Need Help Giving a Speech?

This site offers practical tips to guide you through almost any event involving an audience, including business presentations and various special occasions. In addition, you’ll find advice on managing your stage fright and finding speech topics.

What You Should Have Said

The value of planned spontaneity.

Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and usually at the worst possible time. Therefore, as a speaker, you need to be prepared, armed with clever lines that prove you are not only in control, but you can think on your feet. As any good comedian would say, be prepared – with some witty lines in case something doesn’t go according to plan.
Scott Friedman, a speaker, author and past president of the National Speakers Association, says: “The key in delivering planned spontaneity is to pause for a moment after the incident or comment, look up like you are thinking, and then – boom – deliver the line.” Here are some samples, from an article in the Toastmaster magazine:

The microphone goes dead:

Feedback from the microphone:

  • “Evidently, someone has heard this speech before.”
  • “If I wanted some feedback, I would have asked for it.”
  • “Let me have a show of hands: How many of you read lips?”
  • Stare cautiously to the left, while listening to the microphone buzz. Then say in a concerned tone, “Whatever it is, it’s getting closer.”
  • Toastmasters members occasionally travelling to Bucharest are welcome to attend our meetings free of charge.
    When the lights go out or flicker:

    Loud noises:

  • “I’ve often had people doze off during my talk, but never an entire chandelier.” – Gene Perret
  • “Mom, can you be a little more careful?”
  • “I do my best work in the dark.”
  • “That concludes the musical portion of the program.”
  • “This lighting really plays tricks on your eyes. I’m actually a lot more handsome and skinnier than I look.”
  • “Everyone's a critic.”
    Fire alarm or bell:

    Slide is upside down:

  • “Time to take my pill.”
  • “For those of you standing on your heads...”
  • “So that’s what happened to my wake-up call.”
  • “This is the Australian part of the presentation.”
    Writing on flipchart and you run out of ink:

    Participant walks out:

  • “Obviously, I've come to the dry part of my presentation. “
  • “Look, my first walking ovation.”
  • “It gets better, I promise. I walked out of my first talk.”