The 6 Rules for public speaking (plus a zeroth rule)

A list completely based on Neil Gaiman’s “8 Rules for Writing”, customized for speaking/communicating

1. Speak
Get up and speak. Put one word after another. Find the right words in your way.

2. Finish
On preparing: Finish building in your mind – and in your speech – what you want to say. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.

3. Walk away
Put it aside before presenting it. Review your recorded practice sessions as if you have never seen them or heard them before.

4. Get feedback from trusted sources.
Show it, present it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
** Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.**

5. Fix it.
Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to prepare to speak about the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.

6. .The main rule
The main rule of speaking is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for speaking. But it’s definitely true for speaking.) So speak your story as it needs to be spoken. Speak it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

0.  Zeroth rule: Know your audience, at any and all pints of this figure out what your intended audience wants and needs…

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