guide to public speaking

An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Public Speaking

Jan 25, 2018

America’s number one fear is public speaking. This article is about fears faced and overcome. This guide to public speaking aims high.

Simon Sinek is shy and yet he is one of the most inspirational speakers you could listen to. He is the third most-watched presenter on TED talks. With this guide to public speaking, you can start your journey to speaking excellence.

If you are an entrepreneur and you want to develop your business through public speaking, read on.

First Prepare

Being a great public speaker starts with your preparation. Like most things in life, success in public speaking follows careful preparation.

Understand your audience. What is their interest in listening to you? Who are they and what do they need from you? What is the single big, memorable, idea in your speech?

Craft an engaging presentation and know your stuff. Don’t memorize every word but do know the framework of your presentation and what you are talking about. This will help you with confidence.

Overcome Your Fears

Your comfort zone is the area of experience that you are familiar with. You know you are safe there because you’ve been there before and survived. Most people are outside their comfort zone when speaking in public.

Increase your comfort zone by making small steps outside it and discover you still survive. In public speaking terms, start small, with smaller groups and then increase the challenge. Prepare, know your subject and grow your comfort zone and you will overcome your fears.

Engage Your Audience

Powerpoint slides, speakers notes, and autocues get in the way of a personal engagement with your audience. If you want their hearts and minds you need to make an emotional connection as well as an intellectual one. Speak from the heart.

Try telling a story with an emotional content. Use anecdotes they can identify with. Talk with your audience rather than talk at them.

Don’t Be Too Relaxed

It’s great to be able to manage your nerves but don’t be so relaxed that you fail to communicate passion. Too laid back a presentation suggests that what you have to say is not important. Direct your confidence towards a goal, energize your presentation.

Be There

Sometimes concentration on doing the presentation right means you forget to be fully present. Looking from corner to corner of the conference hall is not making eye contact with the audience. Take time, pause and look people in the eye.


Of course, you know that you need to breath. Even though you generally breathe without thinking too hard about it, take a conscious breath before and during your presentation from time to time.

Call it a Zen thing if you like but a simple conscious breath when you feel the movement of cool air into your nose and warm air out of your nose centers you. It’s great for pre-speech nerves and creates drama during your speech.

Big Finish

What is the single big, memorable, idea in your speech? Deliver it clearly and confidently so they are in no doubt about what it is.

This Guide to Public Speaking Is Just the Start

A guide to public speaking can only be a starting point. Watch other speakers and learn from them. Find opportunities to speak in front of people and build your confidence and capability.

Public speaking may be part of the kit bag of skills that make you a successful entrepreneur. If you would like to learn more about being a successful entrepreneur, click here.