Simple Rules for Public Speaking

Ever need to give a speech or a presentation for your job but find there’s way too much conflicting advice out there for how to make your words rock your audience?

You need simple rules for creating a great speaking Experience, and you are in the right place.

How can you speak better than ninety percent of the yawners out there?

From the Mouths of Babes, Part 4*

I love my kid. She’s got a million talents. However, I don’t think of her as a public speaker, more like a typical nine-year-old public mumbler. So when she announced that she was running for President of her class and that she’d be giving speeches, I marveled at her bravery.

She sat, she wrote, she asked what I thought about some phrasing, she put a tremendous amount of strategy into it. No kidding. The class had discussed what they wanted in an ideal candidate, and my NYO thought about how her interests could be framed to match their desires, and how to cover all her talking points most persuasively.

It was uncannily like being on the campaign trail with [insert name of candidate whose brain you’d like to pick here].

A little scary, if you must know. All manner of grown-up thinking processes tumbled out of her. Wag the (4th Grade) Dog.

The Speech in the Candidate’s Own Hand

One NYO's Campaign Speech

The transcript, in case the handwriting’s tough to read:

smile enunciate loud

Hi!… You should nominate me for class president because I am interestid in the environment, and in helping our school do more for the earth. I am a great listener and I would love to take our whole classes ideas to share with the student council. I have a lot of good ideas and i’m awesome at saying them.

like um… brethe pause smile frown enunciate

Last year, I worked with other students to write & print the Recycling News. Whith this newsletter we even got a couple of people to recycele at home! πŸ™‚ This year I want to take my experience working with others to be your best class president ever!

Please don’t get your spelling tips from my kid. (I said, “Hey! You can spell a lot better than this!” and she replied, “I don’t need to spell to be President. I just have to rock this speech out.” Scary.)

The Tips:

Smile. Enunciate. Speak loudly.

No “like.” No “um…” Breathe. Pause. Don’t frown.

Best tip I ever learned, many years ago: Mark up your script. You’ll thank us both.

I heard her practicing, and I can tell you it was better than she’s ever given before, because the messy markup did its job.


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson

P.S. You want to know how she did, eh? Field of twelve candidates, in a class of twenty-five. She didn’t make it to the final vote, but she wasn’t sad about it, either. In fact, she was thrilled.

Why? She’s the campaign manager/ art director for the kid she thinks will win. She told him, he can’t do it without her, and he agreed. She’s very persuasive. She told me, it’s way better to be behind the scenes—the guy out front gets hammered!


*Want more posts where I let the kid do the talking? Read From the Mouths of Babes, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.