Monday, 2 May 2016

Free Chapter―Professor M.S. Rao’s Book “Secrets of Successful Public Speaking: How to Become a Great Speaker”

Dear friends,

Here is the free chapter of my award-winning book, “Secrets of Successful Public Speaking: How to Become a Great Speaker.” You may share your thoughts about this book on social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 


"Of all the talents bestowed upon men, none is so precious as the gift of oratory. He who enjoys it wields a power more durable than that of a great king. He is an independent force in the world. Abandoned by his party, betrayed by his friends, stripped of his offices, whoever can command this power is still formidable." ―Winston Churchill

Welcome to Secrets of Successful Public Speaking: How to Become a Great Speaker.  Basically, I author books on executive education, coaching, and leadership. But this book is on public speaking skills to deliver your presentations successfully without any anxiety.  As an international keynote speaker, I have been thinking to author a book on this topic for many years but I was preoccupied with other commitments that include training, research, and consultancy. In fact, speaking is different from writing. Additionally, to author a book on public speaking skills requires a lot of time and above all, passion. Since I am on a sabbatical currently, I have authored this on it to cater to educators, entrepreneurs, learners, and leaders to improve their public speaking skills.

I am mostly self-taught because I don’t have any mentor or guru. During my 38 years of diversified experience that includes military, teaching, training, research, and consultancy, I observed several speakers. Additionally, I have learned public speaking from my successes and failures and, of course, more from my failures.  Hence, I share with you my successes and failures to enable you to adopt my successful practices and learn lessons from my failures to become a great speaker and presenter.

Is Public Speaking an Art or Craft?

Most people are afraid of speaking in public places. Study shows that people are scared of two things—first on death and second on public speaking. It is basically the fear that they might make mistakes or others might make fun of them if their speeches go wrong. Hence, people hesitate to speak in public places. Of course, there are many other reasons why people are apprehensive to speak in public places. Several thinkers have doubts about whether public speaking is an art or craft. The fact is that public speaking is both an art and craft.  

Is Public Speaking a Talent or Skill?

Several people have doubts about whether public speaking is a skill or talent. It is certainly a skill, not a talent. Skills can be acquired from training, reading, observation, practice, and experience. In contrast, talent is something people are blessed with.  They acquire from their parents by birth. If people are blessed with public speaking, it is a boon. Otherwise, people can hone this skill by reading various books, observing other speakers and practicing it. Hence, public speaking is a skill. There are several internationally renowned speakers who had their reservations when they started to speak but improved and finally to become great orators.

Presentation versus Public Speaking Skills

People often use “presentation” and “public speaking” interchangeably. In fact, there is often confusion between them. Public speaking is general in nature while the presentation is specific in nature. Presentation often involves usage of slides while public speaking involves usage of spoken communication skills. Presentation involves a small audience while public speaking involves a huge audience. There is intimacy with the audiences in presentation while there is no such intimacy in public speaking.  Therefore, public speakers will have lesser interaction than the presenters. Despite these differences in presentation and public speaking, the challenges remain more or less the same for the presenters and speakers at the core level while getting their messages across to their audiences. 

Advantages of Public Speaking Skills

As a public speaker, you organize your thoughts and speak clearly, logically and analytically. You learn to focus on what is required leaving the unwanted to the trash.  You enhance your interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and spontaneity. You build your confidence and equip with competence. You become a good listener, speaker, and leader. You will be able to inspire others and make a difference.

As a public speaker, you increase your visibility in the workplace professionally. You build more connections. You develop interpersonal skills to handle various people. You can handle office bullies and difficult people. You will become more assertive. You will be able to communicate effectively with others and avert any conflicts and miscommunication. You can mentor or coach your colleagues. You can make your presence felt within your industry or sector. You get offers to deliver seminars and keynote conferences. Your market value goes up rapidly.  You can grow as a celebrity. You will be surrounded by more people. You can grow as a thought leader. To summarize, you build your credibility, enhance your visibility and build your leadership brand. You will be more marketable with ample employment opportunities. You can strengthen your CV. You can become a successful educator, entrepreneur, and leader with your public speaking skills.

Learn Leadership and Public Speaking by Practice

As you learn leadership by practice, you learn public speaking skills by practice. It requires immense passion to excel as a leader and speaker. When you look at most leaders, they are orators. They utilize public speaking skills to grow as great leaders. When you look at Winston Churchill, he played a crucial role during the Second World War. He provided a ray of hope when the entire world was beset with war clouds. He took the world out of war clouds. Hence, public speaking skill is an asset. You may be betrayed by everybody including your friends and well-wishers but the command on your public speaking will not let you down. It is more than a friend and will stand by you forever. Hence, acquire the public speaking skill to survive during tough times and thrive during your great times. 

