Last month, I shared my 9 hints-n-tips to a friend preparing to give his first conference talk in London. Whilst I sensed his nerves, I knew (and told him so!) that he'd smash it ... and he did!

I've been speaking for 10 years now and over that time, I've done a whole lot of listening and observing ~ below a summary of my 9 key hints-n-tips that over several years I've applied and now shared as an inspirational speaker.

  "I've done a whole lot of listening and observing.."

SOURCE: Michael McGrath

  1. Voice-tone: remember, its the tonal quality that strikes an audience.
  2. Count the words: when listening to a speaker, count the words on each breath. Indicate each word by a dash, and each pause by a stroke. If it's -/-/, it's dull and flat!
  3. Be natural (avoid a pulpit voice!): as Disraeli said: "There's no index of character as sure as the voice".
  4. Know the value of pauses: never for their own sake, but for emphasis or to allow the thoughts to sink into your audience. They need time to digest.
  5. The art of whispering: a gentle whisper can have much more value than a shout.
  6. Be authentic: your audience is infallible in judging if a voice is artificial or natural.
  7. The opener: let your first sentence be interesting / memorable / impactful - over the years, I've used different openers (depending on the nature of the talk).
  8. Water or champagne: only nervous speakers need water! Last year, I asked a client for a glass of champagne to be put on the podium ... to toast the audience. An opener with a difference and according to the audience afterwards, utterly memorable!
  9. The power of humility: if in story-telling mode, begin with a story where you the speaker come out second best ... in my opinion, there's simply isn't enough humility in our world today! It's a powerful attribute.


Talk naturally, plead vehemently, whisper confidently, appeal plaintively, proclaim distinctly, pray constantly.