Whether you’re giving a report in a college classroom, or delivering a speech to thousands, public speaking is an important skill to master. Everyone has their favorite tips, including picturing the audience naked, but no one says it better than great speakers themselves. Read on to find out how 23 great public speakers learned how to do such a great job.

  1. Be persistent and practice: “All the great speakers were bad speakers at first.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  2. Know your purpose: “You shouldn’t give a public speech unless you want to make something happen.” -Tom Peters
  3. Be a real person: “If you have enthusiasm and excitement, if you show your humanity up there, that’s when the audience starts to warm up.” -Richard LaGravenese
  4. Believe in your message: “If you believe in something, you can talk about it. All my life I have been very, very shy. To get in front of a crowd drives me nuts, but I have a message to deliver.” -Jack LaLanne
  5. Offer a moving speech that sticks with your audience: “Have a unifying theme tethered to a powerful, inspirational story.” -Ken Starr
  6. Seek our your most difficult audience member: “Engage the lowest common denominator, someone with a negative attitude or who can’t concentrate. If I can engage that person, everyone else with fall like a domino.” -Erin Gruwell
  7. Don’t bore your audience with unnecessary data — deliver a simple message: “I speak at nursery schools; benefactors ask me to speak for Earth Day. It is invariably the most challenging presentation I ever give, but I force myself to do that because it really forces me to get down and think [about] the basic message and how can I communicate it as simply as possible.” -Allen Hershkowitz
  8. Speak for your audience, not yourself: “The single most important thing you can do is put yourself in other people’s heads and hearts. I think about what they truly need, not what I want to talk about. Whatever size the group, whether five or 5,000 people, you have to at least try to imagine what each of those individuals are there for. -Tony Robbins
  9. Use humor appropriately: “Never make any jokes in the morning. They’re absolutely deadly. No one has gotten their full dose of caffeine.” -Dick Rudder
  10. Resist the urge to speed through, and get attention by speaking slowly.: “Slow down, especially at the beginning of a speech. You’ll get the audience’s attention by pausing.” -Bob Kerrey

Read on @ http://www.onlinecollege.org/2011/02/01/23-public-speaking-secrets-gleaned-from-the-greats/