Five tricks anyone giving a speech needs to know

Public speaking is an important skill in the world of work. Here are five things you can do to become better at it

By Tim Gibson

Whatever your occupation, sooner or later you’ll be asked to speak in public. It’s a crucial skill to have, but not something that comes naturally to everyone.

    Show your audience why you’re worth listening to, establish your authority or your shared interests.  

To help build your confidence, here are five tricks that will bring structure, form and pizzazz to your presentation. Get ready to blow your audience away.

1. Establish a connection with your audience

The most effective public speakers are skilled at establishing a rapport with their audience. They know how to push their buttons, make connections, and create the feeling that they’re on the same side.

Consider a seasoned performer like Tony Blair, for example. Love him or loathe him, few can deny his gift for oratory.

Blair’s valedictory speech to the 2007 Labour Party Conference, including his famous line about Cherie running off with the bloke next door (who was, of course, her arch-enemy Gordon Brown), is widely regarded as one of the finest political speeches so far in the 21st century.

Why? Because Blair instantly connected with his audience, deploying what the Ancient Greeks called “Ethos” to establish his authority. He used self-effacement, humour and a gentle underscoring of his credentials to ensure the people in the hall at Bournemouth were eating out of his hand.

If you’re to be effective from a podium, this trick is well worth learning. Show your audience why you’re worth listening to, establish your authority or your shared interests. That way, you’ll have their attention from the get-go, giving you firm foundations on which to build.

2. Remember the rule of three

Snap, crackle and pop. The good, the bad and the ugly. The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

No one knows the reason, but, linguistically speaking, we love groupings of three. They sit well on the page and when spoken aloud.

If you’re in any doubt, try to construct a list of two or four things. “We need to reform social care, education, prisons and immigration policies.”

Doesn’t work, does it? But change it to this – “We need to reform social care, education and prisons” – and suddenly the rhythm sits much more comfortably.

You can deploy the rule of three in other ways, too. Try to cover three points in your speech, giving it three clear elements that come together to make a whole. In just the same way that we feel oddly satisfied by a list of three things, so too are we pleased by a threefold structure to a talk.

Don’t ask me why. Just do it and you’ll soon see the difference.

3. Use words well

Words are powerful. They can change attitudes and start revolutions. They can win arguments and empower people to change the world.

Or they can fall flat, leaving your audience disengaged, uninspired and uninterested.

    Words are powerful. They can change attitudes and start revolutions.  

Worse still, they can become a distraction: rather than enhancing your speech, they’ll actually get in the way of the audience’s engagement with your message.

So remember George Orwell’s famous dictum: “Good writing should be transparent, like a windowpane.”

The point is simple: use words effectively. Keep them simple. Write in short sentences, with a nice rhythm and flow. Read your script aloud before you stand up to deliver it. If you stumble over any section, the audience will, too. So reword it, making it as pane-like as possible.

Oh, and I don’t need to remind you to avoid using words you don’t know the meaning of, do I? No one likes a sesquipedalian.

4. Be yourself, and then some

You know the advice you were given by every schoolteacher you ever had in advance of giving a speech? When they told you just to “be yourself”?

Well, they were only half right. You do need to be yourself, but you need to be a magnified version of yourself.

The reason is simple: when you’re stood in front of a group of people, their distance from you has a flattening effect. Your gestures seem smaller, your verbal emphases are less pronounced.

So you need to dial things up, just a touch. Be a slightly more theatrical version of your true self, and the audience will see you as you really are.

The absolute master of this art is TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh. Look at him presenting any video (like this one, for Waitrose) and you’ll see how he slightly exaggerates his gestures, going just big enough to be noticed, but not so over the top as to seem unnatural. Watch and learn.

5. Finish with a bang

Greek rhetoricians used the term “peroration”, to denote the closing section of a speech. Its purpose is to fire the audience up, encourage action and give them a take-home message.

You need a peroration to make your speech effective. Build to a crescendo, using slightly more dramatic language and tighter phrasing.

Use rhythm to give a sense of drama. Address your audience with a challenge or an imperative. They need to be inspired to act. They need to reshape the world. They need to go from your presence and be innovators, revolutionaries, people who make a difference.

Of course, if your speech is a five-minute toolbox talk about Health and Safety, you may not want to go overboard with your peroration. But whatever your topic, you should give a clear sense of what the audience needs to do with the information you’ve imparted. There’s no point talking if it doesn’t impel some kind of a response.  

© Just Recruitment Group Ltd

Published: 3 January 2020

If you enjoyed this article, you may like: How to communicate with your employees

You may also enjoy: Just testing: Subaru Levorg 2.0i GT Lineartronic

Jobs currently available

New job
Electrical Wireman
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Braintree
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910175
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an Electrical Wire person on behalf of a company based in Braintree, Essex.

The role will involve mechanical and electrical assembly, wire and electrically test distribution and MCCB boards, cabinets and cable harnesses. The role also has the potential for new product development by building prototype boards and testing boards before product launch.


