LATEST ARTICLES

Image of calculator and charts with text reading, "Presenting numbers: bring your statistics to life"
One of my students recently delivered a persuasive speech on straws. The single word STRAWS glared across the first slide of her visual aid, and I wondered how on earth she planned to hold our attention for nine minutes. The answer was surprising: statistics. In order to inform the class about the harmful global impact of a seemingly inconsequential...
Woman using laptop
An engaging visual aid adds WOW! to a presentation. Beautiful visuals can make a good presentation a great one, or an interesting speaker a memorable one. They allow a speaker to turn an ordinary presentation (a status report, a school project, a marketing plan) into an opportunity to create a lasting impression. If they're so impactful, why aren't we...
Confidence: How to look confident even when you're not. The good sophist guide to faking confidence
If you're lacking in confidence, a bit of advice you might hear is to “fake it till you make it,” when you’re feeling nervous. That is good advice, particularly in public speaking. It is advice I give on this website. What might be less clear, is how to act confident if you are not. When you are confident, you...
At the beginning of every semester, I ask my students to think about speakers they connect to. They might be teachers, coaches, politicians, celebrities, or friends—famous people or ordinary ones. “What do these speakers do to make you want to listen?” I ask. Much to my dismay as a public speaking teacher, no one tells me that these speakers use clear...
Group presentations really aren’t much different from individual speeches, but we treat them like they are. The first thing we do when assigned a group presentation is divide and conquer—one person takes the first topic, another the second, and the last writes the introduction, conclusion, and designs the PowerPoint. We would never write a speech like this. There’s no...
Speech Introduction: create attention, start persuading, command respect
By perfecting your speech introduction, you will increase the effectiveness of your speech by 100%. In the first twenty-seconds of your speech, you can hit on the four ingredients of a truly excellent speech: attention, retention, connection, and reaction. The importance of the Speech Introduction Don't underestimate how much a strong introduction will improve your speech or how much a weak...
Mic Drop. How to write your speech conclusion
A lot of people think the hardest part of composing a speech is figuring out where to start—until they get to the end, that is. It’s common for speakers to run out of steam delivering main points; the closing lines become an afterthought. Instead of building up to a mic-drop moment, the speech conclusion is a letdown—forgettable and rushed. Don’t...
How to Ace your speech class. Goodsophist.com guide to public speaking
If you go to college you are going to have to give a speech in front of a class, and you are probably going to have to take a speech class that teaches you how to do this. Most people hate taking these classes. Take your speech class seriously, you can learn a lifelong skill. If you're afraid to...
Speech Delivery for beginners
I cannot overstate the importance of speech delivery in the overall success of a public speaker. There are two equally important skill sets for public speaking. One is messaging, which includes speech writing, organization, and word choice. The other is speech delivery. Speech delivery can be thought of as a medium because it is how the message is delivered...
Speech Writing: How to Oraganize your speech
Speech Writing Basics Knowing how to organize your speech is the most under-rated and misunderstood skills for speech writing. A well-organized speech often has its organization unnoticed, but a disorganized speech is a guaranteed disaster. Some organizational techniques can make a speech stand out, but before we get there, it is important to have a basic understanding of speech organization. If...