Real Leaders

Public Speaking Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier

By Scot Chisholm

The nerves, the rambling, the “umms,” the blanks — no wonder people are more afraid of speaking than dying (no joke!). I used to hate public speaking too, but it’s a skill that anyone can learn. Now, I speak in front of audiences of 5,000+ with no problem. Here are my most effective hacks for public speaking.

Know your audience.

Confident speakers know their audience.

Ask yourself:

  • Who is my audience?
  •  How will I help them go from point A to point B?

Your talk becomes the map to get them there.

Define three major points.

There’s nothing worse than a rambling talk.

  • Write down the three most important points (in bullets).
  • Structure your talk around these three points just like chapters (1st, 2nd, 3rd).

This will help you move through your talk and not get lost.

Have a backup plan ready.

Your mind might go blank, but don’t freak out. Have a plan.

I pause to take a sip of water and think, “What chapter am I in?” I recover 100% of the time. Put down the water and continue.

Practice being natural (not perfect).

It doesn’t matter if you get every word right if you deliver poorly.

  • Focus on the essence of each “chapter.”
  • If you get something wrong, just keep going.
  • Read your notes, but practice without them.

Structure it like a story.

The best speakers don’t just talk, they tell stories.

If the chapters are the three main points, then outline the body of each chapter to reinforce your points. Add an intro that hooks and a clear summary at the end.

Create a room of one.

Make the room smaller by talking to one person at a time.

  • Make eye contact with someone in the audience.
  • Talk to them for one to two sentences.
  • Then find a new person slightly to the right.
  • Keep repeating.

It’ll feel like talking to a friend one-on-one.

Most Recent Articles