How to Get a Standing Ovation


When I started public speaking in about 1986, I was deathly afraid of public speaking—for one thing, working for the division run by Steve Jobs was hugely intimidating: How could you possibly compete with Steve? It’s taken me twenty years to get comfortable at it. I hope that many of you are are called upon to give speeches—it’s the closest thing to being a professional athlete that many of us will achieve. The purpose of this blog entry is to help you give great speeches.

  1. Have something interesting to say. This is 80% of the battle. If you have something interesting to say, then it’s much easier to give a great speech. If you have nothing to say, you should not speak. End of discussion. It’s better to decline the opportunity so that no one knows you don’t have anything to say than it is to make the speech and prove it.
  2. Cut the sales pitch. The purpose of most keynotes is to entertain and inform the audience. It is seldom to provide you with an opportunity to pitch your product, service, or company. For example, if you’re invited to speak about the future of digital music, you shouldn’t talk about the latest MP3 player that your company is selling.
  3. Focus on entertaining. Many speech coaches will disagree with this, but the goal of a speech is to entertain the audience. If people are entertained, you can slip in a few nuggets of information. But if your speech is deathly dull, no amount of information will make it a great speech. If I had to pick between entertaining and informing an audience, I would pick entertaining—knowing that informing will probably happen too.
  4. Understand the audience. If you can prove to your audience in the first five minutes that you understand who they are, you’ve got them for the rest of the speech. All you need to understand is the trends, competition, and key issues that the audience faces. This simply requires consultation with the host organization and a willingness to customize your introductory remarks. This ain’t that hard.
  5. Overdress. My father was a politician in Hawaii. He was a very good speaker. When I started speaking he gave me a piece of advice: Never dress beneath the level of the audience. That is, if they’re wearing suits, then you should wear a suit. To underdress is to communicate the following message: “I’m smarter/richer/more powerful than you. I can insult you and not take you serious, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” This is hardly the way to get an audience to like you.
  6. Don’t denigrate the competition. If you truly do cut the sales pitch, then this won’t even come up. But just in case, never denigrate the competition because by doing so, you are taking undue advantage of the privilege of giving a speech. You’re not doing the audience a favor. The audience is doing you a favor, so do not stoop so low as to use this opportunity to slander your competition.
  7. Tell stories. The best way to relax when giving a speech is to tell stories. Any stories. Stories about your youth. Stories about your kids. Stories about your customers. Stories about things that you read about. When you tell a story, you lose yourself in the storytelling. You’re not “making a speech” anymore. You’re simply having a conversation. Good speakers are good storytellers; great speakers tell stories that support their message.
  8. Pre-circulate with the audience. True or false: the audience wants your speech to go well. The answer is True. Audiences don’t want to see you fail—for one thing, why would people want to waste their time listening to you fail? And here’s the way to heighten your audience’s concern for you: circulate with the audience before the speech. Meet people. Talk to them. Let them make contact with you. Especially the ones in the first few rows; then, when you’re on the podium, you’ll see these friendly faces. Your confidence will soar. You will relax. And you will be great.
  9. Speak at the start of an event. If you have the choice, get in the beginning part of the agenda. The audience is fresher then. They’re more apt to listen to you, laugh at your jokes, and follow along with your stories. On the third day of a three-day conference, the audience is tired, and all they’re thinking about is going home. It’s hard enough to give a great speech—why increase the challenge by having to lift the audience out of the doldrums?
  10. Ask for a small room. If you have a choice, get the smallest room possible for your speech. If it’s a large room, ask that it be set “classroom style”—ie, with tables and chairs—instead of theatre style. A packed room is a more emotional room. It is better to have 200 people in a 200 person room than 500 people in a 1,000 person room. You want people to remember, “It was standing room only.”
  11. Practice and speak all the time. This is a “duhism,” but nonetheless relevant. My theory is that it takes giving a speech at least twenty times to get decent at it. You can give it nineteen times to your dog if you like, but it takes practice and repetition. There is no shortcut to Carnegie Hall. As Jascha Heifitz said, “If I don’t practice one day, I know it. If I don’t practice two days, my critics know it. If I don’t practice three days, everyone knows it.” Read this article to learn what Steve Jobs does.

It’s taken me twenty years to get to this point. I hope it takes you less. Part of the reason why it took me so long is that no one explained the art of giving a speech to me, and I was too dumb to do the research. And now, twenty years later, I love speaking. My goal, every time I get up to the podium, is to get a standing ovation. I don’t succeed very often, but sometimes I do. More importantly, I hope that I’m standing and clapping in the audience of your speech soon.

