points and quick summaries to keep you on track. You can also use this feature to time yourself so you know how long you’ve spent on each slide.

Be as prepared as possible. While you create your presentation slides , ensure the order makes sense and that you’ve planned your speaking points around the structure of your slides.

There are a number of ways to structure your presentation for maximum impact on your audience as well, so be sure to plan out the best way to tell your story and make your point. Ensure your body language matches the words you’re saying as well.

Creating a structure for your presentation helps your story to flow well from beginning to end. Practice sticking to your structure so your presentation makes sense and resonates with your audience.

Print out and distribute handouts to your audience, but also be sure to include a digital version of your presentation for your viewers to watch again later.

You can easily share this on your website, in a blog post or on social media platforms like LinkedIn. Uploading a digital version to SlideShare is another way to reach even more people with your content.

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Now that you’re ready to be a pro public speaker, it’s time to start designing a presentation your audience will never forget. Sign up for Visme to get access to professionally designed slide templates and stunning presentation elements for a one-of-a-kind slide deck.

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what makes a good public speech

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what makes a good public speech

About the Author

Chloe West is the content marketing manager at Visme. Her experience in digital marketing includes everything from social media, blogging, email marketing to graphic design, strategy creation and implementation, and more. During her spare time, she enjoys exploring her home city of Charleston with her son.

what makes a good public speech

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  • Presentations
  • Public Speaking

20+ Effective Public Speaking Skills & Techniques to Master

Laura Spencer

  • العربية/عربي

You may think effective public speakers are born that way. You'd be wrong! Public speaking skills can be learned.

Principles of Public Speaking

Most effective public speakers have worked hard to master their craft. That includes effective speaking skills and good public speaking techniques. They may spend hours practicing, working with a coach, or taking speech courses.

The good news is that you can improve your public speaking skills and become an effective speaker. Public speaking techniques can dramatically improve your results. In this tutorial, we've listed over 20 different public speaking techniques that can help you learn how to become an effective speaker.

What Is Public Speaking?

Public speaking occurs when you give a speech before a live audience. It differs from other types of speaking, such as videos, which may be recorded. It's also different from online presentations, which are created and then uploaded to the Internet.

Public speaking gives you many opportunities. That includes improving your confidence level and giving you the opportunity to champion a cause you care about. Plus, having effective public speaking skills can help you find a job. Many jobs, such as an instructor or sales professional, require you to speak in public.

Even when a job doesn't include public speaking in the job description, employers still value  the skill. In one survey, 600 employers said that good communication skills were twice as important as managerial skills . 

Graphic public speaking skills

At this point you may be asking "what makes a good public speaker?" The answer might seem easy: A good public speaker makes use of effective public speaking techniques. What are those effective public speaking techniques? That's what we're going to talk about in the rest of this tutorial.

Before we dive into our discussion of effective public speaking techniques , download our eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations .  It's available for FREE with the Tuts+ Business Newsletter. Learn how to write, design, and deliver the perfect presentation. 

Complete Guide to Presentations

Now, let's look at how you can deliver an awesome presentation by using effective speaking techniques.

20+ Effective Public Speaking Techniques

You can learn to become a more effective speaker by using the right techniques and practicing your public speaking skills. Here are some techniques to follow:

1. Fit the Message to the Audience

Guidelines for effective public speaking often include tips that apply to any situation. But sometimes, it pays to tailor your delivery based on your audience. Matching subject matter and delivery style helps you make the best possible impression. When you know you’re speaking successfully, you’re able to present with more confidence.

Before you speak, plan ahead by considering your target audience. If you’re presenting a research paper to academics, you can plan on a detail-heavy speech. But if you’re introducing a new idea to a casually-interested audience, it’s better to take a broader focus.

Audience guidelines for effective public speaking

Knowledge level is also an important element. Imagine you’re speaking about astronomy to a group of young children. Your message can and should be much different than if you’re addressing a room full of seasoned scientists.

In essence, use your public speaking skills to connect with the audience in front of you. All it takes is a bit of advanced planning. You’ll be on your way to giving an inspiring speech that all can enjoy. 

Learn more about audience analysis as part of tips for effective public speaking below:

what makes a good public speech

2. Be Interactive!

Tips for effective public speaking help you give the best speech possible. Remember what you’re trying to do. You’re informing, inspiring, and engaging your audience. And talking at them isn’t enough. The best public speakers build interactive elements into their speeches. You can too.

Interactivity is one of the key public speaking skills. It can take many forms. It can be as simple as a quick, personal greeting at the start of your speech. Or you can even play interactive games like a trivia quiz. 

This offers many benefits. It keeps audiences alert and engaged. It helps you gauge how well they're following your message. And it takes the heat off of you by adding engagement from others. Sometimes, after all, a break from talking is welcome. It helps you stay focused and on pace.

If you're presenting your speech with PowerPoint, check out our interactive quiz tutorial:

what makes a good public speech

3. Care About Your Topic

Passion goes a long way when it comes to being an effective speaker. The audience can tell if you're apathetic. If you don't care, they won't care either. Even worse, you can come across as a fake.

But if you sincerely care about your topic the audience will pick up on that too. They'll view you as being more authentic and believable. They'll listen more closely to discover why your subject is so important to you. And they're more likely to forgive any minor mistakes you might make.

4. Remember Your Speaking Goal

We've all probably listened to at least one speaker who seemed to go on and on forever about nothing in particular. One reason why this happens is because the speech isn't focused enough. The speaker is trying to cover too much and ends up boring their listeners.

Speech public speaking skills

Early in the process of developing your speech, identify the reason why you're speaking. Make it a point to stick to this goal during your presentation. Don't get sidetracked or off-topic.

5. Support Your Main Points

Every point you make in your speech needs to be supported with either an example, an illustration, or facts. When you're supporting a point, it's best to be as specific as you can be.

For example, in a speech about the importance of clean water this statement is too vague:

 "Many people don't have clean water."

Stating this statistic from the U.S. Center for Disease Control is a more effective way to support your point:

"Worldwide, 780 million people do not have access to an improved water source."

6. Tell a Story

People love a good story. So, if you want to be a more effective speaker, tell a story.

Storytelling is a great way to make your material more engaging and to relate to your audience. Make sure your story is relatable and relevant.

If you're speaking is about your business, here are some examples of stories you may be able to tell:

  • A customer story . The story of how your product or services met a need for a specific customer or solved a problem. Satisfied customers are often happy to share this.
  • Your company story .   The story of how your company came to be. This can be especially effective if it's customer-oriented.
  • A product development story . The story of how you came to offer a new product (or service).

Of course, there are many other types of stories you could tell depending on the type of speaking you're doing.

7. Use a Professional Template

While we're talking about presentation tools, let's also talk about presentation design. Your presentation design affects how your audience perceives you.

Even if you deliver your speech perfectly, your audience might still judge you if your slides are sloppy. The presentation visuals are just as important as your speaking performance.

Elements public speaking skills

Of course, you could use a standard template (the same ones that everyone uses) or design your own template (costly and time-consuming). But a better plan is to use a professionally designed presentation template that you can easily customize.

Guidelines for efffective public speaking

The presentation templates from Envato Elements and GraphicRiver are easy-to-use and professional. And there are hundreds to choose from--so you're bound to find one that meets your needs.

8. Use Presentation Tools Wisely

Slide presentations often get a reputation for being dull. That's because many speakers are unaware of what their presentation tools can do and don't make the best use of all the features. To better engage your audience, learn how to use the more advanced features of your tool.

As an example, here are just a few ways you can use PowerPoint and Google Slides (with links to related tutorials):

  • Add animations ( PowerPoint , Google Slides )
  • Add video ( PowerPoint ,  Google Slides )
  • Add audio ( PowerPoint ,  Google Slides )
  • Construct a timeline ( PowerPoint ,  Google Slides )

And these features are just the tip of the iceberg. To really elevate your public speaking techniques, it helps to know what your software can do. Our tutorial series on Google Slides  and PowerPoint  are a good place to start. 

9. Practice Your Speech

One of the most important public speaking techniques is often one of the most overlooked--practice. If you expect that you'll be an effective speaker without practicing your speech, you'd be wrong. One of the quickest ways to avoid public speaking failure is to try and give a speech you don't really know and haven't practiced.

Rehearsal tips for effective public speaking

The old saying, "practice makes perfect," really is true when it comes to developing effective speaking skills. The more you practice your speech, the more familiar it'll be to you and the more comfortable you'll be giving it. Plus, practicing your speech is the only way to discover how long the speech will take and where you need to pause.

10. Work With a Coach (optional)

If you're really serious about developing effective speaking skills, a speaking coach or teacher can take you to the next level. A coach or teacher can teach you the principles of public speaking and point out mistakes in your public speaking techniques. They give you awareness of tendencies you would otherwise miss.

Worried about cost? You may be able to find reasonably priced public speaking help through one of the following organizations:    

  • Toastmasters International
  • Your local community college
  • Public Speaking Meetup

There may even be more resources close to you.

It's normal to be nervous about public speaking. One study from The National Center for Biotechnology Information estimates that as many as 77% of us have a fear of public speaking . It's so common there's an actual technical term for fear of public speaking--glossophobia.

I'm not telling you this to make you more anxious, but rather to let you know that having some anxiety before giving a speech is perfectly normal. Still, you should try to relax if you can. You'll be more comfortable, and the audience will relate to you better too.