Tools to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

Here are some tools to improve your public speaking skills.  
  • Attend training programs to observe the presentation styles of various speakers. Find out what makes each speaker stand out from others. Ask questions at the end of the session to overcome your apprehensions.  
  • Maintain a journal and jot down their ideas and insights. You can read them during your free time to understand and absorb the content.
  • Observe videos of eminent speakers to find out how they inspire others. How each speaker begins her/his presentation? How each speaker connects with audience members? How each speaker responds to the question and answer session? 
  • When you observe various speakers speak, you evolve your own style of speaking.
  • Practice presenting in front of small groups until you become more comfortable and confident. Gradually go in front of huge audiences to speak.
  • Be confident about your content.
  • Take feedback from your audiences to find out your strengths and weaknesses. Consolidate your strengths and concentrate on your concerns to overcome.
  • Practice regularly.
  • Hire a public speaking coach, if possible. You can overcome your anxieties and acquire public speaking skill within a short span.

If you want to learn swimming, you must practice. If you want to learn driving, you must practice. Similarly, if you want to learn public speaking, you must practice. Therefore, everything boils down to practice. The practice is the key to excellence and perfection. Hence, learn the art and craft of public speaking to grow as a great speaker and orator.

Public Speaking is a Lucrative Career

Presentation skills are pivotal for all professionals to convey their ideas and insights and to market their products and services to their customers. These skills are required from top to bottom of a corporate ladder either to communicate within the organization or outside the organization. They are imperative in the workplace, and in social life to present your ideas, insights, and viewpoints. It helps you showcase your strengths in the presence of all members.  There are many people who have huge potential and knowledge but are scared of delivering their speeches in public places.  It is for this reason several professional courses are offered to train and groom you as presenters and speakers.  The presentation skills are an integral part of business communication as businesses must constantly communicate with their stakeholders including customers, suppliers, financial institutions, government agencies, and employees. 

Most managers and leaders are aware that public speaking is crucial to their career success. But they have innumerable apprehensions and anxieties. If they are persuaded that public speaking is like a simple speaking with only a difference of more people viewing them, listening to them and questioning them, it is easy to overcome their anxieties and apprehensions.

Some senior leaders and CEOs hire coaches to acquire public speaking skills. When you look at Mark Zuckerburg, the CEO of Facebook, he had inhibitions to speak in public places initially. Gradually he improved because he understood the significance of hiring a coach to improve his behavior. Similarly, many leaders understand the importance of acquiring public speaking skills to enhance their career prospects.

Most companies understand the importance of public speaking skills and conduct training programs regularly to enable their executives to communicate effectively with others. For instance, John Chambers Cisco CEO emphasizes public speaking and encourages their executives to ensure smooth communication within the organization. Ron Ricci, Cisco’s Vice President of Customer Experience Services explains, “The world is changing so fast that your ability to keep up as a communicator requires constant reinforcement and feedback. For John Chambers, a big part of feedback is not just how the presentation is delivered, but how the content is received. It’s a barometer of whether we’re sticking to our ‘True North’ of being a customer-centric company.”

If you want to succeed in your career, you must know how to write and speak well. They are the deciding factors in the current corporate world. Hence, acquire both writing and speaking skills to stand out from others.

Public speaking is a transferable a skill that can be applied in any industry and sector irrespective of its size. Treat learning public speaking skills as an investment, not an expense. Acquire this art and craft to fast-track your career, earn great money and build your leadership brand. You can thrive in any industry. Remember, public speaking is a lucrative career!


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Professor M.S. Rao
Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India

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This is a nonprofit blog to share Professor M.S. Rao’s passion and vision to build one million students as global leaders by 2030. Please don't cut articles from my blog and redistribute by email or post to the web. The use of this material is free provided copyright is acknowledged and reference or link is made to the Blog  This material may not be sold, or published in any form, or used in the provision of business services to a third party without permission.


  1. Congrats on another book on business communication! Keep tranforming the world.

  2. There is a huge demand for books on public speaking. I am sure your experience as an international leadership keynote speaker and being the author of many books will make this book a great success globally. I wish you good luck!

  3. Sir, I wish you good luck with your new book.
    You keep exploring various types of topics. May this book be a New York Times bestselling book!

  4. Thanks for sharing free sample chapters in advance. It outlines your idea about the book. You must cover public speaking from the perspective of leaders and CEOs to create more sales for this book.
    I am confident that this book will overtake the sales of your bestselling book '21 success sutras for CEOs'. Good luck!

  5. life made easy by this article sir. Simple steps to improve Public Speaking skills. This book will be the best book sir.

  6. Hi Shreya!
    Thanks for your kindheart and wishes.