By |2016-10-24T14:29:26+00:00January 18th, 2006|Categories: Pitching and Presenting|Tags: |99 Comments

About the Author:

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. Formerly, he was an advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple. He is also the author of The Art of Social Media, The Art of the Start, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.


  1. mike January 18, 2006 at 1:10 am - Reply

    I agree with everything except #1, and #6.
    About #1, when JFK gave his speech in Berlin, he said, “ech ben ein berlina”, which in German means “i am a doungut”. ein berlina was a dougnut at the time, the correct way to say it is “ech ben berlina”. But he said it very well, so i thinks its more like 20% of what you say, and 80% of how you say it.
    And about #6, Jobs makes fun of microsoft all the time in his keynotes.

  2. Martin Oetting January 18, 2006 at 1:45 am - Reply

    Guy, I have been reading your new blog for a few days now – I wonder how you’ll keep up this amazing flow of brilliant content. Excellent bloggers will have stuff like this twice a year, if their readers are lucky. You have it in every post. That is awesome!
    And about that “ech ben ein berlina” comment – I don’t know, it never struck me as that, and I am German. If Mike is, too, we can maybe have an argument about that somewhere. 😉

  3. Raymond Hermans January 18, 2006 at 2:23 am - Reply

    Great pointers there Guy… thanks for sharing them !
    Mike… Guy did say “competition” 😀

  4. Jon Sugai January 18, 2006 at 2:42 am - Reply

    I totally agree with #5, especially in Hawaii where there is a tendency to be more “laid back,” I always made an effort to dress up for my presentations in college.
    Steve Jobs doesn’t do this, but Steve is Steve. However, I do recall him wearing a suit and tie at a keynote he gave in Japan a few years ago (I think it was 2002…). Anyone know why he dressed up for that one?

  5. Craig and Lois Strachan January 18, 2006 at 3:17 am - Reply

    Interesting comments. Regarding point 3, I personally believe that ANY speech is given for one of three reasons:
    1 to inform
    2 to persuade
    3 to entertain
    However, any keynote-type of speech would usually be given for a combination of the first and third reason (mostly third).

  6. Mario bucolo January 18, 2006 at 4:09 am - Reply

    What about to delivery proceedings before or after the speech?
    I prefer in every my speech to delivery slide copies or text proceedings only after the speech. When I see that people try to copy the slides contents I inform audience that at the end of the speech an hard copy of the slides will be available or, better, that the slide will be available for download from my web site.

  7. Mario bucolo January 18, 2006 at 4:20 am - Reply

    about of “standing ovation” or, better, attract attention to biz proposals.
    There is a myth, an urban legend…or real?
    A young man looking for money ask money to one of the most important bankers in Wall St. This man tell to the young that he will don’t give him any dollar but he can do it better. He take the young man under is arm and walk together in the NYSE hall. Other bankers see this young man walking so close whit the famous investor and note him. after this walk the young man was overwhelm of financial proposal to support his business…
    Sorry for my English but I suppose the story is understandable.
    So, Guy, a proposal to add a new BIZ showcase in this blog.
    On the web there is that create more people and investors aware of new initiative, but a showcase like this placed here will be more effective. What you think?

  8. Wij Blijven Hier! January 18, 2006 at 5:13 am - Reply

    Staande ovatie

    Ik praat best wel veel…in het openbaar dan! Voornamelijk lezingen en binnenkort een heuse koerzoes (cursus voor de pietluttigen, of is het kursus?) Islamitisch Recht. In het verleden heb ik me wel eens verdiept in de technieken van presenteren. Veelal w

  9. Daniel Jalkut January 18, 2006 at 6:33 am - Reply

    Great advice. I love how all of these points fall outside the standard public speaking cirriculum. In other words, nothing about speech structure, note cards, faking extemporaneousness. Instead we have the practical matters of business speaking. Lots of stuff I wouldn’t have thought about including the “dress to the level of the audience” and “earn trust of audience” points. Thanks, Guy!

  10. Paul January 18, 2006 at 6:48 am - Reply

    Great advice and much needed for most of the keynotes I sit through. The best piece of advice I have gotten about speaking is keep it simple. I was once told, “if you have more than one point, then you don’t have a point.” That’s simple and stick to this as much as possible, except when I delineate into sub points.

