You Have Power
You have more power inside of you than you can possibly imagine. You have all these ideas inside and all of these unique ways that you see the world. Public speaking is not about speeches, stages, and slide shows, it is about transformation. It is about sharing your ideas with others so they are transformed. I want to help you find your unique voice and help you harness your power to make a difference in our world–one speech at a time.
This is Your Book
I wrote this for you so that you could have unlimited access to the type of information that can change your life. Try not to think of this as a speech book, but think of it as encouraging words from a friend. Read these pages as life lessons from one who has been there.
Oftentimes I meet a former student over coffee as we talk about their upcoming presentation. When I wrote this book, I imagined that I was sitting in a coffee shop giving advice to one of my students. The tone is casual and the language is accessible. I want you to feel like this advice is coming from a good friend–one who has been there.
I want this book to be useful for all speakers. It is meant to be used by you. I wrote it for you regardless of how you got here. You will give a eulogy one day, you will be called to give a toast, you will give an award, and most of you will do some form of training. I want this book to help you with the varied speeches you will encounter throughout your life and career.
Easy to Navigate
Traditional textbooks are written in long essay format. I made the decision to write this more like a newsletter with short, clearly labeled sections. I wrote it so you can scan the chapter and find the information that is relevant to your situation.
There are four main ways that I researched this book. I looked to the academic literature, I accessed books and articles from professional speakers and speech coaches, I used details from my own experiences, and I interviewed professionals in the field. In many textbooks, only academic sources are considered appropriate, but this is not an average textbook. The advice of someone who gives speeches on a regular basis has a lot to teach us and I hope we are wise enough to listen.
I then crowd-sourced information. I invited guest writers to give their input and I asked former students to tell what worked for them. Finally, I took to social media and ask others for example speeches. What impacted them and why. I took this wider approach because I wanted you to have a variety of perspectives to guide you as a speaker.
I wrote this book in a way that each chapter can stand alone as a resource. I did this so that other teachers can use one or two chapters for their students. I also did it for you so you can easily pull what you need when a certain speech situation arises in the future. For that reason, some items will be mentioned in more than one chapter.
I wrote many chapters in the format of a speech so that you will continually experience the format: grabber, preview, main points, review, closure. I put references at the end of the chapter (instead of at the end of the book) hoping that some of you are tempted to read more about the topics that interest you.
This book is interactive because I want you to be engaged and not just a passive reader. Just reading about how to give a speech rarely helps. I wanted you to see videos of good speeches and I wanted you to have vocal and breathing activities to try. I provided embeds and links and even supplements to many of the chapters of activities and assessments. Some chapters will be primarily text, and some will lean more on activities and videos. The more you use the tools in the chapter, the more you can grow as a speaker.
When I was working on a chapter, I went to social media groups and asked for examples. “Tell me about your favorite persuasion speech” or “what is the best use of a prop in a speech” or “I’m looking for voices that inspire.” People from all over the world gave me examples–it was wonderful! Because of this, I was able to include speeches from all kinds of voices, from all kinds of places, and all kinds of opinions. In this book, diversity is not a small textbox where I remind you that matters, it is woven throughout like a beautiful tapestry. Some of the speech opinions you will disagree with. Honestly, some of the opinions I disagree with too but included them anyway. Learning to listen is as important as learning to speak and hearing differing voices helps us grow.
Advanced speaking is about being creative with how a speech can be organized, learning how to use language for impact, engaging more senses through advanced storytelling, and learning ways to use your body and voice for greater impact. For me, advanced speaking is like the difference between grabbing some crayons and coloring in a coloring book versus starting with a blank canvas and crafting a unique piece of art. Advanced speaking is you creating your art. My ultimate goal for you as an advanced speaker is for you to find your unique voice, to be comfortable in your own skin, to design your message for listenability, and to recognize the transformative power of speech.
This book is yours free of charge. You may make copies of it, download it, link to it, and can share it with friends. You can share individual chapters and you can download and save the whole thing. You can use it in your college classes and you can use it in your workplace. If you know a friend who is giving a toast, send them one chapter. It is yours to use. Most all of the chapters are fully open where you can pick and chose content to use as needed. I ask that you do not make changes to the chapters on overcoming nervousness. I also ask that you give me credit when you do use it.
If you are a teacher, a business leader, a speaker, or educational institution, please let the University of Arkansas and/or me know that you are using it. (It gives us happy thoughts to know that it is useful to others).
While the fundamentals of speech have remained the same through the years, the tools of the trade and the applications continue to change. For that reason, this book is ever-evolving. If you read this book and have suggestions of things that I should add, send me an email and I’ll consider it. If you see a typo poorly worded sentence, by all means, let me know (you are my Beta testers). You can submit feedback through the form I created.
This is Your Book
If I handed you a bag of tools, some nails, and some boards, you would have everything you need to build something. The catch is, you would have to do the work to make that happen. This book is like that. I am giving you all the tools you need to build something, but it is just a pile of words unless you do the work. You make it happen.
As speakers, we are ever-growing, ever-learning, and ever-evolving. Every time we give a speech, we are transformed. When an audience hears your speech, for good or for bad, they too are transformed. It is time that you take full ownership of your opportunities and your abilities. You are reading this book because you have been given a chance to say things transformative. Don’t you dare play small, you owe it to your audience to use your words to help them, you owe it to yourself to see what you can do.
You have the power.
Let’s transform the world one speech at a time.
I have given you the tools, it is time to start building.
I want to hear from you.
Do you have an activity to include?
Did you notice a typo that I should correct?
Are you planning to use this as a resource and do you want me to know about it?
Do you want to tell me something that really helped you?