10 Novel public speaking ideas from unexpected sources

Maurice DeCastro
10 min readMar 2, 2024

Sometimes the most novel public speaking ideas can be found in the most unexpected places.

Some would suggest that everything you need to know to develop your public speaking and presentation skills has already been written about. The internet and book stores are filled with tips, techniques and ideas to become better public speakers. I like to think that there is always something new to learn in any skill and public speaking and presenting is no exception.

As an avid reader I have found some of the most novel public speaking ideas in books which are totally unrelated to the topic itself.

10 Novel public speaking ideas

  1. ‘A simple way to make a good first impression’

How to win friends and influence people — Dale Carnegie

‘At a dinner party in New York, one of the guests, a woman who had inherited money, was eager to make a pleasing impression on everyone. She had squandered a modest fortune on sables, diamonds and pearls. But she hadn’t done anything whatever about her face. It radiated sourness and selfishness. She didn’t realise what everyone knows: namely, that the expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back. Charles Schwab told me his smile had been worth a million dollars. And he was probably understating the truth. For Schwab’s personality, his charm, his ability to make people like him, were almost wholly responsible for his extraordinary success; and one of the most delightful factors in his personality was his captivating smile. Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, ‘I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.’’

Many presenters are so focused on remembering their content and ‘getting it right’, they simply forget to smile. Unfortunately, this detracts from our message as we leave our audience with a memory of a stern expression. This often signals that we are not really enjoying the experience ourselves so we give them permission not to either.

Don’t forget to smile!

2. ‘Release the concern for looking good’

Being of Power — Baptiste Baron

‘Imagine right now if you were to be open, undefended, and fully transparent in every part of your life. Can you picture how freeing it would be to give up all the pretending and just be out there, exactly as you are, without any masks? That might seem scary, but you’re here to transform, so game on! The greatest source of natural power we have available to us is being ourselves. Our lives are transformed when we bring that organic way of self-expression to all of our relationships and experiences.’

Much of our own fear and anxiety about presenting and speaking in public comes from our own ego.

Our ego has only one clear goal; we want to look good in front of our audience.

Often, our presentations end up being more about us than our audience.

Mindful Presenters understand that the key to success is humility.

That begins with:

– Putting their focus on their audience and not on themselves.

– Recognising that their audience want them to do well.

– Understanding that their audience want to connect with them, not just receive information.

– Knowing that all their audience really want from them is honesty, respect and passion.

– Not pretending to have all of the answers.

Release the concern for looking good!


Hear yourself; how to find peace in a noisy world — Prem Rawat

‘In every moment we have a choice, and it is this: Do we give attention to the good in us or the bad in us? To the positive or the negative? There was a group of Native American Indians, and one day a little boy from the tribe came to the Chief and said: “Chief, I have a question: Why are some people good some of the time but bad at other times?” The Chief said: “That’s because we have two wolves inside us, fighting each other. There’s a good wolf and a bad wolf.” So the boy thought about this for a little while, then he said: “Chief, which wolf wins?” The Chief replied: “The one you feed.” There’s no need to keep punishing our bad wolf — that doesn’t help the good in us. Nourish the good wolf instead: give it time, awareness, understanding, care, love. What happens then? The good wolf gets stronger.’

All presenters have one thing in common regardless of experience, status or confidence. It’s that voice in their minds that is always there offering unwanted and unhelpful thoughts. The volume of criticism and negativity gets the loudest the moment we stand to speak. It’s the presenters inner critic that takes great pleasure in telling us that we aren’t good enough.

Feed the ‘good wolf.’

4. ‘Build confidence and destroy fear’

The magic of thinking big- David J. Schwartz Ph.D

‘No one is born with confidence. Those people you know who radiate confidence, who have conquered worry, who are at ease everywhere and all the time, acquired their confidence, every bit of it. You can, too.’

If you struggle with a fear of public speaking you are in good company. It affects millions of people globally and has been around for so long it has its own name. ‘Glossophobia’ is the medical term for the fear of public speaking. Please don’t let the fact that it has its own medical term worry you. There is a great deal you can do to manage, control and even overcome the challenge.

You can become a confident speaker!

5. ‘Cultivate silence ‘

Stillness is the key — Ryan Holiday

‘Too much of our lives is defined by noise. Headphones go in (noise-cancelling headphones so that we can better hear . . . noise). Screens on. Phones ringing. The quiet metal womb of a jumbo jet, traveling at 600 miles per hour, is filled with nothing but people trying to avoid silence. They’d rather watch the same bad movies again and again, or listen to some inane interview with an annoying celebrity, than stop and absorb what’s happening around them. They’d rather close their mind than sit there and have to use it. “Thought will not work except in silence,” Thomas Carlyle said. If we want to think better, we need to seize these moments of quiet. If we want more revelations — more insights or breakthroughs or new, big ideas — we have to create more room for them. We have to step away from the comfort of noisy distractions and stimulations. We have to start listening.’

From the moment we each take our first intake of breath, to the instant we exhale our last, every element of the journey between those two extreme points seems to be focused on getting and being somewhere.

It’s just the way we have evolved.

We are hard wired to experience the world to get somewhere; mostly somewhere better than here.

Take a moment to be still!

6. ‘The ancient art of self-leadership’

The Monk who sold his Ferrari — Robin Sharma

‘When I speak of improving your inner world, I am simply speaking of self-improvement and personal expansion and it is the best thing you can do for yourself. You might think that you are too busy to spend time working on yourself. This would be a very big mistake. You see, when you have taken the time to build a strong character full of discipline, energy, power and optimism, you can have anything and do anything you want in your outer world. When you have cultivated a deep sense of faith in your abilities and an indomitable spirit, nothing can stop you from succeeding in all your pursuits and living with great rewards. Taking the time to master your mind, to care for the body and to nourish your soul will put you in a position to develop more richness and vitality in your life. It is as Epictetus said so many years ago: ‘No man is free who is not a master of himself. ’

The mindset of a mindful presenter is the key to their effectiveness and success.