  11. George January 18, 2006 at 7:04 am - Reply

    #3 is dead on, no matter what kind of speech you’re giving. I used to be a teacher. A junior high school teacher. And believe me, it doesn’t matter how good your instructional materials are, and how many degrees you have. If you can’t capture your students’ attention, they’re not going to learn anything.
    One of the best techniques I found was to ask my audience (class) a question they were sure they could answer, and then tell them the real answer, which was the exact opposite of what they thought. That gives you their attention for a good ten minutes as you explain why the answer is not what they think–longer if you mix in stories related to the subject that entertain the audience as well as further illustrating your point.
    If you master this technique, you won’t leave anyone in your audience behind. After all, “Hey Joe! Pay attention!” isn’t nearly as effective as “Hey Joe, do you think I can use this water to /start/ a fire?”

  12. Javier Cabrera (ClearYourMind) January 18, 2006 at 7:20 am - Reply

    On your fifth point (Overdress), how this can be compared with what Steve Jobs does? The guy is dressed like if he went out for a pizza at the corner and in the way he stopped to give you a speech!
    I like his style, but what you are saying here is that Steve Jobs must be dressed with suit because his public (some of them) are dressed with suit too.
    Great article, I enjoyed every single word of it; if you keep writing like that, I will keep reading them every day.

  13. Brian Ivanovick January 18, 2006 at 7:30 am - Reply

    Another great post – I just have a couple points to add:
    Make sure your the tone of your voice is conversational. Think about the last chat you had with your best friend and talk just like that. For some reason, I used to (and I’ve seen it in others) put on a formal, overly loud voice when public speaking. Imagine having a conversation with each member of the audience.
    Extending point #8 – try to involve the audience : pose a question or ask for a volunteer. Break down the barrier between speaker and audience.
    Finally it’s better to be too short than too long. I’m not advocating a 1 minute speech – just make your points short and snappy. Nothing kills a good speech like rambling.

  14. Rimantas January 18, 2006 at 8:21 am - Reply

    Hm, should you really speak to people who can be offended by the way you dress?

  15. Don Larson January 18, 2006 at 8:45 am - Reply

    I suggest joining Toastmasters to improve speaking and leadership skills.
    I’ve seen amazing results within my club over the last three years since I joined.

  16. kevin January 18, 2006 at 9:11 am - Reply

    Great insight Guy. I speak about once a month to various groups that involve different demographics and I have found all of these points to be true. Especially understanding and entertaining them. I also wish there were more people that realized that they didn’t have anything to say. I heard one too mant folk speaking about nothing.
    And to the guy that asked “should you speak to people that care how you dress.” Your dress should never fog up your message, so whether you like it not, people care how you dress.

  17. Michael Sperger January 18, 2006 at 9:40 am - Reply

    On #10, I think it was the political commentator Jeff Greenfield who once said, “If you expect to have seven people show up for your event, hold it in a phone booth.”

  18. Jinian January 18, 2006 at 10:02 am - Reply

    Dressing in a suit in Hawaii may be true to #5, but loses on #4. A guy in a suit in Hawaii is an outsider. You can still overdress, but you wear an upscale silk Hawaiian shirt instead.

  19. Dave Wheeler January 18, 2006 at 10:07 am - Reply

    Great post! I would add that Toastmasters speaking clubs are an excellent way to improve your presentation skills as well as an opportunity to practice, practice, practice! Toastmasters is also a great way to develop leadership skills and local clubs can be found by visiting Can you tell that I’m a member?
    (I also posted a link to your post on my blogs, and

  20. Kevin Stirtz January 18, 2006 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    I was just talking about this yesterday with my parents. Back in high-school and college they taught us very formal and rigid rules of how to give speeches. They never worked for me.
    Now, after watching a lot of very good and very bad presentations, I can honestly say your advice is dead-on.
    I would especially hammer home the idea of telling stories. Watch any professional. Comedian, politician, keynoter, etc. The best always tell stories and they do it well.
    Nice job Guy!
    Kevin Stirtz

  21. Holly Paige January 18, 2006 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    Guy – #5 rang true with me. Last fall, I attended a school alumni/fundraising function in Silicon Valley. Everyone at the event was dressed in business professional attire. The host of the event, a fellow alum and a big Silicon Valley success story, wore topsiders and jeans. He was also had more money than everyone in the room combined. His unspoken message came through loud and clear!

