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.

October 21, 2022

Using pauses in presentations

Pauses are a great to increase the impact of your speech and to manage nerves too. Discover when to use them in your next presentation.
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? […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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 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 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 […]
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?
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 […]
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 […]
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 16, 2011
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Impromptu speaking tactics (Part 3)

This post has been combined into a ‘super guide to impromptu speaking tactics’ article, which introduces and explains all of our favourite impromptu speaking tactics. The […]
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 […]
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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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 […]
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 […]
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?!
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 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 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 […]
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.