We can’t help it. We really love public speaking.

We are always reading, discovering and learning more about the topic. This public speaking blog section is where we share this knowledge with others. Ladies and gentlemen, we are delighted to introduce an ever increasing stream of public speaking tips, knowledge and advice in the posts below. Enjoy!

Do comment, share, and let us know the content that you would like to see more of.

July 12, 2022

Account Manager Presentation Skills

July 12, 2022

Storytelling for businesses

July 12, 2022

Delivering technical presentations

July 4, 2022

Presenting without PowerPoint

July 4, 2022

Presenting Online

April 29, 2022

Speaking for Change

April 29, 2022

Sales Presentation Skills

April 29, 2022

Foundation Presentation Skills

April 27, 2022

The Ultimate Guide to Q&A sessions

Here's my ultimate guide to handling Q&A, in the form of twenty top tips to employ before, during and after your next question and answer session!
April 13, 2022

Your final words – creating a presentation legacy

Our final words are our last chance to leave a legacy. The same can be said of the final words of our presentation or speech.
March 30, 2022

Lessons from aboriginal culture and public speaking

Culturally, shared experiences are seen as vital to building rapport, not just within aboriginal culture, but cultures across the world too.
July 22, 2014

The Art of Filling

Have you ever been sat in the audience whilst a nervous-looking, unprepared and slightly sweaty person has had to ‘fill’ an unplanned gap in the schedule? […]
July 15, 2014

The best presenters do more than just ‘survive’

Becoming a better presenter is all about having the right mindset.  Whenever I begin working with a new client, coaching them to develop their speaking skills, […]
June 24, 2014

5 original tips for creating outstanding speech titles

The title of your presentation has the power to make or break your speech before you have even begun. Your audience will judge your forthcoming presentation […]
June 10, 2014

Producing Blockbuster Presentations

Last weekend I sat in a cinema enjoying the latest summer blockbuster action movie. These movies attract millions of people during the warmest months of the […]
June 3, 2014

Handling presentation hiccups like a pro (cure for hiccups not included, sorry!)

(If you’re looking for advice on how to stop actual, physical hiccups, check out this guide here. If you’re more interested in delivering a presentation perfectly, […]
May 20, 2014

Using Video In Presentations – Golden Rules

You will come across the occasional presenter that frowns upon using video during a speech or presentation. In my opinion, video is a vital part of […]
May 13, 2014

Why those who stand up and speak get ahead in the workplace…

At the age of 19 I successfully delivered a eulogy at my Grandfather’s funeral – one of my earliest experiences of public speaking. “Well done”, said […]
April 22, 2014

‘Why do it’ always beats ‘Just Do It!’

‘Just do it’ works brilliantly as an advertising line. It doesn’t work so well when you are telling a room full of people that they have […]
April 15, 2014

The 5 Biggest Mistakes Agencies Make When Pitching

There are five really obvious mistakes that I see made by agencies across the UK every single week. Rather than only reveal them to you once […]
April 1, 2014

If you want to engage your audience, move!

Standing behind a lectern is the easy option. It’s traditional, it’s expected and it provides a wonderful shield between us and the audience. How do our […]
March 25, 2014

Increasing your motivation to rehearse a presentation…

The scariest rehearsal is always the first one. There are many reasons for this, but primarily, it comes down to one thing. Because we know the […]
March 18, 2014

The Vote of Thanks Template

I get a lot of inquiries asking for help with giving short vote of thanks speeches. A vote of thanks is often tough to do well […]
March 11, 2014

Are you an aggressive presenter?

The aggressive presenter never actually physically hits his audience, but by the time he’s finished speaking they feel like they have been 10 rounds with Mike […]
March 4, 2014

Adding impact – Is your speech Infotainment?

