A Few Good Speakers Anyone Can Learn From

Whether you are attending a keynote speech with hundreds of people or a sales meeting with only a dozen, we have all witnessed a speaker who keeps the audience hanging on every word as well as the speaker who has the audience watching the clock to see when it will end.  Some people have the ability to captivate their audience with their energy and charisma while others leave us dreading the next public speaking event.  Despite popular belief, public speaking isn’t an innate skill that only some people are fortunate enough to have.  Rather, if you look at the best public speakers you will see many similarities in the way they present.  Let’s take a look at a few of the best public speakers and what we can learn from them.

The first time a thin, soft spoken man wearing a turtleneck and jeans graced the stage to launch his new product, the iphone, the world did not know much about Steve Jobs.  However, after delivering one of the most captivating and awe inspiring product launches in history, he quickly earned the title of being one of the best keynote speakers.  People describe his presentations as an “extraordinary experience” and have been taking note of his unique presentation style.

Perhaps the most legendary investor and businessman of all time, Warren Buffett, was terrified of public speaking when he was young.  In fact, he was so afraid that he would become physically ill if asked to take the podium.  At the age of 19 he enrolled in a public speaking course taught by influential speaker Dale Carnegie.  After completion of the course he was confident enough to speak in public and has since ranked among the greatest orators.

Most people cannot make it through a Scott Harrison speech without tears.  Scott Harrison is the founder of charity:water, a non-profit organization that provides money to develop water-filtration systems to communities in need. Aside from being a successful entrepreneur, Harrison is known for delivering emotional speeches that tug on the heart-strings of his audience.

While each of these speakers brings their own unique style to the stage, they all have one thing in common: the ability to win over an audience.  Here are few tips we can learn from these great speakers:

Get Personal: Each of these speakers begins their speeches by recounting their own lives.  When you make a speech personal, you are more likely to win people over.  Talk about your experiences including ambitions, regrets, or challenges you might have faced.

Use Visuals

As the expression goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  The audience is drawn in to your presentation when the information is presented as pictures.  People are more likely to remember what they see even more than what they hear.

Emotions Capture Attention

One of the reasons Jobs, Buffett, and Harrison are such great speakers is because they know that people are guided by their emotions.  It is not enough to present data alone.  An emotionally charged speech is more likely to change the way people think and behave.


Again, all of these great speakers know the importance of practice.  Whether you enroll in a speaking course or volunteer to present more often in meetings, the old adage that “practice makes perfect” holds true.  Remember…great speakers aren’t born, they are made.