  22. January 18, 2006 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    Guy Kawasaki, addicted to Web Traffic

    I’m sure that most of you know already that Guy Kawasaki has a new(er) blog. If you don’t know who Guy Kawasaki is then you should check out “The Art of The Start” or “” or his Wikipedia entry. Anyway,…

  23. What Is New January 18, 2006 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    Public relations, standing ovations and more advice

    Have you ever gone through your RSS feeds and stopped at one particular blog listing because the person…

  24. Andrew Fife January 19, 2006 at 12:48 am - Reply

    Hey Guy:
    rule number 12 must be after 20 years you get to break your own rules.
    I saw you speak at SVAMA in December and you were both underdressed (in a hawaiian shirt) and gave a sales pitch for filmloop breaking both rules number 2 and 5! Also, you poked fun at Microsoft numerous times… does making fun of your former competition count as breaking rule number 6?
    That said, it was a great speech and and I seriously doubt anyone wearing a tie in the audience was offended.
    Lastly, and because you are such a good speaker, why don’t you post your speaking engagements in a calendar on your website?

  25. Hismethod January 19, 2006 at 1:05 am - Reply

    Kawasaki on getting a standing ovation

    Yet more practical advice for preachers. Guy Kawasaki has posted on How to get a standing ovation (see the addendum post as well) on his relatively new, but already well read blog (check the daily page views!). The post covers a general …

  26. alex smith January 19, 2006 at 7:30 am - Reply

    i like everything you said. I remember giving pre-games speeches to my kids before the game and you are right about telling a story. They follow you so much more! good job!

  27. zsarina January 19, 2006 at 7:33 am - Reply

    Brilliant. Shall distribute it to my Toastmasters club members!

  28. January 19, 2006 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Getting Standing Ovation in Presentation

    Presentation expert Guy Kawasaki gives out 11 ways on getting a standing ovation from your audience. In the other word, how to get your presentation to a point that audience is loving what you talked and giving you the best recoginition you can possib…

  29. [] January 19, 2006 at 8:16 am - Reply

    HOWTO: Get a Standing Ovation

    Twenty-two years ago, I heard Guy Kawasaki speak at the first ever Boston-area Apple Macintosh user group meeting. He was a great communicator then, and he’s obviously had lots of practice since. This post over at his blog focuses on what the audience is

  30. Jeremiah Owyang January 19, 2006 at 8:48 am - Reply

    Great list Guy, will take it to my next conference…

  31. The Christian Businessman January 19, 2006 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    How to improve your public speaking

    In addition to the tips he offers here’s a few more:
    Always frame your speach – Use an opening quote and a closing quote that relate to each other. Or use a story that you begin for your introduction and finish at the end of…

  32. Lifehacker January 19, 2006 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    Get a standing ovation

    Author, entrepreneur, and motivator Guy Kawasaki has some great tips that’ll help you become a terrific public speaker. When I started public speaking in about 1986, I was deathly afraid of public speaking–for one thing, working for the division…

  33. tracy January 19, 2006 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    It occurs to me that these points are dead-on both for my day job as a trainer and also for my evening alter-ego as a musician. It seems a good performance is a good performance, no matter what it is you’re performing!
    (And Mike, you must be an Eddie Izzard fan!)

  34. Ivan Minic January 19, 2006 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    This blog simply gets better every day.
    Another great article Guy, just keep it comin 😉

  35. January 19, 2006 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    How to Get a Standing Ovation

    “When I started public speaking in about 1986, I was deathly afraid of public speaking–for one thing, working for the division run by Steve Jobs was hugely intimidating: How could you possibly compete with Steve? It’s taken me twenty years to get comf…

  36. Business Opportunities Weblog January 20, 2006 at 6:03 am - Reply

    How to Get a Standing Ovation

    Guy Kawasaki:
    Have something interesting to say.
    Cut the sales pitch.
    Focus on entertaining. Understand the audience.
    Don’t denigrate the competition.
    Tell stories.
    Pre-circulate with the audience.
    Speak at the start…

  37. - The fastest way to get around the In January 20, 2006 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Guy Kawasaki: How to Get a Standing Ovation

    Guy Kawasaki writes on How to Get a Standing Ovation. I think this is outstanding advice and one of the hardest things to do. I am not sure how much value it ultimately brings to most businesses (how much additional revenue do you get from giving a g…

  38. Cris January 21, 2006 at 12:05 am - Reply

    Very good creative. Thanks for the great job.
    Maybe I translate it in russian. =)

  39. January 21, 2006 at 4:30 am - Reply

    Kawasaki: How to get a standing ovation

    Author and venture capitalist [Guy Kawasaki->] talks about how to conquer the fear of [public speaking->] on his [blog->].
    When …

  40. CarlaGolden January 21, 2006 at 8:05 am - Reply

    Guy, I am a minister and also spent seven years on the road as a speaker. It is easy to get caught up in the need to have a standing ovation. That is more about ego than about serving. Not that you can’t have both, but if you’re focused on getting the standing ovation, you take your focus off being a blessing. That’s my viewpoint anyway. One situation that I had proved this all to me. After I finished speaking to a group one time, there was complete silence at first. I thought that I had bombed. People then broke into applause. Afterwards, many people came to me and said that they were so moved by my talk that applause would have changed the energy and they wanted to just sit quietly with it for a moment and think about what I had said.
    Anyway, just something to chew on…

  41. SemaWorker January 24, 2006 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    Guy Kawasaki on Successful Speaking

    Guy Kawasaki states, entertaining speeches do a better job in delivering information.

