Aquent Aquent

Make Yourself an Amazing Public Speaker

By Emily Varns

Make Yourself an Amazing Public Speaker

Recently our London office hosted the third of our “Good to Great” series, all of which are designed to supercharge those creatives who run in-house teams.

Produced in association with Make Your Words Work, “Express Yourself” was focused on communicating more effectively and persuasively when speaking to an audience or clients.

We had three amazing creative leaders with very different, but incredibly effective approaches to making people sit up and take notice. Here are our experts’ tips to make you the best public speaker you can be:

1. Be Relaxed (Even If You’re Faking It)

If you feel awkward when presenting, then your audience feels awkward. If you’re relaxed, then they will be too. As business growth trainer Dee Pattni, put it,“To be a persuasive presenter you need to be yourself, after all, everyone else is taken”.

Dee Pattni

2. Don’t Let Fear Stop You

Supposedly people fear failure more than they fear death. Often that the fear of failure can stop you from trying, because you think you won’t be any good. Trust yourself, you are the expert.

3. Set the Scene

Eleanor Conway, Comedian and improv expert, suggests you set the scene for you talk with a style. This could be chatty and conversational, something showy and comedic, or simply stick with truth. Whatever you feel most comfortable with, will work best for you. A great example of this is the TED talk, Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity, where Sir Ken is both chatty, relaxed and funny.

4. Lose Control

Go with the flow and try not to control your talk too much. If you rehearse and rehearse a talk it will come across as staged, but often things go much better (and are more fun) if you just go with the flow. Remember you are the expert and you know what you’re talking about it. Set yourself guidelines or points you want to cover, the rest will come naturally.

5. Be Infectious

The mark of a good speaker is one that can get their audience to feel the way they do. Let your natural enthusiasm and belief in the work that you have done come across in your talk. This enthusiasm and energy is infectious and will get your audience to buy into what you’re doing.

6. Don’t Rat Yourself Out

Remember that you are the only one who knows what you will be saying. If you miss something out, the only person that will know is you, UNLESS you react. Just carry on and don’t worry about it.

7. Be Memorable

Shape your content into a way that is interesting and memorable for your audience. One way to do this is through stories, don’t just re-tell it, but re-live it and take your audience on the journey with you. A great example of this is the TED talk with Mellody Hobson: Colour blind or colour brave? where she does an amazing job of taking you on the journey with her and making you feel exactly as she feels.

8. Seal the Deal

If your talk is to sell something, then you need to do this subtly, rather than tagging on the sale part at the end. You should be seeding the idea throughout so that it feels like a soft sell. Because as Dee reminds us “everyone likes to buy, but no one likes being sold to”.

9. Encourage Your Team to be ‘Yes’ People

Matthew Matheson, a Professional improviser, tells us that you can encourage a positive environment within your team by asking everyone to think of responding to others’ ideas with a “yes, and..” rather than a “no, but..”. This will encourage your team to be open to everyones ideas during brainstorms or internal discussions and you are more likely to get a sharing collaborative atmosphere. Positivity creates energetic discussions, judgement lowers confidence.

Eleanor Conway

Thank you to all our in-house experts: Eleanor Conway, Matthew Matheson and Dee Pattni for their great tips.

All our speakers will be holding follow-up workshops in London. You can register your interest by emailing

Have any tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section!

About Author

Emily Varns manages the Aquent UK's marketing team, working on all areas of the companies' marketing from events and creative campaigns to email and content marketing. 

With over 17 years in the creative & marketing space, she has worked both agency side and in-house, and is a great enthusiast of all things creative and digital.

- Development and implementation of the European brand strategy
- Planning and execution of strategic creative campaigns
- Sales and marketing alignment

Author's Website

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