How to become a great public speaker

by TomWare

This short article will list the five requirements one needs to have to become a great public speaker.

The Five Requirements of a Top Public Speaker

A long time ago, when a popular series of books known as the 'Teach Yourself Series' was extant - They were yellow and black hardcover volumes, you'd have to be an oldie like me to remember them - there was a book called Teach Yourself Public Speaking.   It was written by an Englishman by the name of Peter Westland.   I remember to this day the opening few lines of that book because they have made such a difference in my own life as regards my successes as a speaker.   

Those lines?

"The Five Requisites of a top speaker."

And they are?

Firstly, a burning desire to succeed.  Secondly, Sincerity.  Thirdly,  Knowledge of the subject.  Fourthly,  A good working vocabulary, and last but not least,  Practice.    If you have all of these, you cannot fail to become great as a public speaker.

So let us have a look at these in turn.

If we are to succeed at anything really great then we need to built up within ourselves - if it is not already there - a burning desire to attain that end.   Once we've done that, our subconscious mind - which is linked to The All - will draw to us not those events, conditions and people which will enable us to move forward.   This desire needs to be so strong that it could be regarded as obsessive.  But once you have it it will stay with you for life.

Secondly you need to be sincere in what espouse.   You must believe it yourself.   It must be a deep-seated belief; even better if it is a 'knowing' based on experience.   If you don't believe, you'll come across as shallow and insincere and your audience will see through it.

Thirdly you have to have a good working knowledge of the subject you're talking about.   This does not mean you have to know more than anyone else in the audience.  But it does mean you have to know more about that subject than most of the people in that audience.   If you don't, why will they come to hear you?

The fourth item: a good working vocabulary means a 'verbal' vocabulary.  Each of us have three vocabularies:  the words we can understand when we read,  the words we use when we write, and thirdly, the words that we use in conversation.   There is a vast difference between the three.   We might understand the meaning of 100,000 words, be able to write using 15,000, but use only about 1500 to 3000 or so in normal conversation.   We must develop a good, colorful and visual range of words in our working vocabularies to succeed as a top speaker.

The fifth item:  Practice, practice, practice.   Take every opportunity to speak.  Join a Toastmasters Club, a Rostrum Club, and evening college class.  Get in as much practice as you can.

And one thing more worth remembering.   Sportsmen and women get to old to perform at their best.  Public speakers become even better with age.

I hope you enjoyed reading the Five Requisites of the Top Public Speaker.

Updated: 07/17/2011, TomWare
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TomWare on 07/19/2011

Hi, Sheilamarie.
Thanks for your comment.
There are ways in which we can built up a good 'oral vocabulary.' Most people have a fairly limited one as compared with their knowledge of the meaning of the words they can understand when they read. For example, if you only use, say, a thousand common words, and you choose to learn just two new words a week, in a year you'll have learned 104. In ten years you'll have doubled your vocabulary.
I used to do this so years back. It works. Give it a go.

sheilamarie on 07/19/2011

Thank you. This was helpful. It's that working verbal vocabulary I need to work on . . .

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