9 ways to become a better public speaker

Published: By

9 ways to become article

What to read

Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds – Carmine Gallo. What makes a great TED talk? And how do you deliver one? This is a definitive guide to the speaking techniques and practices of the speakers that light up the stage at TED.

You are the Message: Getting what you want by being who you are – Roger Ailes. The title of Roger Ailes’ book refers to the theory that when you communicate it’s not just the words you use that make up the message. It’s a bundle of other communication – from your facial expression and body movement through to your vocal tone, intensity, your commitment, sense of humour and beyond. Ailes uncovers these factors and brings them to life through his experience and stories.

The First 20 Hours: How to learn anything… Fast – Josh Kaufman. This book features a baseline method for learning something new and takes some specific examples as case studies. The principles in this book can be applied to developing a sound speaker method that can be successfully repeated.

Show and Tell: How everybody can make extraordinary presentations – Dan Roam. A great read for developing content for your speaker opportunity. The principle is based around three simple ideas: Tell the truth. Tell it with a story. Tell the story with pictures. The author boils presentations down into four storylines: the Report, the Explanation, the Pitch and the Drama and then explains each.

Persuading Aristotle – Peter Thompson. A good text to dip into when building a presentation. Peter Thompson looks at the structure of presentations and also offers a useful and very accessible guide to the different personality types you may encounter and how to appeal to them in their own language.

The 100: Insights and Lessons from 100 of the Greatest Speakers and Speeches ever delivered. Who are the greatest communicators and orators and what makes them so successful? This book profiles 100 great speakers and analyses the success factors behind their speeches.

What to listen to

Talking Books. What does a great voice sound like? Talking books can be a great way to tune in to the voice and vocal quality of the best speakers without the distraction of their physical presence. Buy your favourite title as a talking book and listen to it on your journey to work. Let the words flow over you and see how they make you feel.

What to watch

Ted Talks. Watching a TED talk only takes 15 minutes on average. So it’s an easy thing to fit into your day. You can watch one during your lunch break or at the end or beginning of the day. Take it a stage further and share your favourite TED talks with colleagues and clients.

Where to go

Attend live events. Look at the association that your target audience belongs to. Join it if you can and then sign up to some of its events.

Instead of listening for content, watch for presentation style and format. How is the speaker coming across? What language are they using? Is their message clear? What do you like about it? How would you change it? By becoming a student of speakers you will develop an understanding of what you believe works well.

You could bring back what you learn to the office and re-present it to your colleagues adding your twist.

Would you add to this list? What has proved useful to you in approaching speaker opportunities? Let us know in the comments section below.

Discover more:

Speak up! How public speaking can help your design business

John Scarrott is membership director of the Design Business Association. For more information on DBA membership go to www.dba.org.uk/membership. Follow John on Twitter: @DBAScarrott.

Back to listing