25 PUBLIC SPEAKING SKILLS EVERY SPEAKER SHOULD HAVE! 25 Public Speaking Skills Every
Speaker Must Have
Growth Consultant and Public Speaker.
I pondered a
list of the 25 essential skills every public speaker should
have . How did I do?
Every public speaker should be able to:
1. Research a topic – Good speakers stick to what
they know. Great speakers research what they
need to convey their message.
2. Focus – Help your audience grasp your message
by focusing on your message. Stories, humour,
or other “sidebars” should connect to the core
idea. Anything that doesn’t needs to be edited
3. Organize ideas logically – A well-organized
presentation can be absorbed with minimal
mental strain. Bridging is key.
4. Employ quotations, facts, and statistics – Don’t
include these for the sake of including them, but
do use them appropriately to complement your
5. Master metaphors – Metaphors enhance the
understandability of the message in a way that
direct language often can not.
6. Tell a story – Everyone loves a story. Points
wrapped up in a story are more memorable, too!
7. Start strong and close stronger – The body of
your presentation should be strong too, but your
audience will remember your first and last words
(if, indeed, they remember anything at all).
8. Incorporate humour – Knowing when to use
humour is essential. So is developing the
comedic timing to deliver it with greatest effect.
9. Vary vocal pace, tone, and volume – A
monotone voice is like fingernails on the
10. Punctuate words with gestures – Gestures
should complement your words in harmony. Tell
them how big the fish was, and show them with
11. Utilize 3-dimensional space – Chaining yourself
to the lectern limits the energy and passion you
can exhibit. Lose the notes, and lose the chain.
12. Complement words with visual aids – Visual
aids should aid the message; they should not be
the message. Read slide:ology or the
Presentation Zen book and adopt the techniques.
13. Analyze your audience – Deliver the message
they want (or need) to hear.
14. Connect with the audience – Eye contact is only
the first step. Aim to have the audience conclude
“This speaker is just like me!” The sooner, the
15. Interact with the audience – Ask questions (and
care about the answers). Solicit volunteers. Make
your presentation a dialogue.
16. Conduct a Q&A session – Not every speaking
opportunity affords a Q&A session, but
understand how to lead one productively. Use
the Q&A to solidify the impression that you are
an expert, not (just) a speaker.
17. Lead a discussion – Again, not every speaking
opportunity affords time for a discussion, but
know how to engage the audience productively.
18. Obey time constraints – Maybe you have 2
minutes. Maybe you have 45. Either way,
customize your presentation to fit the time
allowed, and respect your audience by not going
19. Craft an introduction – Set the context and
make sure the audience is ready to go, whether
the introduction is for you or for someone else.
20. Exhibit confidence and poise – These qualities
are sometimes difficult for a speaker to attain,
but easy for an audience to sense.
21. Handle unexpected issues smoothly – Maybe the
lights will go out. Maybe the projector is dead.
Have a plan to handle every situation.
22. Be coherent when speaking off the cuff –
Impromptu speaking (before, after, or during a
presentation) leaves a lasting impression too.
Doing it well tells the audience that you are
personable, and that you are an expert who
knows their stuff beyond the slides and prepared
23. Seek and utilize feedback – Understand that no
presentation or presenter (yes, even you!) is
perfect. Aim for continuous improvement, and
understand that the best way to improve is to
solicit candid feedback from as many people as
24. Listen critically and analyze other speakers –
Study the strengths and weakness of other
25. Act and speak ethically – Since public speaking
fears are so common, realize the tremendous
power of influence that you hold. Use this power