  42. Beaconfire Wire January 25, 2006 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Kawasaki’s Tips for Conference Speakers

    Beaconfire is once again co-sponsoring NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference. This year, the keynote speaker is Guy Kawasaki, a well-known Silicon Valley innovator. With plenty of time before the conference, Guy has helpfully blogged tips for conferen…

  43. Solveig Haugland January 26, 2006 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    I absolutely agree with the entertaining part. (That’s part of why Reagan lasted so long. Lots of jokes his audience loved….but I digress.)
    When I train, I always show the students something not all that necessary, but easy and fun. I show them how to make bulleted lists using pictures of their cat, or make text blink in their documents. Just something fun. This bleeds into Kathy Sierra Land (creating passionate users) and giving students the I Rule feeling, but it’s also related to the Be Entertaining guideline.

  44. SemaWorker January 26, 2006 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    Guy Kawasaki on Successful Speaking

    Guy Kawasaki states, entertaining speeches do a better job in delivering information.

  45. LUX.ET.UMBRA January 26, 2006 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    How to get a standing ovation

    Sometimes, it pays to learn how to speak well in public. Especially if you have an important message. It’s definitely not my cup of tea, but this is something to keep in mind always for the times that you will…

  46. Sale January 29, 2006 at 6:06 am - Reply

    This is a great site with lots of useful links
    Good work keeps it up!

  47. Sale January 30, 2006 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    We would be honored if we could be added to this great blog. We are from

  48. VB-tech weblog January 30, 2006 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    Let the good times roll – Guy Kawasaki

  49. Management Craft January 31, 2006 at 2:26 am - Reply

    Get a Standing Ovation – At Work!

    This post from Guy Kawasaki on tips for public speaking got me thinking. What if you could conduct a meeting such that: It ended early and accomplished the desired outcomes The dialogue was engaging, provocative and FUN People felt comfortable

  50. I Like Parentheses (so get used to 'em) February 1, 2006 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    Guy Kawasaki on How to Get a Standing Ovation

    Heres some great advice from ex-Apple Evangelist Guy Kawasaki How to Get a Standing Ovation.

  51. Page February 3, 2006 at 4:07 am - Reply

    Great links!
    We are from;

  52. Scott Sehlhorst February 16, 2006 at 6:34 am - Reply

    Great advice – we referenced it in our post Top ten tips for giving a better presentation.
    Thanks for sharing your insights with us!

  53. JFB February 16, 2006 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    Please, could you spare us the SYSTEMATIC numbering of each of your entries? It makes sense some time, but not MOST of the time. Think of your shopping list. Does it make ANY sense to buy carrots before yoghourt, or chocolate, or shaving cream?
    Nope. You should reserve the numbering to when it makes sens to have an order. Simple bullet points will do, if you can’t accept the age old tradion of a simple paragraph per sub topic 🙂
    Nice posts in all, but those numbers …

  54. iphoting's Blog February 17, 2006 at 11:16 pm - Reply


    Now now, ripping cds to iPods is not Fair Use, says RIAA. Does that mean that every iPod owner has broken the law? Yes, it apparently is according to RIAA. So, this means that there’s no way for people who own iPods in countries where iTunes music store i

  55. Career Intensity Blog - David V. Lorenzo February 18, 2006 at 8:17 am - Reply

    Present Like a Pro

    People who present well are often invited to take the fast track to success. Delivering an entertaining and impactful presentation is a great way to demonstrate your value. Guy Kawasaki is one of the best in this area. He regularly deliver…

  56. medmusings February 22, 2006 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    links for 2006-02-23

    IT Conversations: Gail Neudorf – Humanitarian disaster relief challenges as Emergency Coordinator for CARE Canada at Stanford by the Stanford Graduate School of Business for the September 2005 Effective Disruption Management Seminar, discussed humanit…

  57. Scott Schnaars' KnuckleSandwich February 26, 2006 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    Public Speaking Rock Star

    I love to speak publicly. Give me a mic and I will rock it. I have always loved to speak to groups, the larger the better. I think that it stems from my desire to be a rock star. The only problem with that dream is that I cant carry a note in a …

  58. March 20, 2006 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    The SES China Experience

    I’m finally back in Manila after 4 days of Search Engine Strategies fun in Nanjing, China. SES was everything I imagined it would be…and more. Here’s my China story.
    My SES China plans started falling into place late February. By t…

  59. Managed Dedicated Servers March 29, 2006 at 6:47 am - Reply

    This is a very infomative post, you raise some interesting points. I’m going to book mark this on delicious.

