I know these things for sure about public speaking. First, it is the most universally feared activity on the face of the earth. Second, it is not an art; it is a skill that can be learned, just like swimming, skating, or riding a bicycle. Third, you can’t learn it without doing it. And, finally, unless you know what you’re talking about, you’re going to fail.
Everyone can be eloquent when speaking about what they know well.
If you don’t strike oil in the first couple of minutes, you better stop boring.
A one-minute anecdote is worth an hour of history.
Treat your audience the same way you treat valued friends.
To explain something in clear and simple language, you have to fully understand it.
When trying to convince, it’s as important to stir emotion as it is to provoke thought; facts inform but passion persuades. People who feel it strongly can say it well.
Nothing of interest to an audience can be said after forty minutes.
Speeches are like babies; easy to conceive but hard to deliver.
Intellectuals tend to use more words than necessary to tell us more than we want to know.
If your audience wasn’t convinced, you failed.
When choosing between two words, always use the shorter one.
Just because you’re familiar with something doesn’t mean your audience is.
When you’re at the lectern, you’re the leader.
The audience needs to see your heart as well as your face.
Always include shortening in your speech recipe.
Public speaking is a lot like spelling banana; you have to know when to stop.
Laughter is better than applause; people will applaud to be polite, but laughter is always real.
If you don’t speak effectively, people can’t help you get what you want.
The above observations barely scratch the surface of the subject of public speaking. For a complete treatment see my book The Elements of Great Public Speaking which is available at most bookstores.