Infotainment – the combination of hard information or facts with entertainment content to increase popularity with customers. If we are ever to be effective presenters, then […]
January 28, 2014

What is PechaKucha? – It’s all that needs to be said

If you like your public speaking punchy, with a generous helping of visual aids, then it’s time we had a PechaKucha about PechaKucha. (That last line […]
January 14, 2014

Opening lines..It’s not what you say…

Your first impression is more than just your speech This blog is not about what we say in the opening line of our speech or presentation. […]
January 7, 2014

Smile lines – smiling when speaking

Sometimes we need to smile when speaking, and we don’t want to. Bad mood, nerves, our natural demeanour. They may all contribute to a unsmiley speech. […]
December 31, 2013

A bit more on speech delivery versus speech making…

Following on from an earlier post about making a speech versus delivering a speech (what’s your style?)… If you want to read and see a really […]
December 24, 2013

Using images in presentations

A picture is worth a thousand words, but it needs to pass only three simple tests to ensure it adds value to our presentation. At some […]
December 18, 2013

Moral stories and modern public speaking

If we are looking for moral lessons to include in our speech, there are plenty out there for us to use. “Slow and steady wins the […]
December 17, 2013

Repetition Repetition in speeches – the so-so speaker

You may know  a ‘so-so’ speaker. I knew one at university. This fellow student was known as ‘so-so’ because whenever he had to give a presentation, […]
December 10, 2013

Seeking public speaking perfection

Believe it or not, David Beckham wasn’t born with a golden right foot. Tiger Woods didn’t drive a golf ball 300 yards at the age of […]
November 26, 2013

The first question when public speaking

The first question we should be asking when writing a speech or presentation is: what do the audience want to hear? If what they want to […]
November 22, 2013

How to open a speech or presentation successfully – 6 tips!

If the opening line of your speech or presentation doesn’t grab the attention of your audience, you may as well walk out of the room there […]
November 19, 2013

Advice for increasing your volume when making presentations!

Sometimes we need to speak loudly to be heard. Perhaps it’s the murmurings of a fidgety crowd that we have to overcome, or simply just a […]
November 12, 2013

Not listening to the voices inside your head

The voices inside our head often lie to us. They tell us we are fat when we’re thin, ugly when we’re beautiful or wrong when we […]
November 8, 2013

7 ways to make your point stick when presenting

It’s Friday, you’re the last speaker on a long day, the room is hot and stuffy and your audience can almost smell the freedom of the […]
October 29, 2013

Do you deliver a speech or make a speech?

Some of us prepare meticulously for every speech and presentation we give. We deliver our speech. Others just know their key points, and improvise around them. […]
October 25, 2013

‘How to’ Friday – Ten tips for no nerves public speaking

Google ‘dealing with nerves when public speaking’ and you’ll find hundreds of articles on the topic. If you’re looking for 10 honest, different ways to overcome […]
October 22, 2013

The Core Thought Check

When we’re sat alone in a room writing a speech or presentation, it’s sometimes tough to tell if we’re getting our point across. The quickest and […]
October 16, 2013

Winning hearts and minds with a speech

If we’re speaking to persuade, we need to win the hearts AND minds of our audience. The wonderful thing about human beings is that we’re all […]
October 14, 2013

The power of the smile when public speaking

Read this line aloud, without smiling. “Today is a day you will never forget…” Sounds a bit like a threat from a gangster movie, right? Now […]
October 11, 2013

Use the microphone

If we’re offered a microphone to speak with it’s wise to use it. Generally if a microphone is present on stage, it has been setup by […]
October 9, 2013

Do unto other speakers…

According to Greg M. Epstein, ‘do unto others’ … is a concept that essentially no religion misses entirely. Greg is a Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University […]
October 7, 2013

Big fear vs little fear when public speaking

No fear is the worst possible thing we can have when public speaking. No fear means we don’t see the consequences of giving a bad presentation […]
October 4, 2013

The challenge of wind when speaking – tips on speaking outdoors

Despite the title this isn’t a post on flatulence and the modern speaker, sorry, I’ll write that post some time in the future! ‘Wind’ comes up […]
October 2, 2013

What makes you so special?

