Public Speaking Tips – Q&A Series

Today’s Q&A Series is on a topic that might make some of you break out into cold sweats. That’s right, public speaking. Take a big breath. You got this.



Successful public speaking comes down to having confidence in the message you’re delivering. When you focus on what you’re saying, you’re training your brain to process automatically and come up with information ahead of time. Check out my post 5 Tips on Speaking Without Fear for even more speaking pointers.

“When you freak, you freeze.” – Chris LoCurto

Speaking of speaking… you can get Five Free Audio Lessons on Culture from a talk I did with Inc. Magazine just for subscribing to the blog.

Question: In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, what’s your favorite speech of all time?



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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.

14 thoughts on “Public Speaking Tips – Q&A Series”

  1. Really hard to pick a favorite. One of the first that comes to mind is Lou Gehrig’s “Farewell To Baseball” address. Even if you’re not a sports fan, how can you listen to that speech and not have a tear in your eye? Faced with a debilitating, career-ending disease, Gehrig does nothing but stand proud and thankful for all of his blessings.

    A close second, of course, would HAVE to be the Entre-One Day speech Chris gave featuring the “Dang, This Hurts!” story! It was even better hearing in person than reading it!

  2. The nose-trimmer speech you just delivered has to be one of my all-time favorites 🙂

    Public speaking is a topic near and dear to my heart. Definitely practicing is the only way to master it. I recently learned a trick from vocal coach Roger Love to eliminate the uhms and ahs. Stretch out your words and connect them. If you don’t leave long pauses in between, your brain won’t try to insert a filler. If you say: “This… is going to… be…. a fantastic…. day” your brain will make you say “This, uh, is going to, uhm… be, like, a fantastic, uhm, day”. Stretch the words and say “Thisisgooooingtobeeeeafaaaaantasticday”. Looks silly when you spell it, but it works.

    As far as great speeches, I love Margaret Edson’s 2008 commencement speech at Smith College.

    Bad news for everyone. We are all public speakers! Being an effective speaker may not be easy, but it is a skill that we can all learn and master. And, of course, you can always watch Chris LoCurto videos to learn how it’s done. 🙂

  3. Man, that was smooth…

    Hard to say “all time” – but in 2010 I had the pleasure of hearing Captain Sully Sullenberger speak about the successful water landing of flight 1549 in the Hudson River – that talk was amazing!

  4. I love that ending, Chris!

    I have struggled with public speaking as long as I can think of. Before high school, public speaking was not an option – I came just short of passing out and having to change my shorts. And, no, trying to picture people in their underwear never worked for me – probably made it worse 🙂

    Since the time that God called me to preach, I never turn down opportunities to speak/preach, even though I’ve struggled with the filler words. My wife used to count my “ums” while I preached instead of taking notes – that was a wake-up moment for me. I started to work on overcoming my fear.

    Starting my podcast has been one of the greatest helps for me. I was really bad when I started and spent more time editing “ums” out that I did recording. I sometimes trimmed 2-3 minutes off by the time I was done. I’ve gotten much better and more comfortable. There are three main factors (struggles) that I have now:

    1. Preparation. I don’t always prepare like I should. I try to “go with the flow” but then it backfires.

    2. Talking too fast. I keep my brain going, but I talk faster than I can push it out. One reason for this is because I listen to podcasts at 2x, so I find myself talking faster as a result. I need to slow myself down.

    3. Tiredness. When I’m too tired, the spark plugs in my brain don’t fire right and I also tend to slur my words more.

    So, I’ve at least been able to identify my problem areas. I just need to work on them and pay attention while I’m speaking.

    I probably could have made this blog post…but here it is for you anyway!

    1. Josh, the important thing is that you are doing it. Just think of the amazing guests you’ve interviewed on your podcast. That’s a HUGE step!! Keep on keeping on and it will get easier!

      1. Having the podcast is HUGE! That’s pretty impressive, Josh!
        I would still be terrified to be sitting ALONE, recording a podcast, let alone standing before a huge group of people! Public speaking paralyzes me! I know I have to get over that someday.

  5. That was fun, Chris!

    It takes conscious effort to eliminate the fillers from speech. Lily is right – slowing down and connecting words helps. One of my prouder moments was once after a radio interview, my very critical older sister called and said “You didn’t say ‘um’ once!”

    People are afraid they will forget what they had planned, so they talk too fast. Chris, you are right in that it doesn’t matter – just let one thought lead to another and you’ll find your way back. (I know you didn’t say it that way, but that’s how I heard it.)

    Having confidence is the largest piece of public speaking – hold your head up, Joshua Rivers! If God provides the message for you, you can have ABSOLUTE confidence in it!

  6. Awesome Chris! Thanks for answering my questions.

    This is great advice! You should be a consultant or something? 😉

    I totally agree about the confidence thing. It’s so fascinating how people’s confidence affects their actions. Of course, I’m sure even you still get butterfly’s.

    I’ve found that knowing the content I’m intending on presenting really helps me when I’m speaking on a topic. For me, that means practice, as long as it’s not scripted.

  7. YOU are hilarious LoCurto and pretty DANG awesome!

    Hey, THANK YOU about the thinking concept. I did a “sizzle reel” last week for a TV owner – it was a hoot! I have to admit though in doing this I was trying to be all professional and memorize everything (this is NOT my personality style) as it was just a 3 minute video. My awesome 22 time Emmy award winning producer friend that I have no business knowing said STOP after the 10th take because I kept stumbling on my words. I was trying so hard that I was trying to read the words in my mind like a book and couldn’t keep up. He then just starting asking questions – well that is all it took as my personality style flew over the words. Even my body language changed. (Here is the final product:

    Anyways after doing this I thought I gotta do this in my talks as my style is NOT to be polished polly perfect – it is authentic and engaging – your message clicked tonight as I have a talk coming up on Tuesday in Nashville that I am going to incorporate this awesome trick on. Thank you!

  8. Really awesome tips here, I totally agree with the overriding theme that with practice come more confidence and then build on this.

    The vicious cycle of negative thoughts followed by actions that reinforce those thoughts is what we need people to stop. And having the belief and actual practice is a great way to do that.

    We treat a number of people in our clinic and have developed a great course for people with a deeper anxiety and found the following course really helped –

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