Public Speaking Advice from Daniel Pink

by Bob Walsh

Daniel Pink is an author whom I really respect – and every new book he publishes is on my “must-read-reading list”. So when he recently shared some public speaking advice on LinkedIn, I read carefully.

The thing that stuck the most with me is this:

2. Say something important.

There’s a big difference between saying some important things and saying something important. Your goal isn’t to demonstrate how much you know or to catalog your many insights, but to leave the audience with one idea to ponder — or better, one step to take. When people hear some important things, their heads nod. When they hear something important, their souls stir, their brains engage, and their bodies prepare to act.

Now his advice was specially tailored for presenters at the famous TED talks – but this one is true for every stage you’ll ever speak from.

public speaking adviceYou don’t want to say some important things, you don’t want nodding heads. You want to say something important, you want engaged brains, stirred souls and bodies loaded for action.

That of course means being very clear and focused, instead of long-winded. It means you hit the nail on the head. And that’s ONE nail. Not a hundred nails. Because in order to hit a hundred nails, you really gotta keep hammering away. But if all you have is one nail, you’re going to hit that one nail really good. If all you can give your audience during a talk is ONE THING which really matters to them, and which will help them in some way later on in life, then you have absolutely achieved your goal. The question you as a speaker should be able to answer is: what’s that one thing that really matters?

Of course there is more to public speaking than this one thing. Most people are still nervous when speaking to an audience, and there is a whole bunch of skills for those who want to really become good – and even great – public speakers. The 10 Steps To Powerful Public Speaking is one of the best courses I’ve ever seen to truly transform yourself from timid talker to powerful presenter in a short time.