If there's something that normally calms you down in stressful situations, try using it right before you're due to speak. Popular calming techniques include:

  • positive affirmations
  • aromatherapy

The following tutorials can also help you fight your fear of public speaking:

what makes a good public speech

12. Don't Worry About Mistakes

One of the reasons so many of us fear public speaking is because we're worried that we'll make a mistake and embarrass ourselves in front of everyone. If this is your fear, let it go. Most audiences will understand if you make a mistake. And if it's a small mistake, the audience may not even notice it.

Of course, practice can dramatically reduce the likelihood of you making a mistake. The more you practice the better you'll know your speech--and mistakes will be less likely.

So, what should you do if you do happen to make a mistake? If it's a minor mistake, don't stop or apologize for your mistake as that only calls attention to it. Just continue on. If you make a big mistake, try using humor to diffuse the situation and then continue your speech. Your listeners will be impressed with how gracefully you handled things.

13. Study the Habits of Others

One of the best ways to learn effective public speaking skills is to study the habits of others. There's no reason to learn the art (and science) of public speaking all by yourself.

Consider your favorite orators, lecturers, and presenters. Think about why they're your favorites. Usually, it's their delivery, their stage presence, and their sense of style. If you can't watch them in person, it's a great idea to watch videos of them at work.

It's important to note that tips for effective public speaking vary from person to person. Don't try copying someone else's style. But learn from their habits and incorporate the best into your own method of public speaking. By doing so, you can inspire others in the same ways that have inspired you.

what makes a good public speech

14. Pace Yourself

When it comes to public speaking, a common newbie error is to speak too quickly. This is usually caused by a combination of nerves and not realizing how fast you're actually speaking. But talking too fast makes it harder for your listeners to understand what you're saying.

Effective public speakers know to pace themselves. They'll speak at a natural pace and work short, natural pauses into their speech.

It also helps if you remember to breathe during your speech. A surprising number of people hold their breath without realizing it when they're nervous (I'm one of them).  But holding your breath will only increase your anxiety. So, remember to breathe deeply during the breaks in your speech. If your speech is a long one, taking a sip of water during a break can also help.

15. Add Visual Aids

Visual aids can serve as a powerful illustration of your speech. Humans use their sight more than any other sense. So, if you can make your point by showing it to your listeners rather than describing it, they're more likely to remember it.

Infographic PowerPoint tips for effective public speaking

Be careful though. To be effective, your visual aid must be of high-quality and easily visible to all members of your audience. Avoid incorporating sloppy graphics into a slide presentation. Likewise, don't hold up a visual aid that's physically too small for those listening to see.

Discover professional PowerPoint templates on Envato Elements or GraphicRiver : 

what makes a good public speech

16. Avoid Awkward Fillers

"Um," "uh," "like."

We all slip these filler words into our conversations without even realizing it. But overuse of these words during a professional speech can make you sound less than confident. If you can, break the habit of using these words to become a better public speaker.

Practice can help you cut these words from your speech patterns, but you may be so used to using them that it's hard to notice when you're doing it. This is where a speech coach, teacher, or friend would come in handy. They could listen for these words and help you break the habit of using them.

17. Dress Comfortably, But Professionally

What's the right outfit to wear if you want to be an effective public speaker?

Well, there's no one answer. How you dress depends on who your listeners will be. But the general principle is that you want to dress professionally to make a good impression. Make sure to observe good grooming and hygiene rules too.

Professional dress guidelines for effective public speaking

Many experts feel you should dress according to how your audience dresses. If the audience is dressed formally, you don't want to show up in shorts and a tee shirt. Likewise, if the audience is wearing shorts and a tee shirt, don't dress formally.

18. Use Gestures (But Don't Overdo)

Natural movement during a speech is a sign of an effective public speaker. Hand gestures and moving a few steps across the stage can be good public speaking techniques. Just make sure they're natural, purposeful, and not overdone.

Movement can make you appear more comfortable and help your audience relate to you. You've probably seen the stiff speaker who delivers their speech while standing stock still. Which would you rather listen to:

  • that stiff speaker, awkward speaker
  • or a speaker who punctuates their speech from time to time with meaningful hand gestures

19. Allow a Q&A

Question and answer sessions (Q&A) are one of the most underused public speaking techniques. Many speakers just say what they're going to say and then sit down. What a waste!

The beauty of Q&A is that you get to hear your listeners' concerns directly and address them publicly, further strengthening your case.

Audience QA tips for effective public speaking

You can prepare for a Q&A session by creating your own list of questions and possible objections that audience members may have (with answers). Study the list carefully so that you're familiar with it.

If someone does bring up a point that you hadn't thought of, don't panic. They don't expect you to know everything. It's perfectly acceptable to take their contact information and tell them that you'll get back to them once you've got the answer.

20. Build in Silence to Stay on Track

Guidelines for effective public speaking often leave out a key ingredient: silence. That's right. You don't have to fill every second of your time with spoken words. It's critical to add pauses. This is one of those public speaking skills that doesn't get the credit it deserves.

Silence has many benefits in public speaking:

  • It gives your voice a break. By adding a pause (just three to four seconds), you can catch your breath and stay focused. 
  • It's equally beneficial for your audience. Rushing from point to point without a break will likely cause them to lose focus. Adding in some breathing room helps your speech flow organically.
  • Silence also helps you segue from idea to idea. It offers clear breaks between ideas and adds emphasis. Adding suspense is a sure way to maintain a focused, engaged audience.  

21. Recap at the End

You've delivered your message to an engaged audience. You've presented with confidence and style, and delivered a clear, coherent message. But you may still wonder: "are they really going to remember what I said?"

This is a key thing to consider as you close out your speech. Last - but not least - on our list of public speaking skills is the recap at the end. You should wrap up your speech by quickly recapping your key points. 

This may take only a few moments. Remember, you're not repeating yourself word for word. You're revisiting your main ideas in summary form. This helps you close on a high note. Your audience will once again hear the details that you find most important. This way, they can carry those ideas with them, long after you're finished speaking. 

what makes a good public speech

More Templates to Supplement Your Public Speaking Skills

This article has given you more guidelines for effective public speaking. The best resource you can use is pre-built presentation templates. Those have the blueprint for great slides that make creating a presentation as easy as filling in placeholders.

On Envato Tuts+, we're always in search of the best templates. These go hand-in-hand with our tips for effective public speaking. Check them out below, and you're sure to find great designs for you.

what makes a good public speech

More Resources on Effective Public Speaking

If you're ready to learn more about developing effective speaking skills, we've got many tutorials on public speaking that can help:

what makes a good public speech

Download Our Free PDF eBook on Making Great Presentations

We've got the perfect complement to this tutorial, that'll help you take your presentation know-how further. Learn how to write, design, and deliver great presentations. 

Download  The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations for FREE with a subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter. Get your ideas formed into a powerful presentation that'll move your audience. 

 Free eBook PDF Download Make a Great Presentation

You Just Learned Top Tips For Effective Public Speaking

Editorial Note : This content was originally published in 2018. We're sharing it again because our editors have determined that this information is still accurate and relevant. This post has been updated with contributions from Andrew Childress .

Laura Spencer

More From Forbes

15 methods of every effective public speaker.

Forbes Coaches Council

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Public speaking is an essential ability to master as a business owner, not only because it can help you give memorable speeches and gain popularity points for yourself and your organization, but also because it can vastly  improve your overall business communication .

Whether it’s at a cocktail party, industry event or when you’re meeting with potential investors or customers, the ability to express your thoughts in a clear, concise and convincing manner makes all the difference. The better you become at public speaking, the more PR you can generate for your business and yourself as an expert in your field.

Below, 15 coaching experts from  Forbes Coaches Council  share several ways to become more effective at public speaking, from knowing how to engage with your audience to paying attention to your body language and telling a compelling story. Here is what they recommend:

Members of Forbes Coaches Council share their insight.

1. Tell A Story

Effective public speakers understand that the human mind over generations is "wired for story." The best speakers not only tell stories well but use vivid visual imagery and emotions to hook the audience. The story must be simple, relatable, and must present a point of view for it to be most effective. Personal stories are often the best since they are more credible and hence inspire action. - Viswanath Parameswaran , Institute of Transformational Coaching

2. Connect One Person At A Time

When I train speakers, I make sure they understand they are not talking to an audience or crowd. They are speaking to a group of many one persons. Each person in that room is someone you want to connect to, speak to, reach and impact. Make eye contact and speak to people in different parts of the room very deliberately. Speak to each person's potential concerns. - Janet Zaretsky , The Zenith Business

3. Remember It's About The Audience

Most talented speakers are great at storytelling. However, when telling your story, never forget that you are doing it for the sake of the audience. It shouldn't be about you, so make it crystal clear why, and how, your story can help the audience. That way your message will be more than entertaining, it will also be empowering and inspirational! - Donald Hatter , Donald Hatter Inc.

4. Pay Attention To Gestures And Tonality

As a public speaker, you want to pay attention to your body language and your vocal cues. While good public speakers deliver effective speeches, great public speakers are actively aware of their body and their voice at all times. Use open body language and practice allowing your tone to help dictate the audience's emotional response to your talk. - Erika Couto , Erika Couto, Inc.