We all have a special quality – something that our friends remark on – “Oh, I love the way you always…” What’s your special quality? And […]
September 30, 2013

The power of the metaphor

Explaining things isn’t always easy. When Steve Jobs pitched the Apple Mac computer, he might as well have been trying to explain electricity to cavemen – […]
September 17, 2013

An incredibly proud Tuesday

I’m so proud to have been asked to attend my school prize giving ceremony this evening as the guest of honour, handing out prizes to the […]
August 1, 2013

The Queen’s unheard nuclear war speech

After my last post about the ‘unheard moon landing speech’, one of today’s biggest news stories has been about the release of another unheard speech – […]
June 4, 2013
Moon landing

The Alternative Moon Landing Speech

Here’s something a little different – the most famous speech that was never delivered. Below is the script for an alternative speech to the one given […]
March 13, 2013

Opening a speech: Step-by-step

This is it, the moment you've spent weeks writing, rehearsing and refining your speech for. The audience falls silent, every pair of eyes in the room turn expectantly to you. 5,4,3,2,1. Now what? Opening a speech isn't rocket science, but it is similar to a rocket launch in that if don't get it right, the rest of your speech won't get off of the ground. So what should the perfect opening of a speech include?
November 22, 2012
Nerves

Dealing with nerves when public speaking – beyond breathing

I was asked the other day about my top tips to avoid nerves when public speaking. A lot of the people that I work with on […]
November 8, 2012
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Recycling speeches and respecting your audience

Recycling is cool, unless you’re recycling speeches. I recently had the misfortune to sit through a speech that had clearly been recycled. The delivery was second […]
October 16, 2012
Pen and paper

Exploring how we write speeches

I have a fascination with the ways in which people write, learn and rehearse speeches and presentations. The process is a very personal one, and although […]
September 27, 2012

UK Business Speaker of the Year 2012

Last week I was fortunate enough to win the UK Business Speaker of the Year contest and be crowned the official ‘UK Business Speaker of the […]
September 16, 2012
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Public Speaking In A Second Language

Delivering a speech in a second language is a challenge that many of us never dream of taking-up, but if you do challenge yourself in this […]
August 20, 2012
Barack Obama

Writing a speech in a crisis – Bush and Obama

When a crisis occurs, there is often pressure on leaders to set an example, respond in an appropriate manner and inspire others into positive action. For […]
July 29, 2012
Finish line

Tips on concluding a speech

Have you ever sat through a presentation or speech that you have enjoyed, found interesting or intriguing throughout, but been left feeling a bit empty when […]
May 13, 2012

Thoughts on writing a conference talk

At the moment I’m working on my talk for the Soton Digital conference, entitled ‘Isn’t Ajax a football team? How Developers and Non-Developers can work together […]
April 2, 2012
Kate Middleton

Analysis of Kate Middleton’s First Public Speech

Last week Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, gave her first public speech. If you haven’t yet seen it yet, check out the video above. So […]
March 19, 2012
Speaker with gravitas

Adding gravitas to a presentation or speech

Gravitas. Apparently some people have it, others don’t and some of us can lend an air of it to an occasion. We’ve all been told at […]
January 25, 2012
Facts figures

Using facts and figures to win hearts and minds

Two speakers. Both equally credible, both equally charming, both suitably polished in the delivery of their presentation. One supports his argument with anecdotal evidence, the opinions […]
January 16, 2012
Powerpoint alternatives

Ditch The Slides & Speak – Alternatives to Powerpoint

For many of us, when we are asked to give a speech, lecture or presentation, our first thought is always ‘what will the Powerpoint look like?’. […]
December 5, 2011

Two emerging methods of persuasive speaking

Despite there being many different ways of forming and delivering a persuasive argument when public speaking, in the many speeches that I have witnessed in the […]
November 14, 2011
Ancient Greece Ruins

Writing a persuasive speech – Aristotle style

I had to have a long and painful call with a call centre operator to persuade them to restore my Internet connection in my new home […]
October 17, 2011
child reading

Preparing for a presentation or speech – Part 2

This article is the continuation of my guide to preparing for a presentation or speech. Part 1 covered what you should be doing in the weeks […]
October 10, 2011
child reading

Preparing for a presentation or speech – part 1

This series of articles aims to be a quick guide to how best to prepare for an important speech or presentation. Key steps are outlined that […]
August 25, 2011
Eddie Izzard

Using movement within your speech or presentation

Using movement within your speech or presentation can really help to enhance the effectiveness of your delivery and keep your audience engaged. Eddie Izzard does this […]
August 20, 2011

Crafting and writing a well-rounded speech

If you can convey your message in a single line, then you shouldn’t be giving a speech. A good speech should always be a build up […]
August 12, 2011
speechwriting pace numbers

