Tag Archives: speechwriting

Public Speaking: What are great ways to perfect one’s presentation skills?


by Edmond Lau

A great presentation consists of two important parts: well-structured content that empowers the idea that you’re trying to convey and an eloquent style of delivery that keeps your audience’s attention on your content.  Both parts aim to facilitate the communication of your idea to an audience.  Poor structure makes it more difficult for your audience to follow along and extract the salient points, and poor delivery detracts from the content.

An effective and general paradigm for structuring content that’s applicable to any presentation, essay, research paper, funding pitch, job application presentation, resume, or tech talk comes from what MIT Professor Patrick Winston — an AI veteran with a lecture series on How to Speak — calls VSNC. [1]  Based on this structure, any compelling presentation or paper builds upon the following four cornerstones:

  • a clearly defined vision statement,
  • an enumeration of concrete steps toward achieving the vision,
  • an articulation of salient news and results with clarifying details, and
  • a summary of contributions.

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How To Make Public Speaking Easy And Painless



By  Megan Ingenbrandt

There’s two types of people in this world. People who are comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, and people who aren’t. Some people enjoy getting up in front of a large group of people, and other people dread it. My twin sister, Nicole, is the latter.

I’ll never forget it. We were in our high school Honors English class, and the assignment was to recite a monologue from a Shakespearean play. Alphabetically, Megan comes before Nicole, so I went before my beloved twin. I recited my speech no problem, because I enjoy speaking in front of a large group. We’ll just say I’m a big ham.

For my sister, it was a different story. She walked over to the podium, and froze. You could almost see the beads of sweat forming on her forehead. She then got visibly upset, almost to the point of tears, rushed through her speech, and quickly sat down. It was pretty obvious that Nicole hated this.

This type of reaction is normal amongst people who do not like to be the center of attention. But when you’re a leader, it comes as part of the territory.

So for those of you who hate public speaking as much as my sister, here’s a few tips to make the experience less painful.


Instead of stressing out about giving a presentation in front of a large group, turn that negative energy into a positive. How do you do this?

With preparation.

  1. Get a good night’s sleep the night before. I know this can be hard with that nervous energy you’ve got brewing inside of you, but trust me. This works. Start your bedtime routine an hour or so earlier, unplug from your devices, and relax.
  2. Eat a healthy meal beforehand. Any personal trainer will tell you, food fuels your performance. Eat a healthy and hearty meal before your speech. You’ll stay full and focused throughout the presentation. And you’ll feel a lot better than if you ate a greasy cheeseburger.
  3. Don’t read your presentation, know it. A mistake a lot of speakers make it relying too much on their powerpoint. Know what points you are going to make, and where each one is in your presentation. Use a notecard if you have to, but don’t turn around too much to see what’s in the powerpoint. Know what points you’re trying to make. Then, recite them to the audience. Talk to them, not the back wall.
  4. Have a back-up plan. Nothing is more upsetting than when things don’t go as planned. If you can’t prevent it, have that back-up plan ready. If possible, send your presentation to someone at the venue ahead of time, or make sure you have a backup copy on a flash drive. (Bonus points if you do both!)

Don’t forget to sure all electrical equipment you’re going to use is working. You want the audience to hear as well as see you, so make sure your mic is working properly. That should help you avoid having technical difficulties come showtime. If the equipment isn’t working, the show must go on. Speak loud enough for everyone to hear you, and don’t stress out about it.

Remember, bad things are going to happen sometimes, but that’s why you should always have a plan B.

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Ten Fun Ways to Liven up Any Presentation


By  Sandra Schrift

Most of us would agree that having humor in our lives increases rapport, strengthens our relationships and overcomes communication barriers. People who work in a positive, often playful environment are more likely to stay. Productivity and creativity increase while stress is reduced. We just feel better after a good laugh. Think funny!

1. Open with a humorous story. . I remember the time the lights when out and I fell off the stage. I wasn’t hurt and quickly said, Now I will take questions from the floor. I’m at my best when taking questions in the dark. Before you can be funny, you must learn to see funny. Find the humor around you, in your life every day. The lady who takes an aisle seat rather tan sit next to the window . . . doesn’t want to mess up her hair. Practice telling the story out loud, and cut out any parts that aren’t crucial. As Shakespeare so wisely said, “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

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To Persuade People, Tell Them a Story

Narrative Is a Powerful Way to Get a Message Across.


By Dennis Nishi

Paul Smith had 20 minutes to sell the CEO of Procter & Gamble, and his team of managers, on new market-research techniques for which Mr. Smith’s department wanted funding. As associate director of P&G’s PG +0.05% market research, Mr. Smith had spent three weeks assembling a concise pitch with more than 30 PowerPoint slides.

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A good oral presentation is well structured; this makes it easier for the listener to follow.
Basically there are three parts to a typical presentation: the beginning, middle and end or (introduction, body and conclusion). We are going to look at the content of each part individually and the language needed to express its structure and content.

The beginning of a presentation is the most important part. It is when you establish a rapport with the audience and when you have its attention. More detailed techniques are to be found later.
Get the audience’s attention and signal the beginning.

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Don’t Be Boring: A Surefire Approach to Engaging Your Audience

By Nancy Duarte

No one wants to be that guy, the one whose captive audience spends the majority of the meeting sighing and staring their smartphones. We all know that guy, and chances are we’ve been him, too. How can anyone be expected to pay attention while Mr. Monotone drones on? Fortunately, you can avoid the mistakes that are costing you the attention of your audience—once you know what to look for.

At the root of a dull and dreary presentation is a lack of contrast. The contrast I’m talking about is a multi-dimensional technique that can easily apply to every aspect of your presentation.

Why does contrast work? Because, as humans, we are naturally drawn to it. Everything about life is filled with contrast—black and white, male and female, love and hate.

Here are some common mistakes people make around contrast.

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4 Steps to Finding a Speech Topic that Clicks

By Michelle Mazur

“You can speaking on anything you like. I’m sure whatever you come up with will be great.” These words give you absolute freedom to say whatever you want. With absolute freedom comes absolute terror because now you have unlimited speaking topics!

Ahhhh! What’s a speaker to do?

Before I launch in, this post is meant for aspiring speakers, Toastmasters and students, those who have no clue what topic to choose for their next speech. It’s also for anyone looking for their next big speech idea.  I’ve been asked this question a lot lately via email – “How do I choose a good speech topic?”  I’ve even been asked, “What’s the best speech topic?”

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The Art of Speechwriting


By David Zielinski

Just because you are a good speaker doesn’t mean you are a good speechwriter. The advent of PowerPoint software has made the fully scripted paragraph an endangered species, replacing it with bulleted lists, catchy headlines and whiz-bang special effects. But good writing remains at the heart of good speechmaking, particularly when the intent is to inspire or motivate audiences. If you’re among the fortunate few, you may have staff speechwriters or communications experts to help you craft that spellbinding speech. But most of us aren’t that lucky, which means having to face down the terror of the blank computer screen on our own.

So what’s the key to writing a memorable speech that doesn’t lean heavily on PowerPoint for speaker support? We talked to some of the best speechwriters in the business – who between them have written speeches for U.S. presidents, cabinet members and CEOs of some of the world’s largest companies – about what it takes to write a speech that is music to the audience’s ears.

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