5. Tell 'Em, Tell 'Em And Tell 'Em Again

Plan ahead. Start by telling the audience what you're going to tell them, then tell them, then tell the audience what you just told them. That's the best way to prepare for a public speaking engagement -- in three simple parts. - Kimberly Buchanan , The Buchanan Group

6. Create An Absolute Emotional Appeal

Some of the best advice I ever heard from a known public speaker when I asked him this question was this: Speak from the heart. I know it sounds simple but the best public speakers, even in a humorous talk, speak about something moving, something personal -- a story that moves them while they speak. Stories that move you will also move audiences to connect to your topic. - John M. O'Connor , Career Pro Inc.

7. Engage Through Your Five Senses

Great speakers connect, engage and persuade using their five senses. Sight: Make direct eye contact with as many audience individuals. Hearing: Play music at the start and end to energize. Thought: Start your presentation with a question to get the audience contemplating. Speech: Use relevant stories throughout. Touch: Shake hands with participant individuals and greet people at the doors. - Joanne Markow , GreenMason

8. Fail Forward

If you are constantly trying not to fail, you'll never succeed. Great public speakers take chances -- calculated risks -- to achieve their goals of reaching their audience and sharing their ideas. By avoiding being on the spot and skirting moments that you aren't 100% ready for, you'll stay in a safe space of being "fine." If you fall on your face, learn. When you get up, you'll be farther along. - Jennifer Oleniczak Brown , The Engaging Educator

9. Join The Speakers Association

Join the National Speakers Association and go through their speaker academy. When you complete the course you will have been trained by some of the most successful speakers in the country. You can go to chapter meetings every month and listen to a speaker talk for a couple of hours. - Jan Makela , Strength Based Leadership

10. Face Your Fear

Public speaking is intimidating but you can tackle your fear through familiarity. Get early access to the venue -- stand in each corner of the stage, sit in the audience's seats to see where you'll be seen from all angles, practice using the technology. The day of your talk, turn your audience into advocates by meeting and shaking hands with as many people as possible before your speech. - Loren Margolis , Training & Leadership Success LLC

11. Follow The Leaders

As a person who continues to work on developing my personal speaking style, I feel qualified to answer this question. I was told by an accomplished speaker that one of the best ways to improve your speaking skills is to study the "masters of the trade." There are countless videos online of exceptional speakers, past and present, that you can use as a study guide to improve your presentation style. - Kenneth Johnson , East Coast Executives

12. Become An Expert

To excel at public speaking, one needs to become a true expert in a given field or topic. Determine your area of interest and immerse yourself fully in relevant research. Follow key thought leaders to stay on top of the latest trends. Live and breathe your area of interest in order to share that passion and knowledge with others. - Kris McGuigan , Professional Courage

13. Just Start Doing It

Public speaking is the No. 1 fear and the best way to overcome it is to just start small: in the grocery line, at small meetings, kids events, church, where you feel comfortable. Think how you can speak about your family with passion and enthusiasm -- that is how you need to speak. When you have a story to share, and you capture with your natural passion and energy, the rest will follow. Start by just doing it. - Kari Price , The Art of Being a BOSS

14. Begin From The Inside Out

A great presentation is a combination of internal (mindset) and external (behavior) factors. If you have all the "right" behaviors but your mindset is lacking, people will notice the incongruence and the presentation will feel flat and fake. The most effective speakers begin with strong self-belief and define the purpose of their presentation -- what to achieve for the audience and themselves. - Lisa Martin , Lisa Martin International

15. Include Your Audience In The Presentation

Spend some time connecting with your audience before you go on stage. Go up to people individually, introduce yourself if you need to, let them know what you’re speaking about, and ask them what they’d love to learn. Then weave the answers into your presentation and if you really want to connect with your audience, remember their names and reference them in your presentation. - Regan Hillyer , Regan Hillyer International

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How to Be an Effective Public Speaker

Last Updated: April 22, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Deb DiSandro and by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA . Deb DiSandro is the Owner of Speak Up On Purpose, an organization dedicated to improving and teaching public speaking. Deb has over 30 years of experience as a national speaker and has presented at the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Conference and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. She was awarded the National Speakers Association Member of the Year 2007 and has been published in Writer's Digest, Daily Herald, Women's Day, and Better Homes & Gardens. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 342,603 times.

Even accomplished public speakers worry about whether or not their presentation is effective. Fortunately, improving your effectiveness as a public speaker is very simple! To be an effective public speaker, prepare a well-developed speech that fits your audience. Then, practice your delivery prior to giving the speech. Finally, connect with the audience, articulate your words, and use gestures as you give your speech.

Preparing Your Speech

Step 1 Know your audience.

  • For example, will you be presenting to people who are relatively new to the topic, or are you speaking at a professional event where people will have some familiarity? You’ll need to adjust your material to fit their needs. You want to avoid talking over people’s heads, but you also want to avoid giving them a lot of information they already know.
  • Similarly, your presentation will differ depending on how the audience views you. If they see you as an expert on the topic, your speech should convey that knowledge and authority.

Step 2 Determine the appropriate tone for your speech.

  • If your topic is serious in nature, you may use a grave tone. Alternatively, you might choose a humorous tone for a speech delivered at a celebratory dinner.
  • Generally you can use a conversational tone for any speech, regardless of the topic or size of the audience. Most important is to be authentic!
  • Keep in mind that you don't need to use the same tone for your entire speech. For example, your presentation may start out serious but end with a fun, interactive segment. In this case, you'd want to adjust your tone as the presentation progressed.

Step 3 Conduct research, if necessary.

  • If you know a lot about your topic, you might want to start writing your speech before doing research. This way you won’t waste time reviewing information you already know. For example, a biologist may be able to give a speech about cell division without doing additional research. Similarly, you'd likely be able to write a speech for your parents' anniversary without conducting research.
  • If you don’t know much about your topic, do a little research, and then start outlining your speech. For example, if you were giving a speech to celebrate a local landmark, you might want to look up the history of the landmark and important details before you start writing.

Step 4 Outline your speech if desired.

  • Stick to 3-5 main points in a single speech. Avoid providing so much information that the reader can’t retain it.
  • After you have a basic outline, you can make notes about what you want to say under each bullet point.
  • You don’t need to write full sentences. Just write down enough words for you to remember what you want to say.
  • An example thesis for a speech might look like this: “In this new exhibit, the artist’s personal history and passion for color come together to recreate a world that the viewer can almost touch.”

Step 5 Create a “hook” to engage your audience.

  • Ideally, your hook should come within the first 30 seconds of your speech.
  • For example, “Like you, I once struggled to organize my time. Now, I get more done in a day than I did in an entire week,” or “When I started my research, I asked myself one question: How can we achieve the impossible?”

Step 6 Add anecdotes or jokes.

  • Audiences love to hear personal stories! They are one of the best ways to make your speech engaging and to pull the audience in.
  • For example, you might start a speech about your scientific research by telling a story about a mishap from your first day in the lab.
  • You might open a training presentation at work with a joke about work meetings.

Step 7 Anticipate audience questions.

  • Consider your audience again. What do they expect to get out of your speech? What is their knowledge level? Use this information to consider what kinds of questions they may ask.

Step 8 Make presentation materials, such as note cards.

  • You may also want to jot down a few words to remind yourself of important concepts that you don’t want to forget.
  • Don’t write out full sentences, as this is more likely to trip you up. Just write the key words.
  • Note cards work well, but some people may prefer to print out an outline on paper.

Step 9 Be flexible.

  • For example, you may plan your speech for a group of experts but realize on the night of your presentation that the audience has less background knowledge than you expected. In this case, you could present less of the material you’d planned to share but provide more explanation so that a beginner will understand.

Practicing Your Delivery

Step 1 Practice your speech in the mirror.

  • You may want to film yourself more than once if you have things you want to work on.
  • Alternatively, you could have your friend watch you practice the speech and then give a critique.

Step 3 Time your speech.

  • It’s best to practice your speech a few times before you start timing it, so that your delivery is smooth. At first, you might spend a few extra seconds here and there trying to remember what it is you wanted to say.

Step 4 Memorize your main points.

  • Don’t try to memorize your whole speech. Not only is this difficult, but it can make your delivery a bit robotic. Knowing just the main points will keep your flow natural.

Step 5 Practice using your visual aids, if you have them.

  • Get used to presenting alongside your visual aids without reading directly from them, as people don't like being read to.
  • Keep in mind that there may be technical issues and you may not be able to access a powerpoint or prezi. Make sure you can deliver your speech without these things, if necessary.

Giving Your Presentation

Step 1 Mingle with the audience members before you give your speech.

  • Stand by the door and greet people.
  • Introduce yourself to people as they find their seats.
  • If you’re sitting in the audience before your speech, talk to the people around you.

Step 2 Review your notes before your speech.

  • Don’t stress! Trust yourself to remember what you need to say.

Step 3 Articulate your words.

  • It helps to breathe deeply as you’re giving your speech so that you’re less likely to talk too fast.

Step 4 Use gestures to emphasize your points.

  • However, you should avoid nervous gestures. Make sure your movements are intentional, not a result of fidgeting.

Step 5 Adjust to follow the audience’s reaction.

  • For example, if your audience is laughing at your jokes, let the room quiet down before continuing. If they aren’t laughing, but are smiling or nodding, you don’t need to cut out your jokes. Recognize that larger audiences may provide more intense reactions than smaller ones, as people feel less self-conscious in large groups.
  • If your audience seems to be lost, you might lighten your tone and give more explanations.

Step 6 Use audio-visual aids only as needed.

  • Don’t read from slides, as people don’t enjoy being read to. [13] X Research source
  • You can use audio-visual aids in fun ways to add to your presentation. For example, you might include a short video about the latest discoveries in your field. [14] X Research source

Step 7 Involve the audience.

