18 Speaking Tips to Rivet Your Audience

“Your goal should not be to ‘deliver a presentation.’ It should be to inspire your audience, to move them, and to encourage them to dream bigger.” —Amy Carmine Gallo

image by ArtsyBee
image by ArtsyBee

If I’m going to put my trembling body before an audience, I want to rivet the members with what I believe is important.

I read, Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo. Here are 18 tips from what I learned from Gallo’s book and other research. I suggest you read Gallo’s book for more tips, many examples, and explanations behind the “secrets.”

18 Tips to Rivet Your Audience

  1. image by Alexas_Fotos
    image by Alexas_Fotos
    Speak from your heart on what you believe and are passionate about .
  2. Tell personal stories that take the audience on a journey and reach members’ hearts and minds.
  3. Include unexpectedness in your stories, something that veers from what listeners expect.



image by hornstromp
image by hornstromp

4. Include villains (challenges perhaps) in your stories and heroes who rise to the challenges and succeed.

5. Deliver talks in a genuine, conversational manner.

6. Record your talk and watch for“ums” and “ahs,”distracting gestures or fidgeting, and lack of eye contact.



7. Use purposeful gestures at key moments. Gallo suggests we keep them within the borders of our:

  1. eyes, 
  2. outstretched fingertips, and 
  3. waist.

8. Employ these techniques to show emphasis:

  1. raise or lower the volume of your voice,
  2. change word delivery from normal pace (190 words per minute), and
  3. pause before or after a key word.

9.  Walk away from the podium occasionally.

10. Reveal something new or give a fresh outlook or solution on an old challenge to inform, educate, and entertain your audience.

11. Be able to write what you want your audience to know in 140 or less characters.

12. Supply a concrete and meaningful “showstopper” (a story, a video, a demonstration, a surprise guest, a prop, or a personal anecdote) to stress your most important point.

image by lizzyliz
image by lizzyliz

13. Employ humor and novelty without trying to be funny, e.g. relate anecdotes, analogies, quotes, videos, or photos that reveal humor in a situation.

14. Limit your talk to 18 minutes. If your talk must go over 18 minutes, build in stories, videos, or demonstrations every 10 minutes.

15. Keep content on slides under 40 words with one theme per slide.

16. Replace words and bullet points with pictures and reduce the number of slides.

17. Develop a “message map.” Gallo suggest we:

  1. Create a 140-character headline.
  2. List 3 key messages.
  3. Reinforce the messages with stories, statistics, and examples. (Enter a word or phrase to represent a story.)

18. Develop talks around the senses, especially vision.

Incorporate these 18 speaking tips to inspire your audience. Click to tweet.

What one thing has worked well in your public speaking?

8 thoughts on “18 Speaking Tips to Rivet Your Audience

  1. pamelasthibodeaux

    Great tips Zoe!
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Pam.

  2. Thanks, Joe. Always good info and reminders.

    1. You’re welcome, Connie. I’m glad the post was helpful.

  3. Remember that people tend to relate mostly to one or more of the three senses you can reasonably hope to engage them with: Auditory-hearing, Visual-seeing, Tactile-touching. To the degree that you can employ all three of these into a presentation, you can have greater success connecting with your group

    1. So true, Dan. I’m glad you emphasized tip 18 on the senses. We authors are told to use them all in each scene in our books too.

  4. marilyn leach

    I enjoyed your tips, Zoe. It reminds me of some training I took “Training the Trainer,” which was about teaching teachers important information. It was extremely practical, much like the points in your blog. We were instructed that every 7 minutes we should have an interactive moment, ie “share what you’ve learned so far with the person next you,” a written response for a presented question, drawing an illustration of the last point, etc. I’ve used it a lot and it has had great fruit. Cheers

    1. Marilyn, it’s always good to have things I learn in my research confirmed. I’d like to be in your class.


Comments are closed.