The Best Public-Speaking Tip I’ve Ever Gotten

You can save yourself a lot of anxiety about your upcoming presentation — if you follow this simple bit of advice.

Be yourself.

“A lot of speaking coaches who work with professional speakers focus on the theatrics of speaking: gestures, voice inflection and modulation, movement and dramatic emphasis,” says author Robert W. Bly in his book, Persuasive Presentations for Business. “Doing so negates everything that is unique and genuine about the speaker – the exact things that make you valuable and worth hearing.”

If there were only one tip I could pass on to help you become a more effective public speaker, this would be it. Whatever other techniques you use in your presentations, you should never try to come across as someone else – and certainly never try to create the persona of a “professional speaker.” The most important aspect of your talk is you – your unique personality, expertise and ideas. After all, it’s what you know and want to share that your audience came to hear.

If you want to enhance your presentation skills, focus your efforts on organizing and delivering more useful content – and less on the theatrics of presenting.

As Bly points out: “… After the talk, [the audience] will grudgingly admit that the dull speaker gave them some useful ideas. But they will universally feel the glib speaker who delivered no practical content was an utter waste of time.”

About the Author

Robbie Hyman is a professional communications and public affairs writer. He has 15 years’ experience writing for nonprofits, small business and multibillion-dollar international organizations and is available as a freelance writer for federal agencies.

Robbie has written thousands of pages of content, including white papers, speeches, published articles, reports, manuals, newsletters, video scripts, advertisements, technical document and other materials. He is also co-founder of, an online course that teaches smart money habits to teenagers.