Your Favorite Speakers

gladwellI’ve been asked to participate on a panel about crowdfunding and Kickstarter next Tuesday in front of about 200 people. I’ve been on a few of these panels in the past year, and for each one I’ve tried to work in some new skills that I’ve observed from my favorite speakers (usually TED talks):

  • ask the audience specific show-of-hands questions
  • when speaking, pick a few specific people in the audience to talk to
  • try to slow down, change up cadence, and pause after sentences

I’ve done those things with varying levels of success (the last one is really hard for me), but I’m trying to continue to improve. Part of that process for me is listening to talented speakers like Malcolm Gladwell, Simon Sinek, and Daniel Pink. But I also bet that some of you have some great tips.

So I have two questions for you:

  1. Who do you consider one of the best public speakers? Feel free to link to a specific video.
  2. What is your number one piece of public speaking advice? I’m not looking for confidence boosters or tricks like “imagine everyone naked”–rather, I’m looking for some specific things you do or you’ve seen people do that engages audiences really well.