Professional Speaking Tips

Top Tips from Professional Speakers

Here are top tips on professional speaking from Associates, Members and Fellows of the Professional Speaking Association.


“Carry a note book & pen around with you at all times, so that you can Capture Your Creativity” Kenny Harris
Stuart Harris

After your talk is finished always close the loop with the organiser. Arrange a meeting or phone call to gather feedback and to say how much your enjoyed speaking at their event. You will learn and get more bookings.
Paul Sloane

Always be MAD not SAD. Be Magnificent and Dazzling instead of Satisfactory and Dull. Remember to entertain your audience.
Mike Ogilvie

Always be thinking: how can I be more creative with my performance and my materials, to do it differently, better, to keep it innovative and exciting?
Ayd Instone

Always go beyond and give more than your clients (paying or not) are expecting.
RG McCann

Always speak to deadline.
Geoff Ramm

Appreciate your audience’s time as a gift to you; take them on a journey and leave them with a gem to treasure.
Lubna Gem Arielle

Ask – will they remember your key message in 3 days/weeks/months’ time?
Liz Keaney

Ask yourself, why would anyone book you?
Heather Townsend

Be authentic!
Lesley Hunter

Be congruent, authentic and honest.
Kate Atkin

Be EPIC – Excellent Preparation Is the key to Confidence; know your speech and audience, venue location, when you’re on, how long you are speaking for, and check the tech.
Tanya E Mann Rennick

Be professional.
Jeremy Jacobs

Be the greatest and easiest speaker a planner has had to work with.
Geoff Ramm

Before you start worrying about marketing or branding or media strategies, you must have GREAT core content.
Cathy O’Dowd

Check your “you – I” ratio when rehearsing. People are not interested in what you have done – they are interested in what they can do with the information / the message.
Derek Arden

Connect first. No one cares what you know ’til they know that you care.
Kate Trafford

Engage with the audience, deliver with enthusiasm, fill the room with your energy, tell great stories and enjoy the moment.
Oisin Browne

Ensure your rehearsal includes your opening sentence, your closing sentence, your entry to the performing area and your exit too.
Mark Lee

Expect the unexpected.
RG McCann

Find a niche market (Financial Services, Public Service, Telecoms, Travel etc) or area of focus (Creativity, Inspiration, Sales etc). It is better to find a narrow but deep niche than a wide but shallow marketplace.
Stuart Harris

Finish your talk at the time you are asked to.
David Hyner

Get a mentor from PSA and learn from the best.
Lesley Hunter

Get off to a flying start with your speech by handing a printed copy of your introduction to the compere which says who you are, what you are talking about and what’s in it for the audience.
Jeremy Nicholas

Get out of your own way – It is not about You, Your role is to serve your audience – make it about them!
Jo Simpson

Get yourself into the right frame of mind to speak to the audience prior to stepping out in front of the lights.
Kwai Chi

Go to the venue well before allotted time and make sure your technology is working (always think at a plan B just in case something is crashing).
Isabella Brusati

If in doubt, don’t!
Simon Raybould

If using images make sure they are the best quality and own the rights to them – your own photographs are always best.
Lesley Hunter

If you can’t say it in two minutes, you can’t say it in ten!
Simon Raybould

Inject your DNA – your Delivery style, your knowledge of your Niche and your Authenticity – this way you will be remembered for all the right reasons.
Eilidh Milnes

It’s not about perfection, it’s about connection.
Sheena Walker

Join a Toastmasters Group, “the off Broadway of speaking” to continue to hone your craft!
Lois Creamer

Join the PSA and take part in as many meetings, masterclasses and conventions as possible to learn from the experts.
Tim Luscombe

Keep to your allotted time. Make sure you can easily see a clock from the stage (not on your wrist).
Heather Townsend

Know your message – be your message.
Tara Fennessy

Know your purpose for speaking. Are you speaking to serve others or to serve yourself? Speakers that place the needs of their audience first are simply better speakers.
David Hyner

Leave your ego at the door and speaks with your heart.
Sylvia Perreault Conférencière

Look after your voice; soothe your throat with a spoonful of liquid glycerine in hot water and a few drops of natural rose extract.
Lubna Gem Arielle

Measure success not in terms of traditional business ROI, but ROE… your Return On Engagement.
Steve Clarke

No matter how much you’ve slowed down your delivery, you probably need to be slower.
Guy Clapperton

Own who you are on stage. Take everything you do – good, bad or otherwise – and give it more energy and SELL it to the audience. If you don’t know how to do this, take an improv class or spend 50 nights in a karaoke bar.
Robert Bradford

Practice alone does not make you perfect so make sure you get informed honest feedback from experienced speakers.
Mark Lee

Primacy & Recency – catch them in the first 4 seconds, leave them on a high. On memory recall the stuff in the middle is usually a bit foggy – not a lot, but a bit.
Sarah Hopwood

Rather than your assessment of the past, or your predictions for the future, what audiences really want is your unique take on the present.
Alan Stevens

Rehearse one hour for each minute you will be on stage.
Keith Hern

Remember practice makes improvement. Control the pace of your speech as though you are breathing so it becomes effortless over time with ‘Consistent and Never Ending Improvement’ (C.A.N.I.).
Aziz Patel

Simple language (accurate, brief and clear) helps you create action, boldness & credibility.
Sarah Fox

Slides, if needed, should be billboards not documents.
Lee Jackson

Speak authentically or forever hold your peace.
RG McCann

Take a look at yourself in the mirror and say ‘the rest are as insecure, unsure of themselves and just as much a quivering wreck as I am so we’re equal whatever I think right now.’
Guy Clapperton

Talk from your own experience…not from a book!
Kirsty Shillito

Tell your audience what you would like them to do.
Deepak Lodhia

The audience wants to love you, so give them your very best and they won’t be disappointed.
Lynda Shaw

The very best material….is your own.
Geoff Ramm

To keep the words and content flowing, fill your mouth with saliva because when your mouth is dry your brain shuts down.
Wilma Allan

Visibility + Credibility = Bookability.
Simon Hazeldine

Visualise you speaking in front of the audience before you take the platform: think positive.
Isabella Brusati

What you do on the platform is only the tip the speaking iceberg. It is what you do “backstage” in your business and in preparation that matters the most.
Graham Jones

What’s your objective, what do you want your audience to know, do, feel as a result of your presentation?
Jim Cronin

When you are on stage nothing but your audience matters give them 100%.
Steven Houghton-Burnett

You speak in order to bring benefit and value to your audience not to massage your own ego.
Paul McGee

Your next speech (paid or not) should be the best of your speaking career so far.
RG McCann

You’re not being paid for your speech, but for the value you leave behind after you’ve spoken.
Alan Stevens