Words per minute when speechwriting

I’ve been asked a few times recently about how many words one should write if they want to speak for 5, 10, 15 minutes. There is […]
August 2, 2011
Ghost speechwriting

Speechwriting for somebody else

I’ve been taking a lot of time in the past week to really consider the implications of speechwriting for someone else. In my opinion, I’ve managed […]
July 27, 2011
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Boris Johnson Olympic Clock speech analysis

Boris Johnson stole the show today by giving a hugely informal speech not to a group of close friends, but the entire planet. You can view […]
July 16, 2011
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Impromptu speaking tactics (Part 3)

The displacement method Ok, so you’ve been asked to give your views on whether a North/South divide should be introduced into our country. You step up […]
July 3, 2011
Wedding reading

Tips on giving a reading at a christening, wedding or funeral

At some point in our lives most of us will be asked to give a reading at a ceremony such as a christening, wedding or funeral. […]
June 26, 2011
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Analysis Of Ed Miliband’s First Speech As Party Leader

A perfect use of the old ‘rule of three’ in a political speech by Ed Miliband last year. The rule of three involves the repetition of […]
June 7, 2011
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Being an expert is not enough

In this Internet age it’s easier to be an expert. There’s more information, it’s more accessible and there are more niches to become expert in. I’ve […]
June 1, 2011
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Hardest Public Speaking Part 2 – The Doctor’s Speech

We’ve all either experienced it or seen a rather over-dramatised version of it in a television programme – the doctor delivering bad news to the relatives […]
May 27, 2011
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The two-sided business card

My pet hate is the two-sided business card. It says to me that the owner of this card doesn’t know exactly what it is they want […]
May 24, 2011
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Smile

Ok, so you’re nervous, trying to remember your notes, attempting to make eye contact with your audience and one hundred other things whilst you’re presenting. It’s […]
May 18, 2011
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How powerful are visual aids when speaking?

20 years ago I sat in a crowded assembly hall with 200 other school children and was told all of the stories from the Bible by […]
May 2, 2011
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Involving your audience in a presentation – a great way to make them feel special

Ok ok ok, so nearly every post I write mentions your audience and how important they are – but it’s true, without them you’d just be […]
April 27, 2011
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Toughest public speaking – the street entertainer

I’ve set myself another challenge – to find the toughest public speaking gig ever. For the purposes of this challenge, tough will equal ‘the most technically […]
April 19, 2011
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5 tips for increasing audience participation in training workshops

This afternoon I ran a training workshop focusing on blogging and blogging strategy. The session was three hours long, and I was keen to break up […]
March 23, 2011
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Toastmaster nerves – sorry Simon you’re wrong (and a bit right too)

“Tonight the audience is examining me. Normally they’re just examining my subject matter…and that’s why this evening I am nervous.” I overheard this line being whispered […]
March 9, 2011
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Speaking with passion

I watched a speaker go through the motions last week…and it showed. Speaking with passion is good. Speaking without passion is bad. Your audience can tell […]
March 4, 2011
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Saying too much when public speaking

At the very heart of communicating to an audience is the objective to get your message across clearly and in the most effective manner. So next […]
February 23, 2011
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More help for stand up comedy at open mic nights

Ok, so I went along to my first open mic night on Monday and after ten pretty reasonable musical acts (and a questionable 70 year old […]
February 20, 2011
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Tips and advice for open mic stand up comedy nights

I’ve spent this afternoon watching strangers attempt stand up routines on YouTube, looking to identify the elements of successful stand up comedy at open mic nights. […]
February 9, 2011
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Overcoming fear of failure in public speaking

I’m currently sat near Heathrow airport watching the planes come in over ahead. I’m estimating it’s one every 45 seconds, if not more. As a person […]
February 3, 2011
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Using stories to get your point across

It’s the reason why a parent that tells their child off and explains why what the child has done is wrong will have a more obedient […]
January 16, 2011
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No arms, no legs, no problems public speaking

A little bit of inspiration for a Sunday afternoon. Guy with no arms and no legs engages and holds an audience’ attention and gets his message […]
January 3, 2011
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Thoughts on the Queen’s speech 2010

I thought it would be a bit of fun to take a look at the Queen's speech from 2010 and provide an evaluation, Toastmaster's style, on what she did well and what she could do better. After all, it's not like she gets a lot of practice at this public speaking malarkey is it?!
December 21, 2010
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Public speaking and presenting without notes

One of the most common misconceptions I come across is that speaking with notes is the sign of a weak public speaker and that we should […]
November 21, 2010
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Is public speaking as subjective as art?

