5 Tips to Keep In Mind When Planning Your Next Public Speech

Have you ever thought about giving your own public speech? Or considered taking your passions and expressing them with the world so others can listen and respond?

It’s actually easier than you might think! You just need to know the formulas that great speakers follow and then use them.

There are many factors to take into account before the big day, and with dedication and practice, you can brilliantly plan your career or life-changing speech.

Here are 5 quick tips for success:

1. Pick the perfect venue

Landing the perfect venue is crucial.

Whether it be stadium size or a single training room, be sure to take your venue selection seriously. What kind of vibe are you aiming to achieve? Can everyone see you on the stage? Is there even a stage? Will you have help with sound and lighting?

To get help securing a venue, try using online venue encyclopedias that can provide useful information like price, size, amount of people it can fit, and even photos of the space (which can help with figuring out layout for your speech).

2. Market your event well

Getting people to come to your speech is a great indicator of the effectiveness of your speech, and being transparent and simple can help boost the amount of people that decide to attend.

Take your event to the social and online atmosphere to get people talking about your speech! Use social media to create hashtags and stimulate conversations around the topic you’ll be discussing.

Try an event planning site to host your event’s details and information. Plus, this can help you, as an organiser, see how many people are RSVPing, talking about your speech in the event forum, and more.

3. Organise your speech

Great speakers follow a presentation formula to write their content. The formula that I suggest you might like to use when structuring your presentations was developed by Bernice McCarthy. McCarthy drew on the various theories of adult learning proposed by psychologists and theorists such as Jung, Paiget, Vygotsky, Dewey, Lewin and Kolb. McCarthy was passionate about both the diversity of learning styles and the various needs of the different learners in one classroom.

In other words, she felt strongly that not all learners should be presented to in the same way. She created an instructional system that addresses the intrinsic needs of all audience types. Bernice McCarthy called her model the 4Mat System.

4Mat recognises that individuals need to have four key questions answered. In some cases the questions are explicit and known by the audience virtual’ in nature and therefore not yet conscious for either the presenter or the audience member.

In some cases, by virtue of their personality and preferred learning style, audience members have a preference for one of these four questions over the others.

In order to be convinced by your argument, they will need to have their primary question answered.

This is not to say that they will not be interested in other questions too. In order to capture the hearts and minds of all audience members, you will need to be sure that your presentation answers all four questions in a given order.

There are four key questions to address in the audience-focused model:

  1. Why? The audience has a need to clarify the context and rationale.
  2. What? The audience has a need to identify the detail of what is to be learnt.
  3. How? The audience has a need to explore how to use and apply what is learnt.
  4. What if?/ What else? The audience needs to outline the alternatives for the new information, to modify, adapt and create new contexts.

Related post: Top Tips for Standout Public Speaking

Try this next time you have to structure an argument, write a proposal, coach a colleague, request something of your child or partner or friend, craft an email, answer a question, teach something to someone.

Then create your slides to reinforce your key messages.

4. Give your speech and event a meaningful title

Now for the speech itself, remember it’s the reason everyone is showing up in the first place. After writing your speech and understanding what you wish for the audience to take away from it, it’s essential to give your speech and event a memorable title.

Maybe it’s a powerful quote from your speech or a short summary of the topic. Whichever title you choose, this is how the audience will not only remember and it will affect how they talk about your event before and after the speech.

Try choosing a title that is catchy, and that can get a conversation going. Imagine being an attendee and try thinking, what’s in it for me? Or, what will be memorable? What will provoke me to be interested enough to start a conversation?”

5. Practice your speech

So many people say they are not a good at public speaker.  When I quiz them I often find that they throw together their presentation at the last minute and rarely rehearse. Exceptional presenters rehearse. And they rehearse and rehearse and rehearse. Even comedians put an extraordinary amount of effort into their comedy and they rehearse the same skit or line over and over so that their voice, body language, and facial expressions are congruent and make it as funny as possible. They rehearse so that they achieve their objective. As presenters we should do the same.

If your content, presence, and delivery are all well executed, you have a great opportunity to make an impact on your listeners. Happy presenting!


Michelle Bowden (CSP) is an authority on presenting persuasively in business. Michelle has been the Director of her national presentation skills training consultancy for more than 20 years.

Michelle is known globally for her Persuasive Presentation Skills Masterclass that she’s facilitated more than 830 times for over 10 thousand people. Her name is synonymous with presentation skills training in corporate Australia. People don’t say, I’m going to presentation skills training. They say, “I’m going to Michelle Bowden”.  

This year alone she’s helped her clients win more than $3.2 billion dollars worth of deals.

Michelle is the author of the best-selling, internationally published book, How to Present: the ultimate guide to presenting your ideas and influencing people using techniques that actually work (Wiley)She is also the co-creator of the Persuasion Relative Strength Indicator (PRSI) that tests your persuasiveness strengths and weakness on the job. For more information go to:

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