Public Speaking


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When speaking in public, the speech will be different depending on the objective of the speech: Inform, Persuade, Inspire or Entertain.

In any case, the speech is divided into three parts:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body.
  3. Conclusion.


In the prologue we must capture the audience's attention and this can be done with various techniques:

  1. Story telling: tell an anecdote or something funny or something powerful that connects.
  2. Rhetorical question: a powerful question that doesn't need to be answered. This gets people to start thinking about the issue, "When was the last time..."?
  3. Audience participation: "raise your hand if you have collaborated with an NGO...".
  4. Surprising statement: "this thing you're doing right now is killing you..."

Once attention has been captured, it needs to be converted into interest. This can be done with three other techniques:

  1. The preview: give a very brief summary of what we are going to see. It is very useful in briefings.
  2. Mention the objectives or benefits of listening to the talk: "In the next 20 minutes you are going to get better... you are going to become better...". A benefit for the audience.
  3. Create a hook with our story telling: for example, leaving a little mystery unsolved "I, that day, didn't know that, when I left home, everything was going to change...".


Just as history has a structure, the Corps has its own structure and its own objective. This main objective is to illustrate our central idea, our goal, in words. There are different types of speech depending on the objective we are looking for.

It can be a persuasive speech, so our speech has to convince and persuade (how is the pitch of the startup to convince the investor and attract funding), or it can be an informative speech (elevator pitch), so the goal is that they remember our words. Everything we say must have an objective. Choose well what and how we are going to say it. To achieve this, we will divide the main idea into secondary and supporting ideas.

To divide the main idea into secondary ideas we use the questions, the why of the main objective.

Let's look at an example: If we want to convince the investor to raise funds, we have to ask ourselves "Why is our company a good investment" and answer with the points we are going to break down:

  1. Because we respond to the market problem (What?).
  2. Because our product corrects that problem (How?).
  3. Because we have a market (where?).
  4. Because we have a good team (who?) etc.

The order of the central speech has many possibilities. Depending on the objective of the speech, we can do so:

  • Chronological.
  • Cause and effect.
  • Problem solution.
  • Sequential.
  • Importance.
  • First the disadvantages and then the advantages, or the other way around.

In the case of persuasive discourse, an example of a central body discourse order might be: The Problem I want to solve - The Cause of the problem - The Solution to the problem - The Consequences for the audience of implementing the solution.

Within each sub-idea, when presented to the public, it will also have its own informative order: Say it, Explain it, Show it and Conclude it.

In short, if the Body is like a tree, at the top we will have the central or main idea, from which the branches will form the secondary ideas, and underneath the data, anecdotes, etc. The final form will depend on what we need to achieve with the speech.


It is very likely that the audience will remember only the last part of the narrative, so it is crucial how we end our narrative. The objectives of the conclusion are:

  1. Summarise what we have said.
  2. To achieve the specific objective of our talk.

We should signal that we have started with the conclusion so that the audience pays more attention to us. Two ways to achieve this en:

  • Through a long pause before starting the conclusion
  • Start the conclusion with a word that clearly signals the end point, e.g. "in conclusion", "finally", "summarising", "to conclude".


  • Summarise what has been said.
  • Closing the circle.
  • Make a quote from a famous person.
  • Tell an anecdote.
  • End with a rhetorical question so that the audience leaves with the question in their heads.
  • Call to action. Verbalise with the action you want them to take, something like: "Now that you know the impact of donating to our NGO, I encourage you to go online and donate before you leave here".
    Several of them can be combined.
  • Use short sentences.
  • Do not use professional jargon and adapt the speech to the audience.
  • Generate images in the mind of the viewer.
  • Use repetition (guide and reinforce the message).

The voice is the tool of our speech, so we must use it well. We must project the voice and give it contrast: Use the right volume according to the place, the medium and the audience. Change the tone during the speech, depending on the moment, the needs of the script and to break the monotony of the talk. Alternate speed and pauses (highlight message with a slower pace (bold), and with a pause "underline" the message).

Body language:

  • Heads: use the full range of expressions, especially if on video. Smile and express.
  • Eyes: eye contact at all times. Connect with the audience. Capture attention.
  • Hands: to use a lot of hand gestures to use them well and intentionally. To support and augment what is said. Hands inside the visual "box" (between neck and waist).
  • Posture: neutral, relaxed and open posture. Legs shoulder-width apart, knees relaxed. If you move around the stage, start with the leg you are moving towards first, always keeping your face to the audience.

When using visual aids, watch out for the symptoms of death by PowerPoint: read directly from the screen, when we put too much text, or too many dots, too many nested levels in the slide, too many slides, too many transitions or animations, or launch graphics or tables that are not understood or cannot be seen.

The process of creating the discourse should be iterative. In each iteration we can and should improve the presentation. First iteration: Objective - generate ideas - eliminate ideas that do not support the objective - group and order ideas - add information - first rehearsal. After this first iteration we will be able to measure the time spent and the changes to be made. Next iterations go adapting and adjusting each part of the narration and presentation to the last presentation we are going to make.

"Finally, practice a lot, and don't forget to smile and enjoy your speech".





Picture of Pablo Zafrilla Díaz

Pablo Zafrilla Díaz

A lifetime in the financial sector presenting, developing and implementing projects. Design thinker. Scrum Master. Toastmaster member
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