25 Guidelines to Greatness in Speaking

Have you ever wondered if you’re getting better or getting worse as a speaker? Usually when speakers gets worse it’s because they haven’t stayed connected to the guidelines that helped them improve in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong, there are always new guidelines and methods that will help take us to even greater heights. However, that doesn’t mean you should forget about the fundamental guidelines that have placed you on solid ground.

Below is a list of 25 of Phrases that I use to guide me. Once per year I like to offer them to you as a consolidated list of reminders from lessons I’ve covered throughout the year.

Don’t just read this list

Wisdom and growth come from reflection. Instead of simply reading these phrases, reflect on them. I suggest contacting 1 or 2 other speakers to discuss at least 10 of the 25 guidlines. Feel free to also comment on them in the blog. These are statements I use often when coaching speakers and the more you reflect on them, the better speaker you will become. Do the “reflection work;” it will pay off!

  1. Tease them before you tell them
  2. Too many speakers try to get across too much information in too little time
  3. What gets recorded gets rewarded
  4. When you lift yourself up, you let your audience down
  5. Tap into their world before you transport them into yours
  6. Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue
  7. Turn their pain into your promise
  8. Don’t add humor; uncover it
  9. If you don’t live it don’t give it
  10. Put the process, not the person, on a pedestal
  11. If I said it, you spread it (encourage others to share your message)
  12. Never sell a product, always sell the result
  13. Put the result before the resource
  14. What’s loose is lost
  15. Speak to one but look to all
  16. You can’t have an effect if they don’t reflect
  17. Don’t memorize, internalize
  18. Sell the belief before the relief
  19. When you squeeze your information in, you squeeze your audience out (old speaker proverb)
  20. Don’t be the hero of your own story (learned from Patricia Fripp)
  21. Don’t speak for standing ovations; speak for standing invitations
  22. Don’t retell it, relive it (learned from Lou Heckler)
  23. It’s the spaces and faces between the lines that make the line work
  24. May I forget myself, remember my speech, and touch my audience
  25. Tell a story and make a point (learned from Bill Gove)


What are your guidelines?

I’d love to hear from you. What are some of the guidelines you follow to keep improving as a speaker? I’d like to post some of them (with proper attribution of course) in a future blog entry.


Craig Valentine

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