Great Public Speakers

6 Great Public Speakers and What You Can Learn From Them

If you’re planning to give a speech in the near future and it’s filling you with terrible nerves, you’re not alone. Public speaking has to be one of the most stressful experiences any of us is likely to encounter in normal, everyday life.

What do you need to be a great public speaker?

You might be surprised that lecterns are pretty important. Having a good base to operate from can help calm your nerves and give you immediate confidence and stature, even if you don’t feel that great inside.

acrylic top lectern

At Red 17, we sell a wide range of stylish lecterns that will help you set the right tone. We’ve also looked at some of the best public speakers to have stood behind one and tried to find out what their secrets are. Here’s our quick guide:

1. Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

Churchill has so many speeches attributed to his name that it’s difficult to pick one out. His delivery is perhaps one of the most iconic and easy to recognise. It might surprise you that Churchill wasn’t born a great orator, however. He had to work hard at it and even had a slight speech impediment.

The key here is that Churchill actually made himself into a great speaker, learning to moderate the tone of his voice and the pace of his words. If you think that public speaking is a gift bestowed on just a talented few, you’re wrong. It takes practice and then more practice. If you want to be an effective public speaker, you need to put the work in.

2. Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King

With another recognisable voice, King was gifted with a great musicality that instantly transformed what he was saying. A career as a preacher didn’t do him any harm either. What is important, however, is that King had a cause and wanted the world to know. It’s said that he drew inspiration from a number of different sources including Shakespeare.

The point we’re making here is that the words and voice need to combine. It’s no good sounding great if you don’t have the carefully crafted speech to back it up.

Read more: Why Lecterns Give Stature and Confidence to Public Speakers

3. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

When he was first interviewed at the beginning of Apple, Steve Jobs came across as nervous and lacking confidence. He worked hard to become a good, if not great, speaker. He was a master at simplifying complex issues and, more importantly, limiting the time he had to speak.

One big thing to remember is never go on longer than you have to. If the eyelids of your audience are starting to droop, you’ve probably overcooked your speech.

4. Robin Williams

Robin Williams

You might find it strange to put a comedian in here but they are, after all, public speakers. Robin Williams was famous for his manic delivery. While you probably don’t want to introduce this into your next speech, what we’re talking about here is spontaneity. You don’t have to stick rigidly to the script and off the cuff moments can actually add value to what you have to say.

5. Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton

Clinton is often given as an example of a great speaker and for one particular reason. He uses stories in his speeches. Why is this important? As a species, we’re hardwired to respond to tales and we have been ever since we began sitting around campfires.

A story in your speech gives the audience something to attach themselves emotionally. Get your point across with effective storytelling.

6. Marilyn Sherman

Marilyn Sherman

You may not have heard of Sherman, she’s an American motivational speaker, but you’ll often find her giving TED talks. Sherman’s advice is to ask yourself two questions about any speech. The first is whether you believe in what you are saying. The second is to ask yourself whether it’s important or relevant to your audience. Nail these two and your speech should be worthwhile and memorable.

Read more: 6 Great Tips That Will Make You a Stronger Public Speaker

Buy Lecterns at Red 17

We hope the above tips help you give a really great speech. All you need now is a stylish lectern to deliver it from. Check out our selection here.

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Lectern at Conference with audience