For everything we learn about public speaking and all that we are taught about so-called 'best practice', is public speaking really as subjective as art?
November 8, 2010
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More thoughts on confident learners vs. nervous learners

Later on in their public speaking 'career', is it possible to identify a public speaker that was initially a nervous learner vs. one that was a confident learner?
November 7, 2010
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A public speaking thought for the day – confident learner Vs. nervous learner

Interesting thoughts last night that I need to get written down some where, hence the blog post. I'm rapidly approaching the conclusion that there are two very distinct types of person when it comes to developing public speaking skills.
October 18, 2010
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Tips on speaking to persuade

So what should you look to include in a speech designed to persuade your audience or bring them round to your way of thinking? Here are the things I think that you should include - let me know if you have anything to add in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
October 14, 2010
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Tips for technical presentations

Ok, so here's what I've got on my list as 'technical presentation best practice' (if there is such a thing?). I hope it helps you with your technical presentation and if I have missed anything, please do leave your own hints and experiences in the comments at the end of this post.
October 10, 2010
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What is the best structure for a speech?

What is the best structure for a speech? - is something I've spent quite some time contemplating recently. Is it best to stick to a rigid, tried and tested structure for each speech, with a clear beginning and ending, or should you try and break the mould?
September 26, 2010
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Improving speech impact – Kilometres Vs. Miles Per Hour

When I drive in England I do 70mph on the motorway. When I drive in France I do 130 kilometres per hour on the motorway. There's not a lot of difference in my actual speed, but one sounds a lot more impressive!
September 7, 2010
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Practicing a humorous speech

Ok, so now all that’s left is to practice my chosen humorous speech. I’m going to try and practice it out loud twice daily and then hundreds of times in between in my head. I usually find that I know I have a strong opening if it is constantly rattling around in my head so much that it becomes automatic. If I’m nervous, I want to be able to deliver my first few lines perfectly whilst still in autopilot, so this is no bad thing.
September 5, 2010
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Testing a humorous speech

Am I funny? Now there's a question. Would I be happy if people laughed at my humorous speech or do I want them to laugh with me? Could I think that I have the funniest speech in history only for it to fall flat? It's probably about time I tested my humorous speeches. At the very least it will help me to decide which one to use..
September 3, 2010
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Writing a humorous speech

Ok, so I’m now down to the slightly harder graft, the speech writing. Some people find speech writing incredibly easy whilst others can struggle for hours and produce nothing that they feel happy with using. I’ve found from experience that the way in which we write speeches varies too, depending on who we are and how important we believe our upcoming speech to be.
September 1, 2010
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Finding a humorous speech topic

Ok, so now I’m beginning to think about the topic I will speak on in the Toastmaster’s humorous speech contest and my thoughts are being led by the two points I made in my first post on the subject: * Humour and what is funny is essentially the choice of your audience * This has to be a speech with a story, not just random stand-up comedy
August 30, 2010
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Judging a humorous speech

Ok, so since yesterday I've had a few people ask what criteria the humorous speeches are judged on. Here's the humorous speech judging criteria...
August 29, 2010
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Preparing for the Toastmaster’s Humorous Speech Contest…

By the time you read this I should be led on a sunny beach in the South of France. If all goes to plan, I should also be thinking about and writing a humorous speech for the Toastmaster’s UK humorous speech contest which begins in September. Apparently I have a natural humour with my public speaking but this doesn’t seem to make the speech writing process any easier. Humour is after all extremely subjective and the nature of humour has been written about extensively by much greater, more informed writers than myself.
August 20, 2010
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‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few’ – Great speeches – Winston Churchill

It's 70 years to the day that Winston Churchill gave one of his most famous speeches to the House of Commons. His 'So Few' speech was given as an overview of why Britain was fighting, how the conflict was progressing and where he saw the conflict moving on to. A classic example of a well structured speech using the past, present, future method of organisation. It brings a smile to my face that a speech that was over 5000 words long is remembered 70 years later for one single line.
August 19, 2010
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Starting a speech

