Grace the Stage in Public Speaking

Adapted excerpt from “Secrets of Successful Public Speaking: How to Become a Great Speaker” by M.S. Rao, Ph.D.

“There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” —Dale Carnegie

Delivering a presentation is easier said than done. Most people are afraid of delivering presentations. Research shows that most people have two types of fears―one is fear of death and the second is fear of public speaking. When you understand the basic tools and techniques, you will be able to overcome the fear of delivering your presentation and impact your audiences effectively.

How to Deliver Your Presentation Successfully

First, be clear about your idea. Don’t deliver too many ideas. Instead, take an idea and deliver it with examples and illustrations. Set the context and support it with stories since people always enjoy stories. Share it with some relevant anecdotes. Use emotive words to connect with your audiences. Analyze the profile of the audience members to connect with them quickly. Start your talk with shocking research statements to generate curiosity in the audience. Build your idea piece by piece by using their language. Practice your talk in front of your friends, relatives, or colleagues to gain confidence. Solicit feedback from them to improve your presentation. Emphasize excellence, not perfection. Deliver your presentation with confidence. Conclude your presentation with a call to act. Make it as precise as possible. Make your idea worth sharing. Remember, ideas are the most powerful in shaping humanity. 

How to Excel as an Effective Public Speaker

To excel as a successful public speaker, you must learn how to act and dramatize; change your vocal cords; ask questions to your audiences to bring them back to the learning process; and ask them to speak aloud to enhance energy levels. Here are some tips to observe during your presentation.:

  • Don’t be nervous. Be confident while delivering your presentation.
  • Set the context to deliver the content.
  • Maintain a cheerful note.
  • Don’t go outside the topic. Be relevant.
  • Include relevant stories to connect with your audience.
  • Make concrete statements, not abstract statements.
  • Follow the principle of KISS—keep it short and sweet.
  • Observe the body language of your audience and shift your speaking gears accordingly. If you find the audience is getting restless, share a striking story or use your sense of humor or give activity to engage them effectively.
  • Avoid delivering a memorized speech, which is less effective.
  • Join Toastmasters to improve your presentation skills.
  • Observe world-class speakers. Observe more how speakers say than what they say. It brings an amazing improvement in your presentation style. 
  • Watch your body language.
  • Use a sense of humor, mix with audiences, interact with them, question them to provoke their thinking, and above all, demonstrate your passion to deliver your presentation.
  • Manage your time effectively.

Make it a habit to view videos on presentations in your area of interest. In broadens your knowledge level and improves your public-speaking style. View TED Talks, which are short and straightforward with valuable takeaways. Make it a practice to view one video every day to improve your public speaking skills, accent, and style, and to acquire knowledge.

Each presentation must educate, inspire, and entertain the audience. Every speaker is unique and has his or her own presentation style. My style, for example, is more about educating and inspiring than entertaining the audience. We cannot compare with others, but we can observe various presenters to adopt the best practices that suit our area, taste, principles, and philosophies, and customize them accordingly.

A Three-Fold Process

“If I went back to college again, I’d concentrate on two areas: learning to write and to speak before an audience. Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively.” —Gerald R. Ford

Delivering presentations is easier if you follow basic principles and practice vigorously. To summarize, here is a three-fold process of delivering your presentation:

1. Connect with your audience.

2. Communicate your ideas clearly with examples and illustrations.

3. Conclude with a call for action.

Explore innovative ideas and share them with your audiences to impact and influence to make a difference to the world.

Adapted excerpt from “Secrets of Successful Public Speaking: How to Become a Great Speaker” by M.S. Rao, Ph.D. For more information, visit:

Professor M.S. Rao, the father of “Soft Leadership” and founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an international leadership guru with 38 years of experience and the author of more than 45 books, including “21 Success Sutras for CEOs” ( He is a C-suite advisor and global keynote speaker. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. His vision is to develop 1 million students as global leaders by 2030 ( He advocates gender equality globally (#HeForShe) and was honored as an upcoming International Leadership Guru by Global Gurus ( He developed teaching tool Meka’s Method; leadership training tool 11E Leadership Grid; and leadership learning tool Soft Leadership Grid. Most of his work is available free of charge on his four blogs, including He can be reached at: