Monday, May 30, 2022

How to deliver a speech or lecture


The Navy taught me plenty of things. 

One thing I learnt in the Navy was “Public Speaking”. 

In the Navy – an Officer has to frequently address his Sailors and conduct Training – which entails delivering motivational speeches and instructional lectures. 

So – Dear Reader – let me give you some tips on Public Speaking – How to Deliver a Speech or Lecture...

Some Tips

PART 1 – A Story

Before I start giving you tips on public speaking – I must tell you this apocryphal story

A renowned Management Guru entered a large lecture hall to deliver a lecture on Motivation to the employees of a large industrial organization.

To his horror – the Management Guru found that the large hall was empty  except for a young man seated in the front row. 

Yes – there was just one man sitting in the huge hall waiting to hear the lecture. 

The Management Guru asked the solitary audience who he was.

“I am a Cook in the Industrial Canteen...” said the young man.

The Management Guru – pondered whether to speak or not. 

After some pondering – the Management Guru asked the Cook: 

“You are the only one here. 

Do you think I should speak or not...? 

Tell me frankly  should I deliver my lecture or not...?”

The Cook said to the Management Guru: 

“Respected Sir  I am a simple man  and – I do not understand these things.  

But  if I came into the Dining Hall – and – if I saw only one man sitting there  I would certainly give him food...”

The Management Guru took the Cook’s insightful answer to heart – and – with full gusto – the Management Guru began to deliver his lecture.

The Management Guru spoke passionately for over two hours – delving in great detail on each and every aspect of the Theory and Practice of Motivation.

Immensely proud after his virtuoso performance  the Management Guru felt highly elated  he felt on top of the world  and he wanted his audience to confirm how fantastically illuminating and effective his lecture had been.

So – the Management Guru pompously asked the Cook: 

“How did you like my lecture...?” 

The Cook answered: 

“Respected Sir  I told you already that I am a simple man – and – I do not understand these things very well. 

However –  if I came into the Dining Hall – and – if I saw only one man sitting there  I would feed him  but I wouldn’t give him all the food which I have prepared in the kitchen....”


While teaching and lecturing  you may have a tendency to talk too much  especially if you are passionate about teaching or the subject of your lecture. 

If so – you need to remember this story.

When you speak – you must certainly “feed” the audience. 

But  you must not try to “feed” them all the “food” that you have prepared in your mind. 


How well you put across your ideas depends to a large extent on how well you have mastered the elements of good public speaking.

An important prerequisite of a good speech/lecture is that it must be carefully prepared to the extent that you have a firm mastery of the topic you are going to discuss and a clear conception in your mind of how you are going to present the subject.

A good Speech/Lecture has four simple requirements:


The first characteristic of a good speech/lecture is that it must have a message

The speaker must have something to say 

Do not deliver a speech/lecture when you have nothing worthwhile to say.

Also  what the speaker says must be worth saying and worth listening to 

You must clearly bring out the importance of the topic – you must tell the audience why they need to hear what you have to say  and – you must unambiguously state your message  so that – the audience understands what you want to convey.

You may have heard Aristotle’s dictum on rhetoric:

1. Tell them what you are going to say
2. Say what you have to say
3. Then tell them what you said to them.

So  to get your message across  this is what you must do:

1. Tell the audience what you are going to tell them

2. Tell them what you want to tell them

3. Tell them what you have told them


The second attribute of a good talk is naturalness

Remember  the audience wants to hear YOU - yes  they want to hear YOU.

So make it your own lecture  your very own talk – speak in your very own natural style. 

Never try to imitate someone – don’t try to copy someone else.


The third feature of an effective lecture is that it must be sincere

The audience must be convinced that  you believe in what you say  so make sure that you talk sincerely and clearly demonstrate that you believe in what you are saying. 

Remember  you cannot fake sincerity – so the only way to succeed in giving an impression of sincerity is to be genuinely sincere. 

Do not try to ham, act or pretend  the audience will easily catch on that you do not yourself believe in what you are saying. 

And suppose you do not believe in something – or you are not fully convinced about a topic...? 

