The Art of Public Speaking

Written By | General | June 22nd, 2011 | 22 Comments »

public speakerThe course of human history and personal destiny has changed more by the spoken word than by the written word.  Many of the major turning points in your own life were when someone said something to you that affected you so profoundly that ever afterwards your thinking, your feelings and your actions were different.
There is nothing more important for you than to become really, really good at the art and science of expressing yourself in words to other people.

I’m going to share with you some of the most important ideas I’ve learned in the art of public speaking that you can use, starting immediately, to become more effective and more persuasive in your interactions with others.

At my seminars around the country, people often come up to me and say, “I would like to do what you do.  How do I get started?”

Whenever someone asks me how they can become a public speaker, I always refer them to the book Eloquence in Public Speaking written by Dr. Kenneth McFarland.  McFarland, who passed away in 1985, is also known as the “Dean of American Public Speakers,” and in his book he didn’t talk about methodology or technique at all.

His central message, which influenced me very strongly when I began speaking publicly, was that the key to eloquence is the emotional component that the speaker brings to the subject.

To put it another way, the starting point of being an excellent speaker is for you to really care about your subject.  I watched Wally “Famous Amos” give a talk years and years ago.  He started with very little and built up an extraordinarily successful chain of chocolate chip cookie stores.  He has since devoted much of his time and money to helping people who are less fortunate, especially those having problems with illiteracy.

He is not necessarily an accomplished public speaker, but the talk that he gave was absolutely excellent.  And the reason was because he spoke from his heart.  He spoke with a deep concern and compassion about the needs of people who couldn’t read. His eloquence came because he really cared about his subject and everyone listening could sense that emotion even though his structure and his style may not have been as polished as someone who had spoken for many years.

Part One of Public Speaking

So the starting point of the art of public speaking is for you to pick a subject that you really care about.  It is for you to think through the subjects that have had an inordinate impact on you, the subjects that you would like to share with others because you really, intensely feel that others could benefit from your knowledge. Let’s say, for example, that you feel that people could be far more successful in life if they learned how to be more understanding of others.  You have found, in your own life, that the more you worked at understanding where others were coming from, the more effective you were in interacting and communicating with them.  Because of the impact that this knowledge had on your life, you feel that others could benefit from learning and practicing what you have learned and practiced.

Part Two of Public Speaking

The second part of public speaking, the real core to the subject, is preparation.  Preparation is more important than anything else except caring about your subject.

Ernest Hemmingway once wrote that, “In order to write well, you must know 10 words about the subject for every word that you write.  Otherwise,” he said, “the reader will know that this is not true writing.”  I personally feel that, in speaking, you must know 100 words for every word that you speak.  Otherwise, your audience will have the sense that you don’t really know what you’re talking about.

It’s not unusual for a person to spend many hours, days and even weeks, preparing for a talk.  Whenever you see a professional speaker who gives a talk that seems almost effortless, you can know for sure that it was preceded by enormous preparation.

To prepare for a talk, the first thing you do is write out an objective statement of what you wish to accomplish as a result of this presentation.  If it’s a 10 minute presentation, or a 10 hour presentation, the statement of your objective is the same.  It’s the answer to the question, “Who is my audience and what effect do I want my talk to have upon them?”

So here is my advice to you.  Pay any price, spend any amount of time, overcome any obstacle, but make a decision, right now, that you’re going to learn to speak well to other people.  It could be one of the most important decisions you ever make in assuring your long term success in your career.

Feel free to leave a comment below or share this post if you enjoyed it.

I’m hosting a FREE, LIVE webinar tomorrow, June 23, 2011 at 5:00 PM PST called “Secrets of Powerful Public Speaking.”

Join me here.

webinar this wayDuring this live webinar-interview, Lisa Sasevich, a.k.a “The Queen of Conversions,” and I will be discussing powerful formulas and strategies for mastering the art of public speaking. We will also be discussing different techniques for overcoming fear, nerves, and anxiety in public speaking. This webinar-interview is completely FREE.

Reserve Your Spot Here

About Brian Tracy – Brian Tracy is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian’s goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on google+, facebook, and twitter.


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  4. Jared says on June 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm:

    I totally agree with your thought on preparation as the key to a successful presentation. The more prepared you are, the better you stand to present well. And, it’s so true – public speaking has so many life benefits that its worth learning, even if you don’t have an opportunities right now. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Barreta says on November 9, 2011 at 11:27 am:

    I agree with the people here this post was right to the point. I think some people mistaken public speaking for a show or something, but this posts brings it back to the basics. Lately my inspiration has been Eric Bailey his free e-book is great and love his style when he’s speaking. He’s entertaining, but he’s always going somewhere.

  6. Pam Terry says on November 3, 2011 at 5:09 pm:

    Hi Brian, I have started a Speaker Coaching Business recently and gave a workshop today and one of the top keys that I talk about is that you must be passionate about your topic to be successful. So, it is delightful to discover confirmation from you. One of the first self-improvement programs that I purchased with The Psychology of Achievement in 1988 and I have been a devoted fan of yours ever since.

    You probably don’t remember because it was so long ago, but I interviewed you one time in the 80′s when I was editor for a business magazine. The interview was based on the release of Maximum Achievement. We talked on the phone – you were in Canada at the time. I will never forget it – one of the highlights of my life.

    Thank you for the success, mentor and contribution you are to me and the world.

  7. keynote speaker says on October 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm:

    I finally had to do a speech for the charity that I represent. It wasn’t so bad but what I spoke about was all true and no politics involved. Yes it can be nerve racking but I found it wasn’t so hard because I knew what I was talking about and I really didnt have to read from a script.

  8. Chinedu okolie says on August 23, 2011 at 10:12 am:

    Hi Brain,thank you for good work human capital development.And also the previlege of people into blog.
    please I need your support in art of public speaking.I usually have fear, nerves,anxiety talking aduience.I will be glad if I recieve any of your article that build my comfidence when speaking.thank you.chinedu



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