  • Build and test distribution and MCCB panels to the standards specified by the latest electrical regulations: BS EN 61439 and BS7671 including energy metering and surge suppression devices.
  • Read, understand and work from technical electrical CAD drawings and wiring diagrams.
  • To pick and check all component quantity and quality before each job.
  • To build and assemble wiring loom kits using a variety of cable crimp hand tools.
  • Electrical testing, fault finding and resolution.
  • Production of Test Certificates.
  • To work using own initiative with limited supervision.
  • Maintain manufacturing records including: copy test certification, wiring diagrams, layout drawings and production sheets.


  • Previous strong experience in Low Voltage panel building environment.
  • Knowledge of metering requirements and installation.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Flash Testing Certified.
Read more
Graphic Designer
Sector: Marketing, Advertising and PR
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910168
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Graphic Designer on behalf of a company based in Colchester, Essex.

They are looking for an enthusiastic and skilled Graphic Designer to join their team.

This is a fantastic opportunity to join an exciting company as they rapidly expand nationwide.

Duties will include:

  • Designing and producing marketing material for nine businesses across the UK
  • Each business has their own distinct brand identity, so you must be willing to adapt as the situation demands
  • Manage the production of their 300 page brochure
  • Design other promotional material; for example posters and flyers; for use in their sites
  • Liaising with 3rd parties to design and produce physical promotional materials
  • Negotiating prices
  • Experience with website design is preferable
  • Experience with running business social media accounts also preferable

Experience in a similar role or relevant qualification is a must for this opportunity

  • Relevant extensive experience in design programs - for example, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Dreamweaver - is required
Read more
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: discussed on application
Location: Chelmsford, South Woodham Ferrers
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910167
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Designer on behalf of a company based near South Woodham Ferrers.

This is a fantastic opportunity if you have a Product Design background and can offer Retail or POS Design experience.

Duties and responsibilities:

  • Create new products, including 3D designs, prototyping and testing
  • Execute robust design process and continuous improvement
  • Take client brief either from Account Manager or Client
  • Time management and planning workload with Head of Design
  • A ‘can do’ attitude


  • Excellent level of knowledge using SolidWorks
  • Good level of knowledge using Adobe Suite
  • Experience with the POS sector would be advantageous
  • Product Design degree would be preferred
  • Good problems solving skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good Word & Excel skills
Read more
Sector: Public Service and Administration
Salary: £16,500 - £17,000 per annum
Location: Needham Market
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910164
About the role

Just Recruitment is working with one of Suffolk’s most promising mortgage companies. Established in 2014, this company is looking to take on a skilled Administrator to support its rapid expansion.

Your duties will include:

  • Supporting the mortgage brokers in their day-to-day activities
  • Electronic Filing and record-keeping
  • Checking and submitting mortgage applications
  • Progressing cases
  • Speaking to members of the public, both in-person and over the phone

Ideally, you will:

  • Have experience in an administrative role
  • Possess an excellent telephone manner
  • Be diligent and detail-oriented
  • Be highly computer literate, including familiarity with Microsoft Packages
  • Have a great sense of humour

Working hours:

35 per week – Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm, with an hour off for lunch

Read more
Warehouse Operator
Sector: Transport, Logistics and Shipping
Salary: To be discussed on application
Location: Sudbury
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910163
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Warehouse Operative on behalf of a company based in Sudbury Suffolk.

Your daily duties will include:

  • Ensuring that the warehouse is kept tidy and organised
  • Unloading and checking of deliveries in
  • Checking in goods
  • Putting away products within the warehouse
  • Picking products as per customer orders
  • Checking orders, ensuring accuracy
  • Packing orders to ensure safety in delivery
  • Loading deliveries
  • On occasions take responsibility for the locking up procedure for the Warehouse/Site

Working hours:

Split shifts: 6.00am – 2.30pm / 2.00pm – 10.30pm

You will have the following skills and experience:

  • Suitable applicants will ideally have current Forklift licences for Counterbalance, Pallet Truck and Flexi
  • Good level of Numeracy and Literacy
  • Intermediate PC skills
  • Preferred NVQ Level 2 Warehousing or equivalent
  • Prior knowledge of Warehouse Management Systems
Read more
Equity Release Advisor
Sector: Accountancy, Banking and Finance
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Needham Market
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910156
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an Equity Release Advisor to join an established company based in Needham Market.

Operating for over 20 years, our client has a great reputation in the local area. They are looking to take on someone with a real hunger to succeed within the industry.

  • A CeMAP / Equity Release qualification
  • Experience within mortgage broking or Equity Release
  • Great communication skills
  • A detail-oriented nature
  • Experience of dealing with clients, both in-person and over the phone
  • Strong market awareness
  • Great knowledge of Microsoft packages and be generally computer literate

In return, you will receive a competitive base salary plus commission.

Please get in touch if you would like to be considered for this exciting new opportunity.

Read more