  60. LUX.ET.UMBRA May 11, 2006 at 6:16 am - Reply

    How to get a standing ovation

    Sometimes, it pays to learn how to speak well in public. Especially if you have an important message. It’s definitely not my cup of tea, but this is something to keep in mind always for the times that you will…

  61. eirikso June 25, 2006 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    This is excellent advice!
    However, I miss something about the people that have the courage to stand out. To be different. To do something completely unique in the endless row of presentations on a conference. Not long ago I experienced something completely different thet I have tried to share with people here:

  62. Pete George June 27, 2006 at 11:16 pm - Reply

    I performed at Catch a Rising Star comedy club in Reno last week. Out of eight shows I recieved six standing ovations. I have found that you have to be focused on contribution. What am I giving?, rather than what am I getting? The more you give the more you get back. It’s all about contribution. Thanks. Pete George

  63. Nicholas DiToro July 8, 2006 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    I just got three Toastmaster’s “Best Speaker” Awards in a row. Thanks for the advice!

  64. Thomas Wenzl July 12, 2006 at 2:13 am - Reply

    Very good article, Guy. I fully agree with almost all of your points. I have a different opinion about the #5 Overdress part, though.
    If you are really good, people don’t care what you are wearing. I listened to many speeches, where the speaker was dressed totally different from the rest of the audience and nobody cared, because the speaker performed just great – and often also was one the best speakers of the day.
    The audience may care at the beginning of your speech, but if you are good, they definitely won’t care at the end.
    A great trainer on public speaking said it like this: If you are not good, wear a tie.
    Regarding the “I’m smarter/richer/more powerful than you” point you mentioned. If the person giving a speech also feels and acts like that (“I’m better than you, heheh”), it doesn’t really matter if he/she is wearing a suite or just jeans and a t-shirt. He would come across as being arrogant anyway. However, if someone actually is richer, more famous and more powerful, but is giving his speech in a natural way at the same level of the audience, people won’t care what he/she is wearing.
    I also experienced that when you dress comfortably, your speeches are sometimes also better than when wearing a suite or whatever, just because everybody else does. Comfortable means, something that makes you feeling well when going to a specific event, etc., which could be a suite+tie, too. If you are speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, you may feel more comfortable, when wearing a suite.
    Though, I still think, if you are good and you have someting interesting to tell, people won’t care – even at the WEF in Davos. 🙂
    Just my $0.02
    Other than that, keep up the good work! 🙂

  65. Jeff Barson August 3, 2006 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    Having been speaking for years, I’m sorry I didn’t fall upon this top ten earlier. Makes a world of difference.

  66. ceterum censeo ... August 10, 2006 at 12:43 am - Reply

    Das Stöckchen ruft

    Seit Tagen ruft mein Blog, täglich lauter: Franz, da liegt ein Blog-Stöckchen von der lieben Olivia herum! Aufheben! Jetzt hat mein schlechtes Gewissen gesiegt
    Warum bloggst Du?
    Fast jeden Tag, wenn ich die Zeitung lese oder Nachricht…

  67. Mark August 14, 2006 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    In your case you’ve got a habit of not leaving the stage when event organisers want you to. You rebel without a cause you.
    This only happened once in my career. You had to be there: there was only one session following me; the speaker was from Google, so she was filthy rich; it was early in the afternoon; it was their mistake to only give me 30 minutes; and I felt the mojo.