  • Ask the audience to repeat your key phrases.
  • You could also get the audience to make a particular sound or gesture at certain points in the speech.
  • Ask the audience to offer examples or suggestions.
  • Take audience questions.

Step 8 Be yourself.

  • For example, if you are boisterous and lively in life, then be like that when you speak. However, don’t try to force yourself to act that way if it isn’t natural.

Step 9 Calm yourself if you start to feel nervous.

  • Imagine your presentation going well.
  • Focus on the purpose of your speech rather than your nervous feelings.
  • Breathe deeply to calm yourself.
  • Jog in place or wave your arms above your head to burn off nervous energy.
  • Limit your caffeine consumption before you're scheduled to present.

What Are Tips For Improving As a Public Speaker?

Speech Outline and Dos and Don'ts

what makes a good public speech

Expert Q&A

Deb DiSandro

  • Don't let being anxious or nervous lower your confidence. Embrace it by expressing it as excitement and enthusiasm. Thanks Helpful 55 Not Helpful 8
  • Remember that no one knows your speech but you. Thanks Helpful 10 Not Helpful 0
  • With every speech, speaking will become easier. Don’t give up if you mess up the first few times you give a speech. Thanks Helpful 9 Not Helpful 2

what makes a good public speech

You Might Also Like

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  • ↑ https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/9-ways-anyone-can-be-better-public-speaker-ncna779896
  • ↑ https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-realworldcomm/chapter/10-3-vocal-delivery/
  • ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-be-good-speaker
  • ↑ https://courses.lumenlearning.com/publicspeakingprinciples/chapter/chapter-8-outlining-your-speech/
  • ↑ https://www.hamilton.edu/academics/centers/oralcommunication/guides/how-to-engage-your-audience-and-keep-them-with-you
  • ↑ https://www.gvsu.edu/speechlab/practicing-presentations-33.htm
  • ↑ https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236611
  • ↑ https://www.comm.pitt.edu/visual-aids
  • ↑ https://open.lib.umn.edu/communication/chapter/10-3-vocal-delivery/
  • ↑ https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wm-publicspeaking/chapter/gestures-and-movement/
  • ↑ https://professional.dce.harvard.edu/blog/10-tips-for-improving-your-public-speaking-skills/
  • ↑ https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder/treatment/conquering-stage-fright#

About This Article

Deb DiSandro

To be an effective public speaker, start by practicing your speech ahead of time in front of a mirror so you can see how you’ll appear to the audience. Then, make note cards you can refer to during your speech, but try to memorize the key points so you can speak smoothly to your listeners. Additionally, use gestures to emphasize your points, like holding up 1, 2, or 3 fingers to indicate your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd major idea. You should also try to engage your audience by having them ask questions or offer suggestions as part of your speech. For tips on how to prepare a speech that will capture your audience’s attention, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Professional Skills

  • Nov 8, 2023
  • 14 min read

25 Helpful Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

Keep your audience engaged.

Joanna Zambas

Joanna Zambas

Content Manager and Career Expert

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

A man demonstrating his public speaking skills

Your knees turn to jelly as you take centerstage. Your hands tremble as you prepare your slides. You suddenly have a lump in your throat, and your heart has sunk to your stomach. The time you have been anticipating has finally come, but you’ve suddenly forgotten everything you were intending to say.

Does all this sound familiar? The fear of public speaking, also known as glossophobia, is extremely common, with some 72–75% of the population suffering from it according to research .

Despite being common, however, glossophobia is also “treatable”. In this article, we’ll go over 25 tips that can help in developing your public speaking skills so that you can deliver your next speech with more confidence and less fear!

The importance of good public speaking skills

Being able to stand in front of an audience and share your original ideas and personal stories can be incredibly empowering. The better you become at it, the less you’ll be phased by talking to people who may hold opposing views to you (on and off stage!), and the likelier you’ll be to influence others to consider your point of view.

In the workplace, having a way with words can decrease unnecessary conflict, improve your ability to negotiate and help you be seen as a confident decision maker. All these are crucial, especially when you’re in a leadership position or aspire to move up the ladder to a leadership role .

What makes a great public speaker?

Can you recall a speech you’ve heard that you found inspiring? Part of its being memorable must have had to do with the speaker’s charisma. But what does said “charisma” actually consist of?

Charismatic speakers are ones that can convey their ideas confidently. They’re not afraid to share their own experiences and opinions, even on controversial matters. Not only do they have the backbone to defend what they believe in, but they’ve also got the knowledge to back up what they’re saying.


Often, great speeches are ones that have the audience thinking: “Oh — I had never really thought of it like that!”

It takes courage to step out in front of an audience and share your unique point of view compared to just recycling and churning out overused tropes: you’re giving the listener a glimpse into your inner world, which can leave you feeling vulnerable. This honesty is essential in establishing a connection with the audience, however.

If you’re the type of person who likes to read a lot, then you’ll have come across similar ideas many times. So, for a speech to move you, it needs to present “old” (or frequently talked about) information in new ways. And it takes creative thinking to achieve that!

Creativity will also allow a speaker to translate complex theories into easy-to-follow notions.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence refers to skills and abilities like emotional regulation and self-awareness, both of which are needed to become a successful public speaker. Emotional regulation allows speakers to stay on top of their emotions and deliver great speeches even when they get cold feet. Self-awareness, on the other hand, allows them to pay attention to their body language and tone while on stage, two vital components to keeping the audience engaged.

Did you ever have a teacher or professor whose lessons were so boring that they put you to sleep? When a speaker lacks enthusiasm, their audience will inevitably also lose interest in the topic being discussed. The more passionately you can speak about an idea, the more likely you are to spark people’s curiosity and grab their attention.

How to improve your public speaking skills

Developing or improving your public speaking skills can take some time. However, with some consistent effort, you too could be stepping on that stage and making a lasting impact on dozens or hundreds of people. Here are 25 tips that can help:

1. Know your audience

Before you begin outlining any speech, it’s important to think who your message is for. Find out as much as you can about your listeners beforehand. What age groups will you be speaking to? What are they hoping to gain from your speech? If they’re older, what industry do they work in? How familiar are they with complicated terminology or industry-specific lingo and jargon ?

You will need to know all this to be able to adjust your presentation and make it impactful.

2. Do your research

This should go without saying, but thorough research on the subject you will be talking about is absolutely essential to delivering an inspiring speech. After all, the more knowledgeable you are on the topic, the more self-assured you’ll be when speaking about it, especially in front of a large, live audience.

3. Organize your materials

If you don’t organize your thoughts and materials, you’ll risk jumping from one point to another, forgetting what you had originally intended to say.

Katherine Burik , founder of Interview Doctor, says: “I always begin my planning with the end in mind… What are the one or two main points I want the audience to leave with? Then I think about it from the audience’s perspective. Frame the entire talk around WIIFM [‘what’s in it for me’] and build around your main points, and you will have a great talk.”

4. Practice in front of the mirror

A good technique that many famous speakers use is practicing in front of a mirror. When you practice your speech this way, you can take mental notes of your facial expressions, hand gestures and body movements and see what needs improvements.

Also, the more you practice, the more familiar you’ll be with the contents of your speech, which is essential in building your sense of confidence. In the words of SEO expert and entrepreneur Kevin Miller : “I used to dread public speaking before I did it a million times. I learned that doing something a million times helps us desensitize ourselves to it, even when it’s scary.”

5. Observer other public speakers

Georges El-Hage, founder and CEO of Wave , makes the following suggestion for aspiring public speakers: “Watch skilled speakers and learn from their techniques. What do they do well that you can incorporate?”

The more speeches you watch, the more pointers and inspiration you can draw from successful public speakers. You just have to observe closely and note down the things you like about them: is it the way their eyes move across the audience while they speak? The way they complement what they’re saying with visual aids? Do they encourage the audience to share their own insights?

6. Work on your breathing

The right breathing techniques can regulate your nervous system and make you feel calmer. A popular one is called the “resonant breathing” technique, in which you breathe in slowly for five seconds and then exhale slowly for another five, for a few minutes each time.

The calmer you feel before you step out in front of an audience, the greater your mental clarity will be and the better able you’ll be to deliver your speech. Plus, your voice will sound steadier and louder, which will also benefit your delivery.

7. Record yourself

You’re probably thinking “cringe alert!” — but by recording yourself, you can listen to your delivery and make notes on how you can improve. You’ll also see how long your speech takes and be able to increase the length or cut it down as necessary.

8. Take classes

If you’re struggling to make progress on your own (after all, you can only get so far without some kind of an audience to speak in front of), look for public speaking classes in your area. These are great because they can teach you how to  communicate effectively and persuasively, as well as help you overcome your fear and make important social connections.

9. Visualize success

Visualization has been used by many famous athletes including Michael Phelps and LeBron James as a tool to enhance performance. Although public speaking isn’t technically a sport (it can sure get that heart rate up, though!), you can use visualization techniques to envision yourself crushing your upcoming speech or presentation.

When visualizing success, it’s important to engage all your senses; the more powerful the imagery, the more you’ll feel within yourself that success is attainable.

10. Discover your stage persona

Some people find it useful to create an alter ego for when they are on stage; take Beyoncé , for example, who has a “sensual, aggressive” alter ego called Sasha Fierce for when she performs.

By adopting a different persona, you can put some space between your “performing” self and your regular, everyday self. That way, you can separate the audience’s reaction and their reception of your speech from your sense of self-worth, allowing you to relax more.

