How to speak in public

Think about the audience

Without any training, ‘speech preparation’ for many of us too often begins with a swoon of anxious, self-flagellating, self-centered predictions: I hate public speaking. This is going to be a nightmare. Everyone’s going to know I’m an idiot. Modern approaches to public speaking typically begin by addressing these anxieties (Imagine your audience naked! Adopt a series of power poses to produce confidence chemicals! Take a beta-blocker!)

If this is you, your next step is probably to think about your material. You have a data-set of information (figures for the Q4 sales meeting; bachelor high jinks for the upcoming wedding speech, and so on) and you grapple with how to arrange it.

The Greeks, in contrast, didn’t start with beating anxiety or with organising the speech material. They insisted that ‘the public’ is the most important part of public speaking. As Aristotle argued in c335 BCE in his Art of Rhetoric (the world’s most authoritative treatise on public speaking), the audience is the beginning and the end of public speaking.

What might at first seem like a rather obvious, if overly broad suggestion is, in fact, a simple, easy start toward comfortable public speaking. When you have a speaking engagement ahead, start your preparation by getting a pen and paper (or open a file) and list the most literal, concrete things you know about those you’ll be talking to. It might help to answer the following questions:

  • Who will be listening?
  • How many people will there be?
  • How old are they?
  • What race and gender are they?
  • What do they know about you and your topic?
  • Why are they gathering to listen to you?

This initial step takes minutes and demands nothing profound. If possible, ask the person who invited you to speak why they did so. What’s your audience expecting? Are they coming for a special occasion? The more you train your thoughts towards the needs and reality of your audience and away from the chaos of your anxieties, the more you’ll know how to connect with them.


You’d never invite people to a piano recital, then fail to rehearse for it. Leading a Zoom meeting or presentation of any kind without some practice is equally ill-advised.

Speech teachers throughout history have been divided about whether it’s better to write out every word of a speech, then memorize it, or to make a simple outline consisting of broad strokes. I think you should go with whatever suits you and, either way, once your speech is drafted.

From his success on the sales floor of an automotive dealership  to becoming a veteran trainer and then the adoption of technology for Internet-based marketing, his career has evolved to deliver the skills and tools needed to help consumers. Richie Bello combined his automotive expertise with his robust desire to “take care of the customer first” to become an automotive influencer, published author, and renowned trainer.  Bello absorbed the wants and needs of consumers as he worked up the ladder of the automotive industry.

Over the thirty-five years of his career, he developed strong Internet marketing skills, leading him to developing software solutions that create ease for consumers, and helps dealers improve relationships with customers. Innovation drives success. And, for Bello, it’s in his DNA. took years to come to consumers and arrived in a timely manner, during the 2020 Pandemic. With over 6 million vehicles on the site, features that help consumers deliver, finance and warranty, Bello has met the retail digital age head on.

Bello also is founder of Richie Bello Institute of Leadership and Management, a 501C3 not for profit, dedicated to the recruitment, education and employment of veterans into the automotive industry. Visit


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