How to be a better public speaker

Avoid these seven deadly sins if you want to be a better public speaker.

Thou shalt not be…

Proud

RememberIt’s Not About You!It’s about your audience. Some people love being on stage and will say anything to keep the spotlight on them. You must put your audience first. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Why are they here? What do they need?
  • What do they know already?
  • What new, useful information can I give them?

In Storyteller Tactics, I created a card called Audience Profile to help.

Dull

Don’t tell us stuff we can see for ourselves. A text-filled PowerPoint slide is Kryptonite for public speakers. Why listen to you, when we can just skim-read your slide? Never put more than half a dozen words on the screen at a time. Show and Tell is a useful guide.

False

Obviously you shouldn’t lie. But, deeper than that, you should show authenticity. Don’t just tell us you’re ‘passionate’ or ‘committed’; tell us a story about a moment when your commitment paid off. Trust Me, I’m an Expert will help you here. 

Stale

Don’t keep telling the same old story. Create a Story Bank to keep track of who already knows the story you want to tell. If most people have heard it, you’ve got to find a new story.

Empty

If you promise new and useful information, you must deliver (or else you’re just click bait). Story Hooks will help you make the right promise at the start of your talk – and deliver by the end.

Gossipy

Don’t betray confidences, no matter how juicy the story. 

Vague

Know what point you’re trying to make (and get to it!) – What’s It About? was written to avoid this sin.

Storyteller Tactics, here to save your soul.

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