4 Public Speaking Tips You've Never Heard Before

Last Updated Aug 10, 2011 10:00 AM EDT

Speaking in front of large groups is such a common fear that the world abounds with tips on how to master your nerves and wow an audience. From the old standby of imagining your audience naked to advice to emulate everyone from Steve Jobs to Barack Obama, there's so much advice out there that fresh tips are hard to come by. But hedge fund manager James Altucher may have unearthed a few.

On his blog recently, Altucher switched from discussing investing to looking at public speaking, sharing eleven less well known tips he's gathered over the years on how to keep an audience's attention. Not every point is incredible original (we've talked a lot about using story structure for presentations on BNET before, for example), but all in all the post is well worth a read in full. Here are a few of the best tips to give you the flavor of Altucher's unusual advice:
Try to use JUST one word plus one image per page. No more! You think people really want to come to a talk and read a novel? They want to look at funny pictures. At heart, we are all two year olds trying to just stay alive. I'm not saying this in a patronizing way. It's just true.

Never ever self-promote. You have to come across as honest and not selling something. Nobody trusts a used-car salesman. So, in the final slide tomorrow, I have this book [Altucher's How to Be the Luckiest Person Alive!] BUT I will, on purpose, yell at the person from Fidelity who organized the conference and say "I TOLD YOU NOT TO PUT THIS IN HERE!" and everyone laughs.

Simple facts nobody knows. I peek in at talks sometimes and there's all these charts and data. Puke! Nobody remembers stuff. This isn't college, you know! Keep the facts simple. Example: everyone thinks Greece is really important today in the news. You know the economy of Greece is the same size as the economy of Rhode Island? BAM!

Self-deprecating. Very important to remind people that you have the same fears, worries, faults that they do. We're all human. We all have lots of problems and we're just trying to get from birth to death and solve those problems. So hell, let's solve some of those problems right here together in this talk. Remember you don't get wiser when you get older. You just get older. You have to practice to get wiser. Self-deprecation, really studying your foibles, helps with the wiser part.
Intrigued? Check out Altucher's blog for more of his candid and surprising tips. And, of course, we've also got plenty of advice on becoming a better public speaker on BNET as well.

Read More on BNET: (Image courtesy of Flickr user papalars, CC 2.0)
  • Jessica Stillman On Twitter»

    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.

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