Field of Science

My guide to better talks

I like public speaking, and would like to be better at it. Two rules I have been living by are:
  1. Love the words that you speak
  2. Always have something to say
Number 2 is a general rule, as it means that you should have done something, thought about something, and have formed an opinion that you can speak about.

All very well, until the day I saw myself on video giving a talk that I had not practiced, thinking I'd be fine and convey the points I wanted to. I did convey those points, but was also horrified at some things that I did. I made some observations, and here is the list to remedy those deficiencies:
  1. Stand up straight (I have bad posture)
  2. Speak clearly (no mumbling)
  3. Finish sentences (no trailing sentences)
  4. Speak precisely (say only what you need to say)
  5. Shave and get a hair-cut (don't look like a bum)
  6. Be modest (don't be smug)
  7. Arms down (or think about your gesturing, at least)
3 to 9 apply to me, and are not general rules. I do think different styles of speaking can allow for breaking each of these, but in general they are good to follow. Either way, I really need to work on them.

Here's Hans Rosling, my favorite speaker.


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