Well  why talk about something you do not believe in...? 

As a Public Speaker – you must be true to your conscience  you must not live a lie and say something you do not believe in

Remember the saying of Mahatma Gandhi:

1. What you THINK

2. What you SAY

3. What you DO

All these 3 aspects must be in Harmony.


What you THINK – What you SAY – What you DO – all three must be in harmony

This harmony of thought, speech and action must be evident to the audience.


Finally  last but not the least  a good lecturer or speaker must radiate enthusiasm and energy

An enthusiastic speaker is one who displays great eagerness to have his or her ideas understood, believed and put into practice. 

You should be passionate about what you are speaking about – and you must yourself believe in what you are saying. 

If you want your audience to be enthusiastic about listening to you  radiate enthusiasm yourself while speaking.

Four Aspects of an Effective Lecture

So  in a nutshell  before you deliver your next speech or lecture  please keep thesebasic four principles in mind:

1. Message

2. Naturalness

3. Sincerity

4. Enthusiasm

You will deliver a great speech/lecture – you can take my word for it. 


Here are some Do’s and Don’t’s of public speaking: 


1. Do it ...!!!

When asked to make a speech  Do it!!! 

Whenever you are invited to deliver a speech  say YES…!!!

2. Do it yourself…!!! 

You must prepare the speech yourself and also deliver the speech yourself. 

Do not “outsource” speech writing and never “delegate” speech giving. 

You must write your own speeches and deliver them yourself.

3. Do keep it simple…!!!

Say what you have to say in simple words – in your informal natural style  and then  sit down.

4. Do keep it short…!!!

It is far better to finish your speech before the scheduled time  than to go on and on  and continue speaking till the cows come home. 

Your speech should be brief – and your conclusion should be even briefer – sum up the points you have made  close on a high note – and end your speech. 

Do not let your speech drag on to an anticlimax ending.

5. Do what you would do in conversation – look at the person you are talking to…!!! 

Talk to one person in the audience at a time.

Select a person in the audience who seems interested and look at that person straight in the eye. 

Talk to that person. 

Then pick out another person  look at that person in the eye – and talk to him/her. 

Then move your eyes on to another person and talk to that person. 

Take one person at a time – and talk to that person for a moment. 

Soon – you would have talked to almost the entire audience. 


1. Don’t apologize…!!!

Avoid clichés  like the conventional apology for lack of experience etc. 

Be confident  and do your best.

2. Don’t put too much reliance on humour, stories and jokes…!!!

A good speech is more than a collection of jokes. 

Humour can be effective if used sparingly. 

Your stories must be “sure-fire” – your jokes must be relevant and in good taste.

3. Don’t make the beginning of your speech dull by waffling…!!! 

Launch into your planned and rehearsed introduction straightaway. 
Begin your speech with something thought-provoking.

4. Don’t read your speech from a manuscript…!!!   

Prepare well, rehearse adequately and talk to your audience.

5. Don’t forget the audience in the last row…!!! 

The persons sitting in the last row came to hear you too. 

Make it easy for them. 

Speak up  loud and clear…!!!

6. Don’t end your speech with in an ambiguous open-ended manner…!!! 

End your speech succinctly and coherently – on a high note – and then  sit down. 

Your last words must echo in the minds of the audience – and leave an aftertaste of the message and gist of your speech in their minds for a long time.


Practice these simple Do’s and Don’t’s of public speaking – and soon – you will love giving speeches  and you will deliver effective speeches/lectures too. 

Public Speaking is an enjoyable activity. 

Remember the Story of the Management Guru and the Cook when you plan your speech/lecture. 

Delve on the Four Basic Aspects of Effective Public Speaking

And finally – take care of the Do’s and Don’t’s of Public Speaking.

Dear Reader: 

All the Best. 

I am sure you become a good public speaker – an effective communicator – a good teacher/trainer – and you will deliver excellent lectures and speeches.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. This is based on my personal experience. It may or may not work for you. So please do due diligence before trying out this technique.
2. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
3. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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