11. Use the KISS technique

The “keep it simple, stupid” technique is popular among professionals everywhere, regardless of industry. When  preparing a presentation or speech, bear this technique in mind in order to keep it your sentences short, sweet and uncomplicated so that your listeners can follow along and remain engaged.

12. Mind your body language

Without you even being aware of it, your  body language  can betray your nervousness and any tension you’re feeling. It’s important, therefore, to pay attention to your body language while you speak. Try to stand up tall and keep your shoulders level, take deep breaths so that your voice stays clear and loud, and maintain eye contact with the audience while you speak.

13. Show your passion

For people to become interested in what you are talking about, you yourself need to demonstrate a passion for it. Someone who’s passionate about what they’re saying will have a magnetizing glow about them, which helps keep the listeners engaged for longer.

Plus, expressing a level of genuine enthusiasm is a must if you want to retain their attention and have them share their own views, sparking a conversation.

14. Open your speech with a grabber

The first minute of your speech or presentation is, perhaps, the most important. This is where you establish a connection with your audience and hold their attention. That’s why so many great speakers begin with a personal story! When you express genuine feelings and open up about real events, you allow your personality to shine through, creating an immediate connection with the audience.

Alternatively, you can start with a fun (or scary) fact that also stirs up emotions for the listener.

15. Avoid talking too fast

When you talk too fast, your audience will either get lost or think that you’re unsure of what you’re saying. Both of these things are enough to render your speech unsuccessful.

To convey your message in a powerful manner, your words need to be loud, clear and confident. It is, therefore, vital to talk clearly and slow enough to be understood at all times.

Smiling throughout your presentation is important, as it makes you come across as friendlier and more trustworthy , establishing a better connection with your audience. (So long as it fits with the overall tone of your speech, that is; don’t go smiling while sharing bad news or stats!)

Smiling will also make you feel more calm and relaxed , which will make it easier to gather your thoughts in the process.

17. Engage with your audience

Many speakers make the mistake of talking at rather than to their audience. It’s important to stay aware of your audience’s reactions, letting those decide when to carry on strong or when to take a second to pause.

If the topic or setup allows for it, consider making an effort to establish some kind of contact with the audience. For example, by asking questions and hearing the audience members’ opinions!

18. Work on your fear of rejection

“What if my audience gets bored?”, you might be wondering. “What if I get booed? Or forget my words?”

While there’s no way to predict how an audience might respond to your talk, the anticipation is often far worse than the event itself. So, while it will probably be not quite as dreadful as you imagine, there’s still a chance that your message won’t resonate with a particular group of people for a variety of reasons.

By viewing your work as separate to who you are as a person, and approaching your speeches with a growth mindset , you’ll automatically feel better and be able to overcome mistakes and obstacles faster.

19. Do some light exercise beforehand

Exercising  before a speech can reduce your cortisol levels (the stress hormone, that is), effectively making you feel less tense and more focused. If you can’t go on a short walk beforehand, try doing a few dynamic stretches, such as arm circles, torso twists and leg swings.

20. Use visual aids appropriately

As Dr Mark Farrell, actuary and director of ProActuary , says: “One of the public speaking techniques I use is the conscious effort to avoid overusing or becoming overly reliant on PowerPoint slides.”

That’s a great piece of advice: if you have presentation slides, they should be there to help you remember the key points. Don’t go reading off them for the entirety of your speech, or you’ll miss out on establishing a connection with your audience.

If you’re unsure on how to create effective visual aids, the  American Speech-Language-Hearing Association  suggests using punctuation sparingly, using bullet points in body copy, and avoiding having more than eight words per line.

21. Channel nervous energy into positive energy

Turning your nerves into excitement will do a world of wonders, so when you next go up on stage, tell yourself how excited you are. That’s right — you’re not nervous , quite the contrary!

“When you do [it], it really has a miraculous impact in helping you change your attitude to what you're about to do,” says inspirational speaker and best-selling author  Simon Sinek . And he must know a thing or two on public speaking; his TED Talks are among the most viewed of all times, after all.

22. Keep it short

In today’s fast-paced world, time is precious. Not only that, but research suggests that people’s attention spans are getting shorter.

Therefore, to avoid frustrating your audience (or sending them to sleep with an endless monologue), show that you value their time and aim to end your speech within the intended timeframe — or a couple of minutes early.

23. Pause for effect

Sometimes what you say is just as important as what you don’t say. Pauses during speeches can be used to emphasize your words, allowing the audience to sit with what you’ve just said. Use them wisely, however: too many pauses, and your speech will become slow and hard to follow.

24. Start small

As Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls , suggests: “Start as a panelist or moderator before you do a keynote talk or even try a podcast or radio interview via phone if you are nervous to speak in front of large groups.”

Indeed, if you begin with smaller audiences in more intimate settings, you can build your confidence until you feel more comfortable taking the stage in a large auditorium.

25. Ask for feedback

Although it’s easy to think that being a charismatic speaker is an inherent quality a person is born with, public speaking is a skill that can be learned and developed. In order to feel more confident each time you speak in front of an audience, therefore, it’s good to ask a few of your listeners for honest feedback.

The more room for improvement you can identify, the more you can perfect your spoken craft.

Key takeaways

It takes a lot of practice to become an inspirational public speaker, but with these tips, you could build the necessary skills and habits to spread your ideas and influence your listeners. To summarize what we’ve talked about in this article:

  • Speaking in public with confidence and ease is a skill that can be developed through practice .
  • Not all great speakers are natural experts ; they devote time to preparing and improving their techniques.
  • If you’re completely new to public speaking, speak in front of smaller audiences first , until you’ve gained some experience and built up some confidence.

We hope you found these tips to improve your public speaking skills useful! Let us know if you’ve got any more advice to share with fellow readers in the comments section below.

Originally published on February 14, 2018. Updated by Electra Michaelidou.

Communication Skills

Public Speaking Skills

what makes a good public speech

What Is Public Speaking? Why Is It Important? (Definition + Tips)

What is public speaking? In this article, you'll learn what speaking in public is about and the importance of public speaking in business.

What is public speaking

If you’ve been asked to give a public speech, you may wonder: what is public speaking and why is public speaking important? Those questions are quite logical if you’ve never thought much about public speaking before.

Public speaking is important in business, education, and the public arena. There are many benefits to speaking in public, whether you’re an individual or a business.

In this article, we’ll define public speaking for you. We’ll discuss the importance of public speaking in general. We’ll also cover the importance of public speaking in business. Plus, we’ll share some resources to help you become a better public speaker. This includes some public speaking examples.

Also, if you want to pursue speaking in public yourself, download our free eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations . It’ll help you master the complete presentation process.

What Is Public Speaking & Why It’s Important (Quickstart Video)

If you’re reading this, you’re probably asking the question “ what is public speaking “? You may even be faced with the prospect of creating a public speech yourself.

Or maybe you just want to know “ why is public speaking important “? Whatever your situation, we’ve got you covered with this short video that gives a public speaking definition and provides you with some tips to make a better public speech.

To learn even more about public speaking and why it’s important, study the written tutorial below.

A Public Speaking Definition

So what exactly is public speaking? Basically, it’s a presentation that’s given live before an audience. Public speeches can cover a wide variety of different topics. The goal of the speech may be to educate, entertain, or influence the listeners. Often, visual aids in the form of an electronic slideshow are used to supplement the speech. This makes it more interesting to the listeners.

public speaking vs online presentation

A quality public communication definition should explain how it’s different from an online presentation, which is why we’ll cover it here. Here’s a description of some of the differences:

  • A public speaking presentation is different from an online presentation because an online presentation is available any time. A public speech is typically limited to a specific time or place.
  • Online presentations often use slideshows or pre-recorded videos of a speaker. (This includes recordings of a live public speaking presentation).

Because speaking in public is done before a live audience, you need to consider some special factors. We’ll touch on those shortly.

Now that you’ve got an understanding of the meaning of public speaking, let’s take a quick look at the history of (and the importance of) public speaking.

A History of Public Speaking

What is the history of public speaking? And why is public speaking important?

confident public speaker

There’s a good chance that there’s been public speech, in one form or another, as long as there’ve been people. But most public speaking experts involved with public speaking in business communication trace the origins of modern public speaking back to ancient Greece and Rome.

Of course, those societies didn’t have slideshows, but they did have a need for speaking in public. As a result, they developed public speaking methods that are still studied today.

The ancient Greeks used public speech primarily to praise or persuade others. At one point, all Greek citizens had the right to suggest or oppose laws during their assemblies. This resulted in a need for skilled public speakers. Speaking in public became a desirable skill and was taught. Public speaking in the time of the Greeks was called rhetoric. Later, when Rome came to power, speaking in public was used during the Roman senate sessions. The Romans adopted the public speaking rhetoric methods of the Greeks. In fact, most public speaking teachers of the time were Greek.

The Latin style of public speaking was popular in the U.S. and Europe until the mid-20th century . After World War II, a less formal and more conversational speaking style of speaking became popular. Also, electronic tools became available to enhance public presentations.

Towards the end of the 20th century, electronic tools migrated to the computer. They evolved into the computer software tools, like PowerPoint , that we know and use today.

Don’t be fooled, though. Even though today’s public speeches are less formal, they still need to be well organized. More on that later. Now, let’s take a look at the importance of public speaking.

