Public Speaking Tips That’ll Help You Crush Your Next Presentation

During Your Speech

Doing all of the prep work should help you feel ready and confident—at least, more than you would otherwise. Here’s how you can keep helping yourself in the moment.

9. Get in the Zone

For about 10 minutes before he gets on stage to give a talk, Nathan becomes something of a recluse. He doesn’t talk to anyone, he drinks some water, he crouches down somewhere, he focuses on his breathing, and he repeats this phrase to himself: “Use expression to create possibility.”

Now, that’s a very specific set of actions that works for him, but he recommends everyone figure out their own “stage mantra” or routine. Ask yourself, he says, “What do you need to be repeating to yourself beforehand? What, action-wise, do you need to do beforehand to get yourself in the zone?”

It might take some time to find the things that help you in the lead-up, whether you do them the night before, the day of, or in the moments just before you begin. If you’re not sure where to start, think back to some other reference point in your life when you were preparing for an important event, Nathan says. What did you use to do before a baseball game or piano recital or big exam? See if those things help now and iterate until you find the right combination.

10. Don’t Bury Your Face in Notes

When Lee first started giving speeches, she’d just read the whole thing word for word off a piece of paper. “It was terrible,” she says, remembering the early days before she became the accomplished speaker she is today. “Notes are like a crutch. So you just start to rely on [them] more and more,” she’s realized. “It’s more important that you’re connecting with the audience, making eye contact with the audience, and [having] a true conversation with the audience.”

She no longer uses notes at all—she just memorizes the opening and closing lines, as mentioned—but reaching that comfort level takes practice. If you’re still working up to that and need your notes, she says, go with bullet points. They’ll help you stay on track without tempting you to read everything from the page.

Notes can also block your face or torso, or draw your eyes down as you’re reading, says Nathan. So if you plan to bring some, try folding your paper or using index cards with just those few bullet points to serve as a reference.

11. Make Eye Contact

You’ve surely heard it before, but eye contact is key in public speaking. It helps you connect with the audience, Lee says, and it’s most effective when you focus on one person at a time. “When you are giving a speech, you should always sound like you are delivering to a single individual rather than speaking to the masses,” she says. “Direct eye contact with one person then moving to another is an effective way to do that.”

12. Use Pauses

“A lot of times people speak really fast. Their mind is racing and they want to make a good impression,” says Jennifer Sukola, a Muse career coach and human resources professional. “People tend to want to rush through and get it over with,” especially when they’re nervous. It’s something you might get feedback about or pick up on if you record yourself.

One of Sukola’s biggest tips for public speaking—using pauses—can help with overall speed as well as pacing. You can use pauses strategically, inserting them right after important points to let them sink in or right before to allow you to gather your thoughts and get the audience’s attention for what you’re about to say.

Sukola likes to follow a structure where she makes a point, pauses, provides support for that point and recaps, pauses again, makes a related point, etc. “If you follow that outline and pause in conjunction with the points you’re making,” she says, “the audience has a chance to let that simmer, to let your points settle and think through [them].”

13. Repeat Yourself

Remember that the people listening to you talk live can’t rewind to catch that important thing you just said or flip back a few pages to find that crucial point you made earlier the way they could if they were watching a video or reading a book.

So help them out by repeating the thesis or main takeaway of your talk, says Nathan. In his own talks, he might repeat that take-home line six or eight times. The repetition ensures that everyone hears it, realizes it’s important, and can process it and let it sink in.

“It’s got to be short and punchy,” says Nathan, and you can accentuate it with pauses before or after you say it. If you have slides, you might also want to put it up there once or twice. It’s like the chorus of a song, Nathan explains. It’s catchy and it’s the first thing someone will be able to repeat back to you.

14. Let Some Questions Go

You can do a whole lot of planning, but the truth is that you can’t anticipate everything, including questions that might come up. Goodfellow stresses that it’s okay to say, “That’s a great question, let me get back to you on that.” In fact, that’s far better than stammering through and making something up.

15. Keep Talking

Lee may now be an award-winning speaker who travels all over the world to give talks and feels comfortable ditching the notes, but even she still freezes and forgets her speech sometimes. You have to just keep talking until you find your way back.

“Get away from that mentality that you have to be perfect. It’s okay if you forget,” she says. “You learn to start to fill in the gaps. Start to speak until you remember. No one in the audience knows you forgot your speech,” she adds. “What you are feeling inside is not as apparent as you think it is. If you keep that in mind and keep talking, eventually you’ll come back.”

And if your talk has a clear, simple structure, it’ll be easier to find your way back in.

16. Remember the Audience Is on Your Side

For many people, public speaking feels like one of the scariest things they could be called on to do, Lee says. They’re terrified of failing and think they’ll be humiliated and ostracized. But the people on the other side don’t want to see you mess up—they’re eager to hear what you have to say.

“If you remember that the audience wants you to do well, that they’re on your side, it’s a much easier process,” says Lee. Focus on what you’re giving to the audience—as if you were giving advice or telling a story to your best friend—rather than on yourself and how you appear.

17. Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

Finally, remember that everyone gets nervous. Those executives many levels above you whose presence is making you sweat? They probably get nervous when they speak, too, Goodfellow points out. “Give yourself a little bit of grace,” she says, and do the best that you can.

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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