Tips for Public Speaking: Because “imagine everyone is naked” is terrible advice

Whether you are a natural on stage or not, the thought of public speaking has always generated much angst, and subsequently has been a hot topic of discussion on “how best to”.

As leaders, whether you are reaching out to a wide audience group, or trying to hold a small audience captive, having a few public speaking tricks up your sleeve always helps.

Zach Holman, prominent developer for GitHub and now tech speaker, shares his insights on the topic with some really achievable tips, via his newly launched website,, which offers actionable tips on how to overcome your fear, as well as advice on preparing a great speech and keeping people interested when you’re delivering it.

Honestly, the website design is pretty polished as well!


Here are 3 other quick tips that Zach offers via an interview in to get you started.

These really work for me as quick reminders when I’m short on prep time:

“1. Remember You’re Telling a Story

“The best speakers are the ones who realize that [speaking] is telling a story,” says Holman. “It’s not strictly academic. You have to be a little entertaining.” When crafting your speech, remember to focus on the elements that you would be interested in hearing. Be brutally honest with yourself about whether the content is compelling or not. One tip: Try videotaping your speech to see if it holds your attention.

2. Keep it Simple

Every speech should be distilled to the simplest points so your audience will be able to retain the information. “When you see someone with 100 different bullet points on the slide,” that’s boring, says Holman. “Follow the rule of threes … a simple grouping of things is much more powerful.”

Learn From Others 

Learning by doing is one thing. Learning from the masters is how you improve, says Holman, who admits he’s an Apple fanboy. After watching a series of YouTube videos on Steve Jobs’s presentations, he got a good feel for what audiences want. “He was slow and simple and deliberate,” says Holman. He also knew how to deliver the wow-factor that makes a speech memorable. “In many ways, he was the perfect speaker.”

3. Repeat Yourself 

Cramming every bit of information into a speech should never be the objective. So besides going over the main points, be sure to repeat yourself, constantly. “Repetition is one of the things that make humans good storytellers,” says Holman. “My favourite comics will tell a joke at the start, then they’ll go back to it and modify it as they go on. It’s very powerful for the audience to follow what you’re trying to say.”


Because let’s face it, imagining everyone is naked really doesn’t work at all.


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