• Connecting Speakers with Audiences™

presentation skills

Webinar attendees pinpointed one thing new speakers need

Webinar attendees pinpointed one thing new speakers need 441 232 I Need A Speaker

This week, I had the honor of being a guest on a webinar hosted by Samantha Kelly for Women’s Inspire Network (WIN). Based in Ireland, WIN is a networking group for female entrepreneurs.

It’s a lovely group of women who are motivated, passionate subject matter experts – qualities of great public speakers. During the webinar, host Samantha and I talked about why and how people can use public speaking to elevate their brands. As we spoke, the chat continued scrolling as attendees made comments and asked questions.

What happened next surprised me a bit. The conversation drifted toward the one obstacle that prevented many of these women from taking the stage – their self-doubt. It was a surprising revelation because these women are brilliant, accomplished individuals with important messages to share. Also, they have a huge potential audience.

Our conversation changed once again, and this time the direction wasn’t surprising. Attendees acknowledged one another’s skill sets and expertise, then encouraged each other to take the first step with public speaking. That one element – encouragement – was all it took to give these women the confidence to do it.

I shared an anecdote about a very powerful speaker I know. The speaker is a woman who overcame difficult circumstances to reinvent her life and succeed. Speaking from the heart, this woman tells her story in a way that’s relatable and impactful. She may never have had a class on public presentation, but she has the qualities needed to captivate and inspire her audience.

We all have stories to tell or expertise to share. I Need A Speaker was founded to help new voices be heard, so I’ll encourage you now to take the next step and discover what you can accomplish.

Go for it. Be heard. People want and need your message.


Photo credit: Samantha Kelly

3 public speaking lessons you can learn from Amanda Gorman

3 public speaking lessons you can learn from Amanda Gorman 1709 2560 I Need A Speaker

Last month, Amanda Gorman stole the show during President Biden’s inauguration. She captivated everyone when reading her original poem, “The Hill We Climb.”

Three takeaways from her presentation can benefit all speakers:

  1. Have a clear purpose. Develop your central statement of purpose, and add relevant support material. Eliminate anything that’s redundant, and keep editing until you’ve created a powerful presentation.
  2. Speak with confidence. You’ll feel confident when you know the material well and have practiced several times.
  3. Add drama. Use pauses that emphasize points and allow your audience to keep up with you. Incorporate nonverbal language to create an emotional connection and demonstrate your passion for the presentation.

Amanda Gorman can and will teach us a lot. These public speaking takeaways reflect just a portion of her talent.

Channel your inner Amanda Gorman. It’s your turn to steal the show!



Photo credit: Pexels

Avoid these common Zoom errors (don’t be a cat)

Avoid these common Zoom errors (don’t be a cat) 2560 1700 I Need A Speaker

It’s been quite a week for virtual meetings! One lawyer appeared virtually in court with a cat filter in place, unable to figure out a way to remove the transformational effect.

In another part of the world, a professor in Singapore conducted an entire two-hour lecture virtually while on mute. According to news reports, students were unable to get his attention to rectify the situation.

How can you avoid situations like these? Here are some tips:

  • Become familiar with all of the settings on your virtual meeting platform before the meeting begins. If you’re unfamiliar with the platform, experiment with a friend or family member until you feel comfortable. Do an online search for tutorials if necessary.
  • Frequently seek feedback from your audience, whether through verbal communication, written notes in the chat feature, or non-verbal communication.
  • Monitor your physical background to ensure that it’s professional and suited for your virtual meeting.
  • If you need to share your screen for any reason, check your desktop for information you might not want people to see. Close any tabs you don’t need open. This week, I saw a thread on Twitter that began when a student posted the story of her professor sharing her screen during class. The professor’s desktop had a folder related to her divorce, and it was visible to the entire class.
  • Be aware of sounds that may be picked up by your microphone, and do your best to avoid audible distractions.
  • If you need to use the rest room, leave your phone or laptop somewhere private. Do not take it with you! (Yes, that has happened to too many people already.)
  • Dress appropriately for your virtual call – from head to toe! Some people dress more formally from the waist up, thinking that others on the virtual meeting will only see a partial outfit. But if the frame is wider than you expect, if you or the camera move, or if you need to reach for something, your audience may get an unexpected peek at your gym shorts or pajama bottoms.
  • Notify others in your home, dorm, or office when there is a live camera, so they know to dress, speak, and behave appropriately.
  • Avoid eating during the meeting.
  • And, as we learned from the mathematics professor, mute only when necessary.



Photo credit: Pexels

Ask us anything! We’ll answer your questions in future blog posts.

Ask us anything! We’ll answer your questions in future blog posts. 1709 2560 I Need A Speaker

We hope you enjoyed last week’s Five-Day Public Speaking Challenge! If you haven’t completed it, just review the blog posts for your updates.

