10 Things You Can Do To Be a Brilliant Orator

March 15, 2008 at 7:31 am 4 comments

If you are going to give a talk, you might as well be a brilliant orator, a phrase that has been used to describe Julius Caesar, Barack Obama, and many in between. Here are 10 things you can do to improve your oratory performance:

  1. Have an interesting message to convey. It sounds simple, but, if it was that easy, why doesn’t everyone do it?
  2. Have a conversation with your audience. Orating does not mean lecturing or preaching. It means conveying a message to people. Since each person took the trouble to be there to hear you, talk to him or her.
  3. Do not read your slides or notes. If you do, I guarantee someone (if not many) will think, “I can read that myself so why am I listening to this person?”
  4. Don’t say “umm”. Pause instead. Or breathe. (Well, always breathe.)
  5. Look friendly and approachable. You know how people like babies and cute animals? You want people there to like you because they will get more out of your presentation.
  6. Use self-deprecating humor, which will never offend people. Surely there is something funny you can say about yourself!
  7. Tell a story to illustrate to illustrate your point. Stories tend to be memorable and thus a good reminder of your message. They are also fun to tell and if you are having fun your listeners are more likely to as well.
  8. If someone asks a question, don’t be nervous because you are the expert. Worst case , if you don’t know how to answer the question, answer a different question that you do know the answer to that is at least related.
  9. Have a plant in the audience to ask a question that you want to answer. This way you will look good and you avoid having to wonder why no one asked a question. Usually after the first question you will get others (see #8).
  10. Tape a practice session and actually watch or listen to it. It is very painful to do! A few years ago I gave a talk that was streamed on the internet and it took me 3 months before I could watch it, but it was pretty good except I said “umm” too much (see #4).

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Andrew Anthony  |  September 5, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    I Love ur message bcos it has inspired me towards oratory.

  • 2. Okwy Ukwuaku  |  November 21, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Really, your tips on oratory are true to life. But you should add the ways to avoid being nervous. Naturally, for one to be an orator one must learn to overcome anxiety.

  • 3. Adetogun samuel  |  May 24, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    i am highly inspired with your lovely message.. thanks

  • 4. YUSUF GBADEBO  |  May 1, 2010 at 2:32 am

    Thanks for your lovely message as per easy ways to become a brilliant orator. Please, can you educate me more on how to tackle the problem of forgetting planned messages before actually facing the audience.


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Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM

Lisa GualtieriLisa Gualtieri is Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine. She is Director of the Certificate Program in Digital Health Communication. Lisa teaches Designing Health Campaigns using Social Media, Social Media and Health, Mobile Health Design, and Digital Strategies for Health Communication. Contact Lisa: lisa.gualtieri@tufts.edu


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