Sound Bites

Learn public speaking tips and how to be a better presenter to maximize your public speaking experience. Sound Bites is written by staff, experts in public speaking, professional speakers, and speakers.

  • Speaking with Confidence: It’s not a Presentation, It’s a Conversation

    March 28, 2022

    Speaker Katerina Arzhayev“Imagine the audience in their underwear” is the worst speaking advice I ever heard. Instead of reducing the stress of speaking in public, taking a literal stage, speakers are told to imagine themselves in a situation of someone else’s humiliation. Humiliation which is, by many accounts, far worse. Studies have shown that the same parts of the brain are activated when watching someone sustain a physical injury as when watching someone make a fool of themselves. Thus, the effects of second hand embarrassment do less to calm us when faced with the faces of hundreds of strangers.

    Instead, my advice has been to think of public speaking as a conversation.

    If this sounds contentious, perhaps I can provide a few tips on how to escalate the conversations you have been having. (more…)

  • How to Turn Speaking Opportunities into Massive Amounts of New Business

    October 13, 2018

    Tom KellyI’ve been offering my talents as a pro bono speaker for groups in the Chicago area that are looking for a great speaker, but may not have the financial resources to pay my regular speaking fee.

    I often get asked the obvious question, “Why would you want to speak for free?” I think it’s a great question, especially because, as a business coach, I always teach my clients never to undervalue their talents and services that they provide to their clients. My answer to that question may surprise you, as even though I’m not getting paid directly by the groups to whom I speak, I get paid in many other ways that far exceed my normal speaking fees.

    Here are just a couple of reasons that you should really consider waiving your normal speaking fee and becoming a “free speaker”:


  • No-Fee Public Speaking Yields Wonderful Advantages

    Ginny RichardsonPublic speaking. One end of the spectrum is you’d rather be tortured for eternity. The other end is having a professional speaker’s bureau represent you charging thousands of dollars per speech. There is life in the middle, however, and that’s the subject of this column.

    Many people find that no-fee public speaking yields wonderful advantages both personally and professionally. First of all, it’s terrific public relations. Second, it’s networking at its finest, and third, it’s goodwill and community service.

    If you have tinkered with the idea, consider researching a topic, outlining, rehearsing and giving it a whirl!

    Let me relate a story. For almost seven years, I’ve been presenting my crash course in how to get free publicity from newspapers, radio and television. Each time I agree to speak, I drive off to the engagement mumbling and grumbling. After all, I’ve had to a.) get up at an ungodly hour of the morning, or b.) leave my office and the many projects on the desk, and c.) take time to brush up and rehearse. (more…)