Public Speaking


  • Identify your audience.

  • What is the goal of the speech: persuade? Inform? Inspire/entertain?

  • Write an outline first.

  • "Let me tell you a story." Stories are more memorable than facts and numbers. Good stories contains conflicts and creativity.


  • Develop credibility: show confidence and competence (two key details in your background on the subject matter)

  • Five cold openings:

    • ask an open-ended question;

    • begin with a story;

    • begin with a bold statement;

    • tell the audience to imagine something;

    • begin with hard evidence (Must be credible).

  • Common opening mistakes:

    • start with something trite;

    • clear the throat;

    • highlight technical/personal insecurities.

Handle tech mishaps

  • Over-prepare: always bring backups - laptop, remote, etc.

  • Know the material well so that you could speak without the slides.

  • Last move: get the audience involved in the problem.


Q & A

  • Let your audience know how you'll handle Q&A. Jump-in anytime (small group) or a dedicated time.

  • Hold your Q&A near the end, not at the end. "I have a one final thought to leave you with, but before I do, I'll open up the floor for questions." This handles the no-question scenario, and you'll have the control of the final words.

  • Repeat the question when the room is large.

  • Keep the answer brief. If you can't answer the question within one minute, say so. "It's a complicated question, and a comprehensive answer might take an hour. I'll give a shorter answer, and in the interest of time, I'll take another question."

Closing words

  • Rephrase the title.

  • Summary: key takeaways.

  • A relevant quote. Make sure that the audience likes the author.

  • Personal tagline: for repeated internal presentations to the same audience.

  • A call to action.