The Importance of Public Speaking

If you ask most people, they’ll probably say they don’t like public speech. They may even admit to being afraid of it since fear of public speaking is very common. Or they may just be shy or introverted. For those reasons, many people avoid speaking in public if they can. If you’re one of those people who avoid speaking in public, you’re missing out.

You may be wondering, “What is public communication and how can it benefit me?” Over the years, public speaking in communication has played a major role in education, government, and business. Words have the power to inform, persuade, educate, and even entertain. And the spoken word can be even more powerful than the written word in the hands of the right speaker.

Whether you’re a small business owner or a student, you’ll benefit from improving your public speaking skills. Some benefits of speaking in public include:

  • improves confidence
  • better research skills
  • stronger deductive skills
  • ability to advocate for causes

Speaking in public is especially important for businesses to market their offers. This allows them to get their message in front of potential customers. Salespeople and executives are often expected to have good public speaking skills. To learn more about some of the benefits of speaking in public, review this article .

Next, let’s explore the methods you can use to become better at speaking in public.

How to Become Better at Public Speaking (5 Quick Tips)

Okay, so now you understand the benefits of public speaking. You might be a little more interested in the topic. Still, you might think it’s not for you. Maybe you gave a speech once and it didn’t go well. Maybe you’re afraid of speaking in public. Or maybe you think you don’t have a natural ability for giving speeches.

The truth is that speaking in public is a skill. And you can learn any skill. While some people may have more natural speaking ability than others, anyone can learn to be a better public speaker. It just takes some know-how and some effort.

To help you become better at giving public speeches, we’ll take a look at these five areas:

  • writing the speech
  • overcoming a fear of speaking
  • practicing the speech
  • preparing your presentation slide designs
  • giving the speech

We’ll start with writing the speech.

1. Write an Effective Speech

The first thing you’ll want to do is work on writing a well-organized, engaging speech. Even a great speaking voice or a great deal of charisma isn’t enough if your material isn’t any good.

Specifically, it’s crucial to research your audience beforehand so that you can target your speech directly to them as much as possible. Become familiar with their wants and needs, as well as any problems you can solve for them. This will drive the actual topic that you actually select for your speech, as well as how you research it.

The more research you do, the easier writing your speech will be.

2. Overcome the Fear of Speaking

Fear of public speaking is very real and can hold you back if you let it. If you don’t feel confident when giving your speech, your listeners may pick up on that. This can make your presentation less effective.

Fortunately, there are some techniques to help manage the fear of speaking in public. They also help you become more confident.

First, let’s tackle fear of public speaking. If you’ve already written an effective speech, then you’ve already taken an important first step. The more familiar you are with your speech, the less worried you’ll be on presentation day.

Besides knowing your topic well, be sure to practice, practice, practice! And remember that if you do make any mistakes on presentation day, it’ll be less obvious to your audience than you think.

Next, let’s work on improving your confidence.

3. Practice the Speech

Even if you’re not afraid of speaking in public, practice helps you give a more effective speech. If you’re in a rush, you may be tempted to skip practicing your speech to save time. While skipping practice may seem like a good idea, it’s really not.

Practicing your speech improves your public presentation skills. It also increases your familiarity with the presentation. As a result, your speech will go smoothly. You can go over this handy checklist to help you practice your speech.

4. Prepare Your Presentation Slide Designs

Your slide design needs to be on point. You’ll want to make sure it looks professional and is easy to read. Luckily, you can find plenty of modern and professional presentation templates on Envato Elements.

You’ll also want to download The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations eBook now. Download it for FREE with a subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter. Learn how to get your ideas formed into a powerful presentation that’ll move your audience.

Don’t forget to make good use of tools like PowerPoint , Google Slides , or Keynote . The right template for your slide deck can make a huge difference in your presentation.

5. Give the Speech

You’ve written a good speech. You feel more confident about giving a speech in public, and you’ve practiced. You’re ready to actually give the speech. There are some tips and tricks you can use on the day of your speech to make it go more smoothly, though.

Remember, you’re giving a presentation before a live audience at a specific place and time. So, you’ve got some concerns about the speaking venue that those who give online presentations don’t have to worry about.

Some common concerns for public speakers include:

  • Will the audience be able to hear me?
  • Does the venue have the equipment I need?
  • Are there enough seats for all my listeners?

Public Speaking Examples

Public speaking examples are great for learning or improving a new skill. That applies to speaking in public as well. If you get the chance to listen to some top-rated public speakers, you should do it. You can observe how other speakers go about giving their speech. In the process, you’ll improve your own speaking skills.

One great source of recorded public speeches is Ted Talks , which is a series of short presentations on a wide variety of topics. Ted Talks are known for attracting world-class and celebrity speakers. You can find my favorite Ted Talks in this article .

The Best Source for Simple PowerPoint Templates (With Unlimited Use)

Envato Elements is the perfect place to find modern PowerPoint templates . For a single monthly fee, access unlimited downloads of PowerPoint themes, photos, fonts, and other resources to use in your next presentation.

Elements gives you the best bang for your buck. And thanks to the unlimited downloads, you can try out a variety of slide designs as you build out your public speaking PowerPoint presentation.

envato templates

PowerPoint templates from Envato Elements have plenty of features to help you create a stunning presentation, such as:

  • bold text and title slides to capture audience attention
  • rich image placeholders to show off photos and videos
  • many infographic elements and charts to visualize data
  • plenty of customization options to make the template your own

Thanks to these templates, you’ll be able to create a modern, standout presentation to go with your public speech.

5 Modern PowerPoint Templates From Envato Elements

1. minimalism clean powerpoint presentation.

Minimalism Clean Powerpoint

Try this template if you’re looking for a clean and simple PowerPoint slide design. The template features a versatile layout. Use it for any type of presentation or topic. It includes 50+ unique slide designs, tons of customization options, and vector elements. The template was designed in widescreen format.

2. Kaspa PowerPoint Presentation

Kaspa Powerpoint Presentation

The Kaspa PowerPoint template has a modern and trendy design. It’s best suited for presentations that need a lot of photos to share information. The template can be customized completely. It comes with slide animations and transitions. The template also includes vector icons.

3. Guava PowerPoint

Guava Powerpoint

The Guava PowerPoint has a dramatic, yet elegant design. You’ll notice dark image overlays and elegant typography that makes your message stand out. The template comes with 50+ unique designs, image placeholders, and master slides. It was designed in widescreen resolution.

4. Dauna Minimalist PowerPoint

Dauna - Minimalist PowerPoint Presentation

The Dauna template is another minimalist PowerPoint design. It works well for any type of business presentation. You’ll find 30 unique slides and two color variations. The template comes with image placeholders and plenty of customization options.

5. Pastelize Colorful Business PowerPoint Presentation

Pastelize - Business Powerpoint Template

If you’re looking for a colorful and bold PowerPoint, the Pastelize template is the perfect choice. The template includes many slide designs, three color variations and color themes, and image placeholders.

Make Great Presentations ( Free PDF eBook Download )

We also have the perfect complement to this tutorial, which will walk you through the complete presentation process. Learn how to write your presentation, design it like a pro, and prepare it to present powerfully.

making great business presentations

Download our new eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations . It’s available for free with a subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter.

What Is Public Speaking? Now You Know! Time to Get Work on Your Next Speech

So what is public communication in terms of what it can do for you, your career, or your business?

In a nutshell, a world of potential! In this article, we defined public speaking and why it’s so important in your business. Hopefully, the public speaking meaning we explored will help dispel any fear you may have.

We discussed a thorough public communication definition so that you can be adequately prepared for your next speech. Besides the public speaking definition, you learned a bit about the history of public speaking and how it evolved to modern standards today.

We also shared some helpful tools to help you learn how to give a public speech and provided you with a source for good public speaking examples that you can learn from.

You should now be ready to grow as a public speaker. Be sure to check out the sleek PowerPoint templates on Envato Elements as you prepare for your next speech. You’ll find a ton of inspiration for your next presentation!

So go ahead. Write that public speech and give it. You’ll be glad you did!

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What Makes a Public Speaker Effective?

what makes a good public speech

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What Makes a Public Speaker Effective

As public speakers, we all want to be as effective as we can be. That’s what allows us to deliver memorable presentations that add tangible value to our audience members.

The problem is that becoming an effective public speaker is easier said than done. Even with the tips that we’re about to share with you, there aren’t any shortcuts. You’ll need to spend a lot of time practicing your public speaking and testing out different approaches to figure out what works best for you.

So let’s dive in and take a look at what makes a public speaker effective.

A simple message

conveying a simple message

Perhaps the single best thing that you can do to be an effective public speaker is to make sure that you’re conveying a simple message. The more you try to cram into your public talks, the more people will struggle to know what to take away with them. You should be able to break your aims down into a single sentence – otherwise, they’re too diffuse.

The rule of three

The Rule of Three

We’ve talked extensively about the rule of three in previous blog posts , and with good reason. It’s one of the most powerful tools that people have at their disposal to get their message across. The idea is that three is the smallest number of items that you can have in a series. Two isn’t enough to make a pattern, and four can be simplified to three. That’s why we remember famous examples like “Veni, Vidi, Vici” and “a government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Directly addressing the audience

Directly addressing the audience

In writing circles, it’s generally a bad idea to directly address the reader, especially in fiction. That’s because it can take them out of the story and remind them that they’re consuming something. With public speaking however, this isn’t an issue. It’s a good idea to tap into storytelling techniques, and directly addressing the audience can help to bring them on-side and establish a sense that there’s a two-way dialogue and that you’re all in it together.

