Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Education & Schools
  3. Public Schools

Tips for becoming a good public speaker

See also

Whether one stands in front of ten people or ten thousand people (or any number in between) to give a speech, the first few seconds are not only awkward but can also be a bit scary.

More Photos

Most people who state they do not feel at least a few butterflies fluttering around in their tummy just before or right as they approach the podium are likely lying, no matter how many speeches/talks they have given. And, as a rule, the smaller the audience, the worst the nerves!

Part of the issue for speakers is deciding how best to grab the audience’s attention right from the beginning. How do you make what you are going to say seem more interesting/important than what the people in the audience were already saying or thinking about?

Sims Wyeth recently wrote an article on ways not only to get an audience’s attention but also how to sustain it. Below you will find ten tips on how to do both.

Begin with the unexpected – Starting a speech with a “bang” is essential. The speaker’s first words must ignite the imagination of the audience, thus introductory comments are important.

Make it about the audience – To capture their attention, remind the audience about emotions they may have felt which can be related to your topic. If possible, select a topic relevant to your audience.

Keep it solid at the beginning – Use language that appeals to the senses. Use storytelling as opposed to abstract reasoning or academic reasoning to help the audience absorb information.

Keep it moving – No, this does not mean for you to talk fast. It means to ensure your next piece of information builds on the piece before. Keeping the subject matter flowing helps both audience understanding and curiosity.

Get to the point – Audiences don’t want to wait a long time to figure out the point(s) of your message. Even if there is only one point to be made, make it early, emphatically and often.

Arouse emotion – Display your natural sense of humor, but do not force humor. You can also make a connection with the audience by confessing something personal.

Keep it interactive – Having a good give-and-take between a speaker and an audience sustains interest and encourages engagement. It also tends to promote good audience questions.

Write clear slide headlines – PowerPoint slides, if used, need headlines that express a point of view. Audiences will check out the body of the slide for points supporting a concise headline.

Keep it short – Be sure to stop talking before your audience stops listening.

Let there be you – Presenters will be more interesting and their effectiveness will be enhanced if they work tirelessly and energetically to keep their audiences’ attention. Audiences interpret everything speakers do: facial expressions, inner rhythm, posture, body language, etc.



  • Tom Petty
    Seven overlooked videos that prove the genius of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
    Today's Buzz
  • Gaylord Pickens
    Discover Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum dollar days
    6 Photos
  • Yoga poses
    Learn how to strengthen your core muscles with these yoga poses
    5 Photos
  • Baby boomer STD rates
    Sexually transmitted diseases: Baby boomers booming STD rates
    7 Photos
  • Open relationships
    Are you thinking about exercising your option to be in an open relationship?
    5 Photos
  • Medical symptoms
    See which symptoms should cause you to seek a doctor’s attention right away
    6 Photos

Related Videos:

  • Crazy hormones
    <div class="video-info" data-id="451304825" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • Georgia Student Growth Model: new educational tool for the 2014-2015 school year
    <iframe width="600" height="337" src="//;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Enjoying her e-books
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518327337" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>