3 Tips for Public Speaking

Boring-PPT3-300x225IN SPITE OF ANY FEARS you may have about public speaking, any opportunity to educate your community about your cause is good, right?

It depends. Do you know what you want to say? Do you know what you want their response to be?

There are steps you can take to make sure you are well prepared to deliver an engaging presentation.


Preparation is key and taking the time to get it right is critical.

How much time have you been allotted and who is your audience? Think about the commonalities between your organization and your audience. Can you connect the dots between their values and yours?

Summarize what you want to say in one sentence. The key here is to make this a stand-alone statement. If you could only say one sentence to get your point across, what would it be?

Develop three key points under this statement. For example, you may want to 1. address the current situation, 2. identify the programs or products currently addressing the situation, and 3. explain why it makes sense for your audience to become involved. Develop supporting information under each point.

Write out your presentation in a conversational style.  This is a creative process and will likely go through several revisions. Weave your points into a story. Read it out loud. Does it flow with ease from one point to another?

Time it.  If it’s too long, what parts can be removed while still maintaining the integrity of your points? If it’s too short, which points can you elaborate on? Can you make your presentation interactive by including your audience in some way?


  • If you are using slides, consider photos/videos and only a few words, if any.
  • Do several dry runs.
  • Get feedback from someone you trust.


  • Show up early. Test your equipment. Make last-minute adjustments.
  • Smile. You’re prepared.
  • Be sure to thank your host for inviting you. Mention any previous involvements of your audience.
  • Summarize your presentation at the beginning and again at the end.
  • Don’t run out when you’re done. Make conversation. Answer questions.

People connect to people. Public speaking is a wonderful way to connect with your community. They get a first-hand opportunity to see your passion and hear your story. You get a face-to-face opportunity to inspire them to take action.


Do you have any public speaking tips to share?

The purpose of The Other Bottom Line is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.



  1. bulldog

    yes I have a few tips… if you are nervous go into the bathroom close the door and say your presentation out loud… hearing your own voice often reduces the nerves and one gets to hear what you’re going to sound like… be passionate about your subject, get excited about it, this goes over to your audience… try too look at everyone, much advise is given about sellecting 3 member in the audience and keep turning your head towards them, I say that is wrong, address everyone and let your eyes roam the room… I have done too many addresses as presentations and in public speaking as Chairman of an association and I have been called on within meetings to come to the front and address the room on a subject, this is normally something I’m passionate about and I find I can grab the audience from the start with just one line and then elaborate on that line… if you’re passionate about your subject it is easy and if anything I tend to over elaborate, yet find I can read an audience and see when I’m loosing one or two, that is when it is time to bring in the back up point of interest… bang it down and don’t talk in a monotone, wake the crowd up once more… I love to give addresses and speeches… does that make me an egotist? I don’t think so, I just love to be passionate about my subject…

    • theotherbottomline

      It’s great when you can be passionate and confidant about public speaking, isn’t it? The good news is, the more you do it, the better it gets. Practice builds confidence and when we’re open to feedback, we can tweak our style and content with each presentation!

  2. Ian Munro @ leadingessentially.com

    Two thoughts that I always think of when I’m ready to speak. First is … I don’t need to know everything. Just more than the audience (which is almost always true or you wouldn’t be asked to speak!). Second is … I can’t be my best if I’m not being myself!

    Thanks for the post Diana!

  3. Jean

    If you are a paid consultant and have a limited time, consider asking your paying client if it’s ok to ask, audience members to turn off / take their conversations outside on cellphone.

    If possible, before your presentation (if involves audience feedback), do a 1 question online poll sent by email. Open presentation early with summary result… allows one to segue to topic? Just an idea.

    Know your topic well enough to know how to tell 2-3 (3-5 sentence) examples/stories that are on-point. Or invite audience to guess on your super short example/story the ending…before you give story’s real end result 30 seconds later.

  4. Wyrd Smythe

    Bulldog has good tips, and I concur about looking at everyone. It’s common to get nerves, even experienced speakers do. One trick that’s been helpful for me is not trying to deny the nerves or suppress them, but to use the energy — redirect it into your presentation. What grabs an audience is the speaker’s passion!

  5. Cranston Holden

    For me the most important thing is to truly have something of VALUE to say. When I am only using FILLER material I can sense the connection diminishing. This is such a great topic that has the potential to be expanded into so many more interesting and useful post. Thanks for your wise words and bringing this up


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