  68. Public Speaker # 1 August 22, 2006 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Sure I’d like a standing ovation

    My biggest problem with “How to get a standing ovation” lies in the first point. This is interesting in Toastmasters, since you have to speak. Thus you must wrack your brain and think, think, think for someting interesting to say. It’s there, you mus…

  69. simonr - Curved Vision Presentations August 31, 2006 at 4:02 am - Reply

    Good stuff, but I’ve got a problem with it. The problem is with the intial concept that getting a standing ovation is a good thing. I’d want to go one step back from that and ask why we’re presenting….
    In our presentation skills training courses I get people to tell me what their best analogy for a presentation is. For a long time I used “a brick wrapped in velvet” (the message was the brick, the velvet was the way you presented it. Recently though, I’ve found a better one. A presentation is like a glass: its job is to support the liquid inside, let you appreciate what you’re getting and not interfere at all – transparent, clear and simple. If people notice how nice my glass is, it means the whisky I’m serving them hasn’t grabbed their attention! 🙂

  70. Redfin September 1, 2006 at 9:53 am - Reply

    Brown Bag Lunch: How to Get A Standing Ovation Every Time, The Sequel

    Redfin this week launched a brown-bag lunch program to teach ourselves how to be better at our jobs. So now we’re on the look-out for brown-bag speakers to talk about stuff we don’t understand, like how to read term sheets,…

  71. txdave September 4, 2006 at 8:36 am - Reply

    I’m looking for some feedback, comments on 2 fairly new blogs I have and would appreciate it very much.
    thnks dave

  72. PharmaMan September 23, 2006 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Great advice…very usefull! Thank you.I hope to see you again

  73. Mark Ivey's Authentic Communications October 3, 2006 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    Why Steve Jobs is a Great Speaker (and you can be too)

    Why are most corporate presentations and speeches generally weak? Ive wondered this for years. Despite all the fancy Powerpoint graphics, consultants and all the money spent, most presentations fall short of the mark. It can all be avoided by following

  74. Mark Ivey's Authentic Communications October 3, 2006 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    Why Steve Jobs is a Great Speaker (and you can be too)

    Why are most corporate presentations and speeches generally weak? Ive wondered this for years. Despite all the fancy Powerpoint graphics, consultants and all the money spent, most presentations fall short of the mark. It can all be avoided by following

  75. JoeDuck October 14, 2006 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Great advice Guy. Looking forward to your talk at WebmasterWorld Las Vegas!

  76. adelin October 20, 2006 at 7:53 am - Reply

    I think all єто the truth, and that who with you disagrees let goes in an ass,You it is simple good fellows.

  77. Myers November 1, 2006 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    Good work, clauses articles are picked perfectly up.I express you only gratitude, for yours blog.

  78. Robert Swank November 25, 2006 at 3:22 am - Reply

    This is great information, as i am about to start (Energy Savings Assn.).
    Robert Swank

  79. Eric Glazer, Lead Generator December 28, 2006 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    These comments are right on the mark. In particular #2 and #5. If you want to read more about how to leverage events beyond just your presentation, please visit my blog at
    If you’re top objective (at the conference which you are speaking) is to promote/sell your company’s products or services then the best way to accomplish this objective is to NOT sell during your presentation.
    Entertaining the audience and offering free “value” will have them lining up for business cards after your talk while a sales pitch will find you alone at a table set for ten during lunch. Read more about how to effectively leverage conferences to market your company on my blog

  80. Get Help Communications February 2, 2007 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    A Few Thoughts on Presenting

    Last night, the senior copywriter for Web Copy Plus!, Rick Sloboda, graciously spoke to my Internet Marketing students about writing for the web. It was a very informative presentation and, as I listen to him speak, I started to wonder what makes a go…

  81. Kiss n' Tale February 6, 2007 at 5:14 am - Reply

    How to Give a Kick Ass!Presentation

    If you are anything like me – which I hope you arent , you like good filtered (no frill, no thrill, no BS) content which leads me to Guy Kawasaki and his blog.  I have only recently discovered his website but I already love the guy. …

  82. College Marketing 4.0 February 19, 2007 at 1:52 am - Reply

    How to Pitch: Throw a Strike Every Time

    Sports analogy time: When pitching, pitch like a little leaguer, not like a pro. Pro’s throw some balls, some high strikes, some low and away; you have to keep the batter guessing. Little league wasn’t like that. Little league, there

  83. Steve Harold - Hypnotherapist March 16, 2007 at 3:13 am - Reply

    As a hypnotherapist the most common phobia I help people with is public speaking. I always say that if you can speak calmly and confidently to one person, then you have all you need to speak to thousands. For my own public speaking, I found I can enjoy the occasion once I learnt to speak slowly and with pauses. I felt more relaxed and the audience were not overwhelmed by the speed of what I wanted to communicate.

  84. Yo March 16, 2007 at 6:57 am - Reply

    About “ech ben ein berlina” – gelly dounuts are known in German speaking Europe as “Berliners”. In Berlin though, they are called “pfankuchen” :).