Decent visual aids

Decent visual aids

Even the best public speakers rely on visual aids. True, that doesn’t have to mean (yet another) PowerPoint presentation, but decent visuals will do a great job of providing people with something that they can remember once the show is over. 

Plenty of self-confidence

Plenty of self-confidence

It should go without saying that self-confidence is a must if you want to deliver an effective public presentation. If you don’t have self-confidence, it’ll come across in the way that you hold yourself and the way that you speak to people. People expect you to be an expert on your subject, and if you come across as having no confidence in yourself, they’re going to have no confidence in your expertise.


Passion is like self-confidence in that it also comes across in the way that people speak. It’s also not something that you can fake, whereas there are a few tricks for self-confidence that can help you to “fake it until you make it”. When it comes to passion, the only way to get this right is to go out of your way to ensure that you’re delivering talks on something that you’re passionate about.

A solid summary

A solid summary

Towards the end of your talk, you’re going to want to spend a couple of minutes recapping what you’ve talked about and summarizing the main concepts that you want people to take away with them. As with the first point, you’ll want to avoid over-complicating this, and you can also combine this with the second point to leave them with three core ideas that you want them to remember.

Q&As at the end

Q&As at the end

It’s rare for even the best public speakers to deliver a keynote that’s so clear and concise that people are left without any questions. That’s why question and answer sessions are so commonly a part of public speaking engagements. Be sure to schedule time for them, and cover yourself by jotting down a list of commonly asked questions so that if nobody in the audience has anything to ask, you’ve still got something to talk about in those final minutes.

Mingle with the audience

Mingle with the audience

After your session is over, try to stick around for a while to mingle with the audience and chat to anyone who wants to speak with you. Not only is this great for networking, but it’ll help you to answer any final questions that you didn’t get to or to provide some support to people who were too shy to raise their hands.

Plenty of practice

Plenty of practice

This final point is another one of those that can’t be faked. Simply put, practice really does make perfect, and so the more you practice public speaking, the better you’ll become. This is true both for public speaking as a whole and for individual talks and presentations. Don’t become one of those speakers who thinks they’re so good at what they do that they no longer need to practice. When leading cellist Pablo Casals was asked why he continued to practice for five hours a day at the age of 83, he is said to have replied, “Because I think I’m making progress.”

Now that you know a few of the things that can make a public speaker effective, it’s over to you so that you can put what you’ve learned today into practice.

Remember that, as with most things, practice makes perfect, and so the more you’re able to take on public speaking assignments, the better you’ll become at delivering effective and memorable public speeches.

Now that you’ve heard from us, we want to hear from you. What are some of the techniques that you’ve used to become more effective? Be sure to let us know in the comments so that we can keep the discussion going.

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what makes a good public speech

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  • Dec 15, 2020

What Makes a Good Public Speaker?

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

by Stephanie Bickel

what makes a good public speaker

We have showcased great speakers over the last several months and we will continue to share our thoughts going forward. We do this because studying great speakers and leaders will make you great, too. When you have a person in mind or a picture of what success looks like, you will accelerate your own growth. So…what makes a good public speaker earn that title?

Effective public speaking comes in many different shapes and forms. It begins with each person’s authentic self. It cannot start from anywhere else. That is your personal brand. It is what makes you believable and builds trust. Speaking skills that blossom from a true, authentic self will help you connect and build lasting relationships. It is what makes you stand out and become a trusted advisor to others.

As we have studied great speakers over the years, there have been several qualities that emerge in the very best. These top 6 attributes are what makes a good public speaker and leader in our eyes.

1. Provide high value per minute

The famous saying, “It not the quantity, but the quality”, could not be more true as it is applied to speaking skills. Great speakers do not use waster words and only use words that add value to their message. The speak at a slower pace and pause to eliminate non-words, or filler words, like “um” and “so”. They are also mindful of to reduce redundancies.

2. Simplify complex solutions and complex questions

Great speakers and leaders know how to be clear and concise. They start with one main idea to answer the question asked or address the problem that needs to be solved. This is followed by 2 to 3 key points to support their recommendation. Someone who is organized in their thinking and presents in this way, is easy to understand and easy to remember.

speaking skills

3. Feel confident and comfortable in their own skin

It’s one thing to speak from your true authentic self, it’s another to be comfortable doing so. You can tell when someone is confident by how they look and how they sound. You can tell when someone has no self-doubt because they are physically poised and their voice doesn’t waver. They stand up tall. They don’t fidget. They look you directly in the eye. They project their voice. These qualities don’t change even as situations change.

4. Speak even when there is uncertainty and challenge

People are drawn to leaders that have the courage to speak and make decisions when no one else does. When they communicate, great speakers are open, transparent and timely. They show compassion and empathize with those affected by the circumstances. Trust begins to build between the speaker and the audience and this grows into a trusted advisor relationship.

effective public speaking

5. Move markets with their ideas

Having an idea is one thing. Being able communicate it effectively is another. Great speakers and leaders are able to speak to current conditions, its impact on the business or industry, the opportunity ahead, and the recommended action needed. They generate more profit and move markets by practicing and strengthening these important speaking skills.

6. Are clearly in their groove

A speaker in their “groove” is like an athlete in their “zone”. They can do no wrong because they have 4 main beliefs. They believe they are an expert, they care about their audience, they communicate with a sense of urgency, and they believe they are speaking about important issues. You can see it on their face and you can hear it in their voice. They are happy and confident. They love their teams and customers.

Effective public speaking skills are what makes a good public speaker so inspirational and memorable. These qualities are constantly on display in all aspects of our communication - how we look, how we sound, and how we put our thoughts together.

Who do admire for their speaking skills? What about them inspires you?

Watch them in action. Emulate and practice the qualities that you want to see in yourself. Stay focused on this goal and you will soon become the great speaker that you once aspired to be.

Get started now. Check out our YouTube library of the best public speakers in interviews and presentations.

what makes a good public speaker


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Effective Delivery of Informative Speeches

Naseer Alomari

  • July 8, 2024 July 8, 2024

Delivering an informative speech effectively is an essential skill for any speaker. The ability to convey information clearly and engagingly can significantly impact the audience’s understanding and retention of the presented material. This chapter explores the key components of structuring an informative speech, engaging the audience, establishing credibility, and employing effective delivery techniques, all while maintaining objectivity.

Structuring the Speech


The introduction of an informative speech is crucial as it sets the tone and prepares the audience for the content to follow. A strong opening grabs the audience’s attention and establishes the speaker’s credibility. Key elements of an effective introduction include:

  • Attention Getters : Start with a compelling hook, such as a surprising fact, a rhetorical question, a relevant anecdote, or a powerful quotation. The goal is to pique the audience’s interest and motivate them to listen attentively​.
  • Thesis Statement : Clearly state the main idea or purpose of the speech. This helps the audience understand what to expect and provides a focal point for the entire presentation​​.
  • Preview of Main Points : Briefly outline the main points covered in the speech. This roadmap will guide the audience and help them follow the logical progression of ideas.

The body of an informative speech should be well-organized and logically structured to enhance clarity and retention. Common organizational patterns include:

  • Chronological Order : Presenting information in the order it occurred. This is particularly effective for historical topics or processes that unfold over time​.
  • Spatial Order : Organizing content based on the physical or geographical arrangement of the subject. This method is useful for topics that involve different locations or parts of an object​.
  • Topical Order : Dividing the subject into subtopics, each addressing a different aspect of the main topic. This flexible structure can be adapted to a wide range of subjects​.

The conclusion of an informative speech should summarize the key points and reinforce the speech’s purpose. It is the final opportunity to ensure the audience retains the information presented. Key elements of an effective conclusion include:

  • Summary of Main Points : Recap the main points covered in the speech to reinforce the audience’s understanding​​.
  • Reinforcement of Purpose : Restate the purpose of the speech to remind the audience why the information is important​​.
  • Closing Remarks : End with a memorable closing statement, such as a call to action, a thought-provoking question, or a poignant quotation.

Audience Engagement

Avoiding information overload.

One of the primary challenges in delivering an informative speech is presenting information in a manageable and comprehensible way for the audience. To avoid overwhelming the audience:

  • Focus on Critical Points : Identify and emphasize the most important information. Avoid including every detail, as this can lead to information overload​.
  • Use Clear and Simple Language : Simplify complex concepts by avoiding jargon and using straightforward language. This makes the information more accessible and easy to understand​​.

Using Clear and Simple Language

Clear and simple language is essential for effective communication. To ensure the speech is accessible:

  • Avoid Jargon : Use terminology that is familiar to the audience. If specialized terms are necessary, provide clear definitions​​.
  • Simplify Vocabulary : Choose words that are easy to understand and pronounce. This reduces the risk of miscommunication and keeps the audience engaged​​.

Credibility and Sources

Citing sources.

Properly attributing information to credible sources enhances the reliability of the speech and avoids plagiarism. To effectively cite sources:

  • Reference Authoritative Sources : Use reputable and authoritative sources to support your information. This includes academic journals, books, and credible websites​.
  • Provide Clear Citations : Cite sources within the speech, including the author’s name, publication date, and the context of the information. This gives credit and strengthens the speaker’s credibility​.

Building Credibility

Establishing credibility involves demonstrating expertise and trustworthiness. To build credibility:

  • Thorough Research : Conduct comprehensive research to gather accurate and reliable information. Presenting well-researched facts enhances the speaker’s authority​.
  • Objective Presentation : Maintain an objective tone and avoid biased language. Presenting information impartially helps to establish trust with the audience​​.

