Five requisites of a great public speaker

Way back in the 1970s or 1980s, when I determined to become the best speaker I could be, I bought a little yellow and black coloured book titled: Teach Yourself Public Speaking.  It was written by an Englishman by the name of Peter Westland.   In it, he described and elaborated on the five requisites of a great public speaker.   Those five qualities, skills and knowledge have remained in my memory all of those years.  I’d like to describe them to you – in my own words – because after over four decades of speaking to audiences, I still believe they are probably the most important points you’ll ever be given on how to become that ‘great public speaker.’   

I list them and describe them below.


A burning desire to succeed is essential.  You won’t get there unless you have this.   You need to daydream, visualize, and self-talk your way to the point where your subconscious mind accepts that this is what you want.    Once registered in your subconscious, your motivation will be firmly established.  It will have become a habit and you will succeed.


An audience can always see through insincerity and something which is not really important or believed by the speaker.   The confidence trickster is universally despised.  But the man or woman, who speaks from the heart, even though they are awkward in their presentation, always makes a positive impression.  So be as close to you can be to the ‘genuine’ you.
You have to have a good knowledge of your subject.   You don’t have to be the most knowledgeable on that subject in the room.  But you must know more than the average audience member on that subject.  Why else would they come to listen to you?


Your words are your ‘tools of trade.’   The sorts of words you need to learn are those colourful, descriptive words that can depict shades of difference.  They do not need to be long, polysyllabic words.   The monosyllable words are by far and away the most powerful.  Words such as cut, hit, strike, push, pull, sit, chop, crash etc.   Generally, the shorter the word the more powerful it is.
You also need those synonyms that describe, e.g. for walked: strolled, sauntered strode, marched, strutted, meandered limped, plodded, tottered, et cetera.  


Practice, practice, practice.   Take up every opportunity to speak in public.  It has been said that it takes ten years to really establish yourself as an ‘expert’ in most fields.   Public Speaking is no different.   You advance in proportion to your willingness to ‘keep on keeping on.’

About Tom Ware

I'm into speaking to audiences. My particular forte is telling stories. Morevover, I've addressed over 750 audiences and in excess of 40,000 people during the past eighteen years - excluding those I've addressed in my Toastmasters clubs. Additionally, I've presented classes to adults on Metaphysics and Spirituality (non sectarian) and Popular Psychology between 2001 and 2008. I'm an avid writer, been at it for forty-five years. Speaking is a passion, of course, as mentioned above. I started in 1972 with Toastmasters. My speciality is Storytelling and some years ago people began to flatter me with the titles: Prince of Storytellers, and Master Storyteller. Also, Tusitala Tom (Tusitala means Storyteller in Polynesian) I am also into 'serious' meditation (Vipassana as taught by S N Goenka) Started that in 1986. Additionally, I'm an Automatic Writing practioner and have been able to 'channel' for over forty years. Bit about me. Born in London UK and migrated to Australia in 1951. Started my first job day after my fifteenth birthday in that year. I've been a postal worker, sailor, aviation air-ground man, overseas telegraph operator. I've worked for an electrical power-supply company, been a truck driver, a foundry labourer, laboratory assistant, a police radio operator, and office worker - even an Antarctic expeditioner. Worked and lived in a number of countries, but am now 'retired' and enjoying life - probably as never before. I've been married - yes to the same woman! - for fifty-three years and have three grown up children and four grandchildren.
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