  85. El Blog Salmón March 24, 2007 at 2:16 am - Reply

    Diez recomendaciones para un buen discurso

    Guy Kawasaki ha elaborado otra lista que me pareció interesante. Esta para ayudarnos a elaborar y practicar una presentación que nos permita dar un discurso público memorable, memorable en lo bueno.
    Hace unos años presencié uno de sus discursos y,…

  86. Emily March 24, 2007 at 4:37 am - Reply

    hi i have a question i am 13 and i ws wondering what things you can do to get people to listen to you like for example one would be like in a famou speech the use the same saying 3 times so that it stays in the audiences head are there anyothers story telling is a good one but any other ones please i need this for my english oral speech.

  87. Conficio April 5, 2007 at 11:41 am - Reply

    you say “ech ben ein berlina”, which in German means “i am a doungut”. ein berlina was a dougnut at the time, the correct way to say it is “ech ben berlina”.
    You are correct and you are not. First you can say “Ich bin ein Berliner” and mean “I am from Berlin.” although technically “Ich bin Berliner” would be better.
    Also, jelly doughnuts are called “Berliner” in most parts of Germany, except in Berlin. It is confusing otherwise. In Berlin, a jelly goughnut is called “Pfannkuchen”, which means something else entirely in the rest of Germany.

  88. hannes April 14, 2007 at 7:26 am - Reply

    Thanks for the great article. The most important thing in my opinion is that you make something special, something different than others, especially, when there are more speakers. In the end, not the presentation with the best content, but the presentation which entertained the audience is remembered.
    @ mike (1st posting)
    Kennedy said, in correct German “Ich bin ein Berliner”, which means “I am from Berlin” or “I am a citizen from Berlin”. Berliner is also a food, but not in that context.

  89. The Stewart Marshall Blog May 12, 2007 at 3:20 am - Reply

    links for 2007-05-12

    Seven Steps to Better Presentations, by Jeffrey Veen I speak for a living, and hear lots and lots of presentations at the conferences I attend. Here are some notes I wrote up for someone who is about to give…

  90. Annerose June 9, 2007 at 11:19 am - Reply

    These comments have been invaluable to me as is this whole site. I thank you for your comment.

  91. Joe July 30, 2007 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    I am a recent grad, looking to speak. I talk about the way many people become famous from low-income backgrounds, such as celebs, singers, etc.
    I counsel people from all walks. I can help anyone with anything.
    Please email or call me. Thank you
    Joe C. 509-421-7310

  92. Make Life Magic! July 30, 2007 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    Grab a Standing Ovation

    Public speaking is said to be rank higher in the global list of fears than – guess what? – death! Why? Beats me. I just know that when I stand before the audience and pretend Im talking one on one with a single person. And you know what? I lose …

  93. Deborah Marcotte August 28, 2007 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    Great insight into the art of public speaking.

  94. Philippine Jobs September 3, 2007 at 11:16 am - Reply

    All those suggestions comes in handy for the bloke who really needs it: the job candidate!
    Very apt article. Mind if I post it on our career site?

  95. Mitesh Rami September 7, 2007 at 5:06 am - Reply

    An excellent advice for anybody. for this post i give you full marks..
    you definately deserve a Standing Ovation
    i hope all orther commentators will agree to this..

  96. Mell October 24, 2007 at 2:39 am - Reply

    For me this post is very intresting.
    Thanks for that.

  97. Richard Blank November 19, 2007 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    I wanted to introduce myself and my company to this blog. I know that I will be able to offer free advice in the areas of telemarketing, corporate motivation and public speaking. I look forward to sharing ideas with other bloggers. Let’s learn from each other to make our profits grow.
    Best regards,

  98. Fariha Shafi November 29, 2007 at 4:56 am - Reply

    I don’t know if my saying that you are a great speaker indeed and that i myself at the first place give you a standing ovation, for just any simple words you utter that make a great deal of potentional and wise-versa. I have gotten ahead with alot of blogs, expertised bloggers, those in their predecent lineage of literary quest. It starred from and in all controversial issues that come be far streched, politics, economic, war and thrill, emotions and fatigues and then blogging experiences (ex: How the blogger spent his summer holiday or how it spent him). Blogging history is a long list, of expertise, technical skills and immense talent. It doesn’t take me to just thank you, but bow my head and keep yah that we all owe it to you. I wish to learn that much of a 0.1% and you someday are the adjuciator for my speech giving occassion. Untill then, let’s bound to be guru and student.

  99. jef December 11, 2007 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    I agree with every point that you have presented. I believed these points will help everyone struggles in public speaking.
    Please add that every speaker must not only entertain the audience. He must show that his “big idea” when accepted will benefit the audience. Speaking is about the big idea, the audience, and you.

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