Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 256) – Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn (1930 – 2009) American Entrepreneur, Author and Speaker

“Time alone is really essential, to get away and contemplate, think, and wonder.”

— Jim Rohn

Photo courtesy of Ramine5677
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Four Lessons from the Mountain for Public Speakers

PG LogoI am one of the co-founders of Presentation Guru, a digital magazine for public speaking professionalsThis post is part of a series designed to share the great content on Presentation Guru with the Manner of Speaking community.


A few weeks ago, my friend Timo Sorri came to Geneva for a visit. Timo is an expert in presentation design. You can learn more about what he does on his website. One day during his visit, Timo and I went for a long hike in the French Jura Mountains, just across the border from Switzerland and overlooking Lake Geneva.

We spent several hours in the mountains and covered lots of ground. The hike was physically challenging and eminently enjoyable. Different incidents along the way got me thinking about the parallels between our hike and public speaking. Specifically, it got me thinking about:

  • preparation;
  • dealing with the unexpected;
  • the impossibility of perfection; and
  • the importance of action.

You can read all about our experience in this post on Presentation Guru.

Timo and me. This photo was not taken on our hike; rather, it was taken the day before during a trip to the mountain village of Gruyères in the Swiss Canton of Fribourg.

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Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 255) – Mark Brown

Mark Brown – Jamaican American Inspirational Speaker, Emmy Award Nominee & 1995 World Champion of Public Speaking

“Our stories are the key to connecting. They don’t have to be sensational; they just have to be sincere.”

— Mark Brown

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Own your speech

Recently, I was working with a group of people over a couple of days to help them improve their public speaking skills. For one exercise, I asked them to give a short (5-minute) speech on something that they cared about.

The first participant spoke about an issue that is very important to her. The topic was interesting and the material was good, but the delivery was flat. It was like she was checking off a list in her head just to get to the end. And the speech suffered because of it.

When she had finished, I asked her, “Do you believe what you just said?”

“Yes, of course,” she answered.

“I don’t believe you,” I responded. “You’re not invested in the subject. You were just going through the motions so that you could finish. You don’t care about it at all.”

The silence in the room hung like a cloud while she stood in front of us. Then I continued.

“Am I wrong?”

“Yes,” she said defiantly. (A good sign.)

“Then prove me wrong!” I challenged her. “Close your eyes, take a deep breath, think about your subject and then talk to us like you mean it.”

The difference was like that between night and day. When she finished the second time, people stood to applaud and there were more than a few misty eyes in the room, including mine.

What happened between the first and second attempts? She made the decision that she would own her speech. That she would accept full responsibility for her words and that she would deliver them with enthusiasm and conviction.

If you are going to speak to an audience, do not waste people’s time. Do not just show up, rattle off your points and sit down. Look inside yourself and then speak in a manner that leaves no doubt that you believe in what are saying.

Own your speech.

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Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 254) – Warren Bennis

Warren Bennis – American Scholar and Leadership Expert

“Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple, and it is also that difficult.”

— Warren Bennis

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