Effective Delivery Techniques

Non-verbal communication.

Non-verbal cues play a significant role in reinforcing the spoken message and engaging the audience. Key aspects of non-verbal communication include:

  • Body Language : Use gestures, facial expressions, and posture to emphasize points and convey confidence​.
  • Eye Contact : Maintain eye contact with the audience to create a connection and demonstrate sincerity​​.

Vocal Variety

Vocal variety involves pitch, tone, and pace changes to keep the audience interested and emphasize key points. Effective use of vocal variety includes:

  • Pitch and Tone : Vary the pitch and tone of your voice to convey different emotions and highlight important information​​.
  • Pace : Adjust the pace of your speech to maintain interest and ensure clarity. Slow down for important points and speed up for less critical information​.

Avoiding Persuasion

Maintaining objectivity.

Maintaining objectivity in an informative speech is essential to ensure the information is perceived as factual and unbiased. To avoid persuasion:

  • Focus on Facts : Present information objectively, without advocating for a particular viewpoint. This helps build audience trust and credibility​​.
  • Avoid Emotional Appeals : Avoid emotional language or persuasive techniques that could undermine the informative nature of the speech​.

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How to Make a “Good” Presentation “Great”

  • Guy Kawasaki

what makes a good public speech

Remember: Less is more.

A strong presentation is so much more than information pasted onto a series of slides with fancy backgrounds. Whether you’re pitching an idea, reporting market research, or sharing something else, a great presentation can give you a competitive advantage, and be a powerful tool when aiming to persuade, educate, or inspire others. Here are some unique elements that make a presentation stand out.

  • Fonts: Sans Serif fonts such as Helvetica or Arial are preferred for their clean lines, which make them easy to digest at various sizes and distances. Limit the number of font styles to two: one for headings and another for body text, to avoid visual confusion or distractions.
  • Colors: Colors can evoke emotions and highlight critical points, but their overuse can lead to a cluttered and confusing presentation. A limited palette of two to three main colors, complemented by a simple background, can help you draw attention to key elements without overwhelming the audience.
  • Pictures: Pictures can communicate complex ideas quickly and memorably but choosing the right images is key. Images or pictures should be big (perhaps 20-25% of the page), bold, and have a clear purpose that complements the slide’s text.
  • Layout: Don’t overcrowd your slides with too much information. When in doubt, adhere to the principle of simplicity, and aim for a clean and uncluttered layout with plenty of white space around text and images. Think phrases and bullets, not sentences.

As an intern or early career professional, chances are that you’ll be tasked with making or giving a presentation in the near future. Whether you’re pitching an idea, reporting market research, or sharing something else, a great presentation can give you a competitive advantage, and be a powerful tool when aiming to persuade, educate, or inspire others.

what makes a good public speech

  • Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist at Canva and was the former chief evangelist at Apple. Guy is the author of 16 books including Think Remarkable : 9 Paths to Transform Your Life and Make a Difference.

Partner Center

what makes a good public speech

No, Biden Did Not Mistakenly Read 'End of Quote' During Speech About Supreme Court Ruling

Online users criticized u.s. president joe biden in july 2024 after he properly advised viewers he had finished reading a quote., jordan liles, published july 2, 2024.


About this rating

On July 1, 2024, numerous online users  criticized U.S. President Joe Biden for reading aloud the words "end of quote" from a teleprompter during a White House speech he delivered the same day. Some other users' posts only vaguely implied Biden made the purported mistake.

For example, the X account for TheLeadingReport.com (@LeadingReport) posted ( archived ), "BREAKING: Joe Biden reads 'end of quote' during his speech."

what makes a good public speech

Outkick.com founder Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) claimed ( archived ) on X, "After four days of debate criticism, Joe Biden Ron Burgundy'd it and reads 'end of quote' from the teleprompter during a four minute speech after which he took no questions."

what makes a good public speech

A user named @DonaldTNews also posted ( archived ), "BREAKING: King Biden just read 'end of quote' on the teleprompter once again. What's your reaction?"

what makes a good public speech

The truth was Biden did not "Ron Burgundy" his remarks (a reference to  scenes from the 2004 film "Anchorman"), as the X post claimed.

Biden correctly read the words "end of quote," notifying viewers and listeners he had finished reading an excerpt from a dissenting opinion written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The remark occurred during Biden's July 1 speech addressing the court's ruling earlier that day that presidents have broad immunity from criminal prosecution.

We contacted the White House by email to ask whether they had a statement to share regarding this misinformation promoted about the president. We will update this story if we receive a response.

Here's What Biden Said Prior to 'End of Quote'

A video of Biden's speech revealed the truth of the matter. Here's what he said:

I know I will respect the limits of the presidential power, as I have for three and a half years. But any president, including Donald Trump, will now be free to ignore the law. I concur with Justice Sotomayor's dissent today. She… here's what she said. She said, "In every use of official power, the president is now a king above the law. With fear for our democracy, I dissent." End of quote. So should the American people dissent. I dissent. May God bless you all. And may God help preserve our democracy. Thank you. And may God protect our troops.

Misinformers Repeatedly Seize on Biden's Public Appearances

Throughout Biden's presidency, online users promoted misinformation regarding his public appearances, no matter the function's seriousness, theme or list of attendees.

For example, during Biden's first year in office, users shared an altered picture claiming Biden's teleprompter displayed the words "leave now" to help alert him when he should exit the room.

In 2022, users falsely claimed  Biden read "end of quote" aloud during a speech when he wasn't supposed to. The following year, users  shared a misleading video featuring altered audio from an event at which he simply attempted to share an early Thanksgiving meal with U.S. soldiers and their families. Users also posted  false information and at least one fake video regarding his visit to the site of the 2023 Maui wildfires.

In the months leading up to the 2024 presidential election, users claimed , without evidence, that videos of Biden purportedly "freezing" and "malfunctioning" at public events indicated some undisclosed medical issue. In another widely shared false rumor, users claimed Biden attempted to sit in an "invisible chair" while honoring past military members in Normandy, France, during a ceremony on the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Evon, Dan. "Did Biden Have a 'Ron Burgundy' Moment?" Snopes , 24 Nov. 2021, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/biden-ron-burgundy/.

Liles, Jordan. "Biden's Teleprompter Did Not Say 'Leave Now' at End of Afghanistan Speech." Snopes , 17 Aug. 2021, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/biden-teleprompter-leave-now/.

---. "Did a Military Chaplain Pray with Biden for Trump to Come Back to the White House?" Snopes , 5 Dec. 2023, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/chaplain-praying-biden-trump/.

---. "The Facts About Biden's Purported 'Freeze Up' at Fundraiser and Obama Walking with Him Off Stage." Snopes , 19 June 2024, https://www.snopes.com//news/2024/06/19/biden-freeze-up-obama/.

---. "The Facts About GOP Videos Showing Biden 'Malfunctioning' During June 2024 Speech." Snopes , 20 June 2024, https://www.snopes.com//news/2024/06/19/biden-malfunctioning-june-2024/.

"President Biden Delivers Remarks on the Supreme Court's Immunity Ruling." YouTube , The White House, 1 July 2024, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL1GXCOfWI8.

"Remarks by President Biden on the Supreme Court's Immunity Ruling."  The White House , 2 July 2024, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2024/07/01/remarks-by-president-biden-on-the-supreme-courts-immunity-ruling/.

Richer, Alanna Durkin, et al. "What to Know about the Supreme Court Immunity Ruling in Trump's 2020 Election Interference Case." The Associated Press , 1 July 2024, https://apnews.com/article/trump-immunity-supreme-court-capitol-riot-trial-72ec35de776315183e1db561257cb108.

Sherman, Mark. "Supreme Court Rules Ex-Presidents Have Broad Immunity, Dimming Chance of a Pre-Election Trump Trial." The Associated Press , 1 July 2024, https://apnews.com/article/supreme-court-trump-capitol-riot-immunity-2dc0d1c2368d404adc0054151490f542.

By Jordan Liles

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.

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Corruption Law Allows Gifts to State and Local Officials, Supreme Court Rules

The court, which has limited the sweep of several anti-corruption laws, distinguished after-the-fact rewards from before-the-fact bribes.

  • Share full article

The Supreme Court building in Washington with several birds flying above it.

By Abbie VanSickle and Adam Liptak

Reporting from Washington

The Supreme Court limited the sweep of a federal law on Wednesday aimed at public corruption, ruling that it did not apply to gifts and payments meant to reward actions taken by state and local officials.

The 6-to-3 ruling , which split along ideological lines, was the latest in a series of decisions cutting back federal anti-corruption laws.

Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, writing for a conservative majority, said that the question in the case was whether federal law makes it a crime for state and local officials to accept such gratuities after the fact. He wrote, “The answer is no.”

Federal prosecutors’ interpretation of the law created traps for public officials, leaving them to guess what gifts were allowed, he added. If they guessed wrong, the opinion continued, the officials could face up to a decade in prison.

The decision reflected a sharp divide on the court, with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, dissenting. While the conservative wing asserted that the ruling gave discretion to state and local governments and protected officials from having to guess whether their behavior had crossed a criminal line, the liberals said the decision represented more chipping away of a statute aimed at protecting against graft.

“Officials who use their public positions for private gain threaten the integrity of our most important institutions,” Justice Jackson wrote. “Greed makes governments — at every level — less responsive, less efficient and less trustworthy from the perspective of the communities they serve.”

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