Seven Speaking Suggestions from Reagan’s Speechwriter

“When you forget yourself and your fear, when you get beyond self-consciousness because your mind is thinking about what you are trying to communicate, you become a better communicator” Peggy Noonan.

On Speaking Well

I have just read “On Speaking Well” by Peggy Noonan, speechwriter to Ronald Reagan.  She sums up persuasive speaking with seven suggestions (some good additions to my 12 tips for Public Speaking):

  1. Be not afraid.  Relax, it’s only a speech.
  2. Think logically about the case you are making, and make it.  Try to imagine your speech being reduced to a headline.
  3. Your style shouldn’t be taller than you are. Don’t imitate. Say it the way you would say it to a friend.
  4. The most moving thing in a speech is always the logic. Never try to make them cry, try to help them think.
  5. Use humour when you can. No one ever left a speech saying “I hated the way she made me laugh out loud”.
  6. Give your speech before you give it.  Read a draft or two aloud to friends or family. The fifth time you give your speech will be better than the first time.
  7. Use your own gestures, respect your own quirks.  Be you.  (Check out my previous blog post on 3 keys to powerful delivery)
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