Source: The Big Fish
Public speaking is the number one fear in America.
Death is number two.
(Die, and it is over, once and for all; speak in public, and you die a thousand deaths).
I initially set out to clarify these quotes, believing that would make them more accessible, easier to understand. As I got further and further along, I realised one thing, namely, these quotes “speak” in different ways to different people.
As an author of a book on Public Speaking, my understanding of each quote was related to how my own experience confirmed or negated each particular quote. For me, that’s quite valid. Let me give you an example:
This weekend, I gave a public talk about my latest book, I Live In Chile. The talk was given in Concepción, Chile, in a popular shopping center called, Vega Monumental. Each of these 25 quotes came into play during, before, or after the presentation. On the night before the talk, I spoke with my brother-in-law, Bernardo León:
Bernardo: “What are you going to talk about?
Thomas: “I’ll think of something.”
Bernardo: “You’re kidding, right?”
Thomas: “No, I’m terrified.”
Bernardo: “Maybe I should call this thing off.”
Thomas: “No, don’t do that. Being terrified for me is a good thing. It means I’m going to give a great talk tomorrow.”
Bernardo: “I hope so, but you got me worried…”
** Bernardo is the owner of Punta y Taco, which specializes in traditional Chilean clothing and accessories, so he is rightfully worried about me.
In my case, being terrified means I must prepare so that my preparation will be more powerful than my fear. Once I begin the talk, I focus on what I know, rather than my fear of public speaking, and the result is magic (really). At least, the speech was so good that the newspaper contacted me by phone for an interview – after the talk was done – which is a sign of just how good the talk was…
25 Awesome Public Speaking Quotes
These quotes are in no particular order, and the speakers range from well-known orators to presentation gurus. Some are serious, some are classic, and some are short and funny. Feel free to spread these around, write them in your journals, whatever you want! Enjoy!
“You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.” – John Ford
“Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.” – D. H. Lawrence
“Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.” – Dionysius Of Halicarnassus
“What we say is important… for in most cases the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Jim Beggs
“If you can’t write your message in a sentence, you can’t say it in an hour.” – Dianna Booher
“There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” – Dale Carnegie
“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” – Mark Twain
“A good orator is pointed and impassioned.” – Marcus T. Cicero
“Oratory is the power to talk people out of their sober and natural opinions.” – Joseph Chatfield
“He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense.” – Joseph Conrad
“There are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself, and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience.” – Alexander Gregg
“The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.” – Lilly Walters
“If you don’t know what you want to achieve in your presentation your audience never will.” – Harvey Diamond
“Best way to conquer stage fright is to know what you’re talking about.” – Michael H Mescon
“There are only two types of speakers in the world. 1. The nervous and 2. Liars.” – Mark Twain
“No one ever complains about a speech being too short!” – Ira Hayes
“90% of how well the talk will go is determined before the speaker steps on the platform.” – Somers White
“It takes one hour of preparation for each minute of presentation time.” – Wayne Burgraff
“The most precious things in speech are the pauses.” – Sir Ralph Richardson
“Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.” – Martin Fraquhar Tupper
“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Carl W. Buechner
“The problem with speeches isn’t so much not knowing when to stop, as knowing when not to begin.” – Frances Rodman
“Words have incredible power.
They can make people’s hearts soar,
or they can make people’s hearts sore.”
- Dr. Mardy Grothe
“Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” – Mark Twain