Public speaking lessons from Boris and Daddy Pig

public speaking

1. Losing your train of thought is many people’s biggest public speaking fear.

2. That’s why I’m a big believer in having a script to hand – if only as a safety net.

3. Boris’ problem was that his speech wasn’t relevant to his audience, it wasn’t clear enough, and he didn’t know it well enough.

4. And rather than following the script, he went off piste (Daddy Pig et al).

5. There’s nothing wrong with a story or a bit of levity in a speech – it can be a great strength as Boris has demonstrated so often.

6. The problem with ad libbing isn’t getting started. It’s seamlessly returning to the core narrative.

7. That’s why it’s best to plan what you’re going to say in advance and stick to it – great speakers can give the impression they are ad libbing the best prepared script (take Churchill‘s public speaking nugget: “I’m busy preparing my impromptu remarks”).

8. So for anyone panicking that this could happen to you- the answer isn’t to revert to dull slides and lists.

9. It’s to know what you’re going to say, where to find it on the page, and how long it’s going to take.

10. Public speaking: Rehearse it – and then stick to it!

I posted these thoughts on LinkedIn and received some interesting comments. Some felt inauthentic using a script. Others feel naked without one. The misunderstanding is that you have to read out a speech like a text book. See it more as a safety net. Something to reassure you without suffocating your passion for the subject. Your speech can still be a persuasive performance with some notes to refer to when required.