Today we’re asking your input for future blog posts. What are your questions about public speaking and event planning? Submit your questions to marketing@ineedaspeaker.com, and we’ll answer them in a future blog post.

For regular tips, visit the home page of our website and sign up to our newsletter!

Five-Day Public Speaking Challenge: Day Five

Five-Day Public Speaking Challenge: Day Five 2560 1700 I Need A Speaker

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the final step in the I Need A Speaker Five-Day Challenge! Over the past five days, you’ve fine-tuned your message, considered your audience, learned from others, and developed a compelling speech outline. I bet you know what’s next …


There is an old joke about a man who asked someone for directions while in New York City. “Excuse me,” the man asked a stranger who seemed to know his way around. “Can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?” The stranger replied, “Practice, practice, practice!”

Silly, but true. And it’s the same with public speaking. To get where you want to be, you’ve got to practice.

When you’re ready to debut your work, ask a trusted friend or colleague to watch your presentation. Have them share honest, constructive feedback.

Ask if the reviewer could easily follow along. Find out if they felt an emotional connection. Were you perceived as relatable? Was your presentation delivered with authenticity, value, and effectiveness?

Listen to the feedback with an open mind. Afterward, develop a plan to strengthen your weaknesses and celebrate your successes.


We’re so proud of you! Keep up the great work!

Five-Day Public Speaking Challenge: Day Four

Five-Day Public Speaking Challenge: Day Four 2560 1700 I Need A Speaker

Woo hoo! You’re almost there! If you’ve been participating in this challenge since day one, you’ve had a chance to fine-tune your central message(s), consider your audience, and learned from other speakers you admire. Today, let’s do some work on writing an engaging speech outline.


Let’s work on crafting a compelling speech using powerful elements.

Create an outline as your starting point:

  • Attention-grabbing introduction (stories and anecdotes work well)
  • Transition to central statement and preview of main points
  • Three to five main points, supported with credible sources and smoothly linked
  • Transition to summary/conclusion
  • Memorable conclusion (most effective when referencing introductory story)

As you write, focus on delivering value to your audience. If this is informational, are your word choices appropriate for the audience members’ level of knowledge on the subject? If this is motivational, have you included a call to action when necessary?

Use active verbs and descriptive language.

Infuse the presentation with appropriate emotion and enthusiasm.

Name your sources.


Check back tomorrow for the last step of our five-day challenge. Know someone who might benefit? Pass this along!

Five-Day Public Speaking Challenge: Day Three

Five-Day Public Speaking Challenge: Day Three 2560 1700 I Need A Speaker

Welcome back to the five-day public speaking challenge! We hope you’re feeling as inspired and energized as we are!

By now, you’ve had a chance to fine-tune your message and think carefully about your audience. Today we’re going to focus on role models.


Watch speakers whose work you admire and take notes on their organization, delivery, and ability to connect with the audience.

How do those speakers connect with their audience using verbal and non-verbal language?

How do your role model speakers bring energy and enthusiasm to the presentation?

What kind of language do they use?

How, if at all, do the speakers use visual or audio aids?

Do they incorporate storytelling in their talks?

Do the speakers infuse their remarks with appropriate emotion?

How do these speakers make you feel?

Now consider how you can apply the most effective techniques to your presentation.


Check back tomorrow for the step four of our five-day challenge. Know someone who might benefit? Pass this along!

Five-Day Public Speaking Challenge: Day Two

Five-Day Public Speaking Challenge: Day Two 2560 1700 I Need A Speaker

Welcome to the second day of the I Need A Speaker Five-Day Public Speaking Challenge! Hopefully you have fine-tuned your message (day one lesson) and are ready to tackle the next step.


Think about who you hope to reach and what result you seek.

Ask yourself these questions: Who is the best audience for your message? What change do you hope to create? What matters to the people you hope to reach? What are your audience members’ values? How, if at all, must I adapt my key messages for various audience types?

Check back tomorrow for the third step in our five-day challenge. Know someone who might benefit? Pass this along!

Five-Day Public Speaking Challenge: Day One

Five-Day Public Speaking Challenge: Day One 2560 1700 I Need A Speaker

I Need A Speaker is here to help you achieve your public speaking goals. We believe that a powerful message and a passion to share it are the foundational elements of an effective public speaker.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional who engages audiences regularly or a newcomer to the (virtual) stage, there is always opportunity to examine your approach and make changes as needed.

Are you ready to polish your presentation skills? If so, join us for this challenge – and become a better public speaker in just five days!


What do you want to say? Ask yourself what takeaways you want your audience to recall. Next, finalize your central message(s).

Write it out and test it on potential audience members if you can. Use results-oriented language to express your message in a compelling, attractive way.

For example, rather than writing something like “Why It’s Important to Build a Strong Team,” consider language like, “The Five Keys to Building a Cohesive, High-Performance Team.”

What result do you deliver?

Check back tomorrow for the second step in our five-day challenge. Know someone who might benefit? Pass this along!

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