Occasionally, young speakers ask me for advice on public speaking.

I love it when they do, not because I’m flattered to be asked (although perhaps I am), but because the art of public speaking is a noble one and if I can contribute positively to anyone who has the courage to stand in front of a group of people, then I’m happy to help.

The following is a random list of suggestions that I’ve given over the years.  I hope that they’re helpful and relevant for people of all ages:

  1. Take advantage of every opportunity to speak
  2. Read
  3. Read more
  4. Spend 99% of your preparation time on the content of your message and 1% on the fancy PowerPoint slides
  5. Learn to speak without reading your notes
  6. Learn to speak without any notes at all
  7. Tell stories
  8. Be yourself
  9. Watch TED talks regularly to learn from the best
  10. Never say anything from a stage that you haven’t rehearsed in private
  11. Learn how to use your voice, hands and body to assist you in delivering your message congruently
  12. Treat every audience with respect, whether there are 10 or 1000 people
  13. Don’t be afraid to leave great stories, jokes or anecdotes on the cutting room floor if they don’t fit your subject. You can always use them another time.
  14. Leave them wanting more
  15. Don’t forget to breathe

Do you have any other public speaking tips that you would like to share?

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