When it comes to public speaking and presenting, your mindset can be your greatest champion or most powerful foe.

Practice self-leadership!

7. ‘Focus on others’

Awaken to your true self — Andrew Daniel

‘When we are stuck, we can get caught up in our stuckness and make it all about ourselves. We can lose sight of those around us and what they are going through. We become obsessed with our own fixing, healing, overcoming, making it, and succeeding that we miss all the ways we can help others. When we are wrapped up in this head noise, we get consumed with what’s going on inside and have nothing left for those outside. We don’t see that being of service to others could be the very path of our own success. Our struggle becomes what blinds us from potential salvation. If you’re stuck in your own life trying to figure it all out, perhaps taking a break from your attempts to stop struggling — and helping someone else instead — will be of better use. You never know who you’ll meet, what you’ll learn, or what impact you’ll have engaging in someone else’s life. Taking the focus off of what you’re doing and being of service to someone else may be exactly what will help you. It’s a shift in orientation and focus; it doesn’t mean you have to abandon your own vision. We think that in order to get what we want, we must focus on ourselves — but the reality is that if we can help others get what they want, we can also get what we want. It’s the opposite of what we think. Yes, you guessed it — another reverse-wiring.’

The prerequisite to ensuring you craft and deliver a memorable presentation to any audience is focus. At Mindful Presenter we believe that the one thing we need to focus on more is; how we want our audience to feel.

Focus on how you can help your audience!

8. ‘How to Get People to Like You’

The power of positive thinking — Norman Vincent Peale

‘ We might as well admit it, we want people to like us. You may hear someone say: “I don’t care whether people like me or not.” But whenever you hear anyone say that, just put it down as a fact that he is not really telling the truth. The psychologist, William James, said: “One of the deepest drives of human nature is the desire to be appreciated.” The longing to be liked, to be held in esteem, to be a sought-after person, is fundamental in us.

‘The fact is that popularity can be attained by a few simple, natural, normal, and easily mastered techniques. Practise them diligently and you can become a well-liked person. First, become a comfortable person, that is, one with whom people can associate without a sense of strain. Of some persons it is said: ‘You can never quite get next to him’. There is always a barrier that you can’t get over. A comfortable person is easy-going and natural. He has a pleasant, kindly, genial way about him. Being with him is not unlike wearing an old hat or an old pair of shoes, or an easy old coat. A stiff, reserved, unresponsive individual never meshes into the group. He is always just a bit out of it. You never quite know how to take him or how he will react. You just aren’t easy-like with him.’

Exceptional speakers know that their first priority is make friends with their audience.

The Magic Formula!

– Smile

– Make eye contact

– Show them the real you

– Put yourself in their shoes

– Tell them stories

– Make your presentation all about them, not you

As you can see, there is no ‘magic formula’ really.

Most of us have been doing it all perfectly naturally since our very first day at school.

Play nicely!

9. ‘Your real self ‘

The power of awakening — Wayne Dyer

‘Your ego tells you that you have to compete and consume. In order to prove yourself, you must have more toys. You need to accumulate more. You must achieve more. Your ego tells you that how good your body looks and how you smell and how much jewellery you have is important. There is a whole world of egos dealing with egos out there, everybody telling everybody how important they are. But you don’t have to give in to that! You don’t have to say, “Yes, but you should have heard what I did! Let me tell you.” Know that this self-importance has nothing to do with self-esteem. Self-esteem is a given. You don’t have to question your esteem, your value, your confidence in who you are. The less self-absorbed you are, the more freedom you have. When you’re so hung up on everything having to be a certain way, your freedom is taken away from you. The ego promotes that sort of attachment, while the higher self is unattached to it.

Presenting and speaking is a challenging experience for many people.

Working on developing the habit of self-compassion is a powerful route to success. That means, creating a state of mental, emotional and physical kindness to ourselves.

Keep it real!

10. ‘The hamster never gets a change of scenery…you can!’

Hamster to Harmony — Maurice DeCastro

‘You are not a hamster! The hamster may have to live in a cage eating exactly the same food day in day out every day for the whole of his miserable existence. The hamster never ever has a change of scenery. The hamster may run endlessly on his wheel, always arriving back exactly where he started with nothing to show for the energy and effort expended, but that’s not you. YOU ARE NOT A HAMSTER. The difference between you and the hamster, apart from the obvious physical distinctions, is CONSCIOUSNESS. You see, whilst a hamster will know he is in a cage, he doesn’t really know that he knows he is in a cage. I’m sure a hamster must have thoughts, although I am pretty certain he is not conscious of his thoughts and his ability to think. You see, it’s all about awareness and we have an unlimited potential and capacity to be aware of ourselves and the entire world around us, yet many of us still choose to live unconsciously. What I mean by this is we wander around the planet doing the same things, thinking the same things and feeling the same way over and over and over again, just like the hamster running on the treadmill. We can change our lives in a heartbeat, in an absolute instant, but we don’t.’

Get off the wheel!

If you’d like more novel public speaking ideas:

– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.

– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.

– Get yourself some excellent presentation training

Image courtesy of Canva.com



Maurice DeCastro

Author, speaker, trainer, presenter - former corporate executive passionate about personal leadership, people and results.