Master Public Speaking To Advance Your Career

Imagine you are a talented person, who is full of ideas and energy but you fail to express your ideas clearly to those around you. You often find yourself nervous, lips sealed or stutter in front of a group of people. No matter how great your ideas are, the chances of others not taking it seriously are quite high, because you fail to express your thoughts explicitly.

The result of this may turn out negative when people around you start taking you for granted and don’t give any authority to you. If you want to achieve success in life, then you have no other choice than to master public speaking skills.

We have looked back at some of the most inspiring speakers we had at our networking events in the past. These fabulous women were superb examples of how the best speakers do it. Here are the ‘Top Nine’ habits they demonstrated through their engaging and entertaining talks.

  1. Tell stories

Engaging speakers tell stories and share their experiences so we can relate to their message and remember it. Whenever you can, try to use stories to get your point across. Dr Christine Bailey (Chief Marketing Officer, Valitor) talk was one story after the next about her career and the lessons she has learned – and everyone was captivated.


  1. Be conversational, refer to universal experiences 

The best way to be conversational is to behave as if you are chatting to one person as you share your experiences. And, just as you would in a conversation, you can quickly get into rapport with your listener by drawing on things you have in common – things that you can be confident everyone in the audience will have experienced – as Deborah Leary OBE (Founder, Forensic Pathways) did in her fantastic talk about her Forensic Pathways. She asked us “remember the interview we all had with the careers advisor at school?” before sharing her story in a context we could easily relate to.

  1. Speak with passion, energy and warmth

Channel your nervous adrenaline into energy by getting passionate about your beliefs and your point of view. Think about how the audience will benefit from hearing your message.  Fiona Rayment OBE (Executive Director, NIRO) was brilliant at this – she radiated warmth and humanity from the start with her story of how she found her first job in STEM and how she managed the demands of work and family throughout her career.

  1. Be humble and vulnerable (as well as awesome!)

These were all women who have achieved fantastic success in their lives and careers and yet it was their humility and vulnerability on the stage that we were most connected to as people. Their achievements screamed louder because they were humble. Karen Melonie Gould shared how she experienced failure and frustration in her early attempts to get her business off the ground – but didn’t give up. As she put it, “It’s not over until you decide it’s over”.

6. Start strong

Penny Haslam got the party going straight away with her positive energy and engaging delivery. We immediately knew we were in good hands.

7. Be useful and interesting (have a point)

Ali Gayward, Commercial Manager of Easyjet, shared how she manages her gruelling schedule of international travel with advice that was relevant to even the most deskbound of workers. She reflected “It’s all about your mindset. You decide: ‘Am I going to be excited or going to be tired by doing this?’ because you are telling yourself how it will be.”

8. Be generous (credit others, share the stage, refer to other speakers)

Leisa Docherty, director of diversity and inclusion at Sage, was a brilliant example. She started her talk by immediately complimenting the previous speaker on her talk by saying “Well, you’re a hard act to follow! And funny too!” It was generous, confident and we instantly liked her.

9. End Strong

Deborah Mills must surely win the inspiring quote of the day from her closing remarks. After a riveting talk on her experiences working in advertising, she imparted some great advice on how to climb the corporate ladder and then closed with “Finally, it is sometimes difficult, but you have to just pick yourself up, pull up your big girl pants, think ‘teeth & tits’ and head out the door!”. Brilliant closing.

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