Whether you are a nervous public speaker or an accomplished orator, the opening of your speech is still the most important part.
August 16, 2010
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Finding balance in a speech – Public speaking contradictions

I recently worked with an individual that had a bad case of ‘hereiswhatIhavetosayImgoingtosayitandgetmymessageacrosstoyoureallyquicklyandthenIamgoingtositdownagain’. By this I mean he spoke to fast when delivering a speech. His audience could not understand him and as a result they disengaged and did not receive the message that he was trying to pass to them. At first I thought that this individual was nervous when speaking and this was why he spoke so quickly. However, I soon discovered that this speaker had been told in the past that he spoke too slowly.
August 11, 2010
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When does your performance start?

What your audience knows about you before you start speaking can make or break your speech.
August 4, 2010
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Embrace the silence

What if you embraced the silence and rather than seeing it as something to avoid, made it part of your arsenal for delivering a great speech?
July 26, 2010
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What’s your story? My Prince’s Trust experience

Last weekend I spent the day with a group of young people between the ages of 17 and 23, who were all completing a 10 week Prince’s Trust challenge. These young people had all come from disadvantaged backgrounds and trouble homes, but have enrolled on the course to help them get their lives back on track and learn valuable skills that will help them to achieve their full potential.
July 22, 2010
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Apologising for nerves during a speech

I’ve read a lot of articles and books that mention referring to any nerves you may have as a good way to make light of your fear during a speech. I’m not sure I agree entirely. I personally feel that this is acceptable for social speeches, such as toasts, wedding speeches.etc, but is not something you should do during a business or professional speech. Unfortunately our corporate culture does not look kindly on perceived weakness!
July 15, 2010
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The night before a speech

Dave has a night out the day before the big presentation. He wakes up bleary eyed, hung over and goes and gives the presentation of his life. Dave’s lucky, a little cocky and gets away without the preparation and nerves that everyone else has about speaking. Lucky Dave. So what should the rest of us be doing the night before a big speech or presentation?
July 11, 2010
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Opening a speech

The opening line in any speech is the most important. Know it, live it, breathe it every second of every day leading up to your speech.
July 5, 2010
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Eye contact in public speaking

Eye contact is the simplest and often most effective way to engage an audience. For the nervous speaker it is often a hugely daunting thing to […]
June 28, 2010
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Speaking in a double act

I have recently been offered the chance to speak as part of a ‘double act’. Speaking as one half of a partnership throws up all sorts […]
June 24, 2010
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Public speaking for business development

In my time working in marketing I actually found that public speaking was one of the most effective tactics for business development. Speaking and educating others in large groups allows you to position yourself as an expert in your field.
June 20, 2010
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Leave the lectern and improve your speech

A lot of public speaking is carried out from behind a lectern, or stood behind a desk. More often than not there is some form of furniture between you and the audience. This is a great comfort for the nervous speaker, but is hiding behind a desk or lectern reducing the impact of your speech or presentation?
June 16, 2010
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Impromptu speaking tactics (Part 2)

This method is great for impromptu speaking where you have been asked a question (usually nothing too serious) and you need to fill-out your answer some what. I’ve found it’s also great for one-to-one conversations, if you find you are the person having to do all of the talking!
June 6, 2010
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The basics of a good speech

I recently attended a wedding – a great day full of fun, laughter and speeches. The father of the bride after making his speech proceeded to […]
June 1, 2010
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Impromptu speaking tactics (Part 1)

The PREP method for impromptu speaking is the most basic and simple method.
May 25, 2010
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David Cameron’s speech 11th May

David Cameron has been lauded for his ability to win over voters and project a personality through his speaking in a way that Gordon Brown could not. But how was this reflected in his first speech as Prime Minister on the 11th May 2010?
May 19, 2010
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Know your audience

You wouldn’t run a marathon without knowing how far a marathon actually was. How would you know how hard to train, what to expect and how to succeed in running the distance? Similarly, speaking in public becomes much easier the greater your level of preparation.
May 13, 2010
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Fear of impromptu speaking

So many of us have a fear of impromptu speaking. For example, we fear being asked to stand up and speak in a meeting at work, without warning. We fear being put on the spot. We fear not having anything to say.