You know the old adage, “know thyself?” Well just as in life, it’s important to know your strengths and weakness, the same is true about you as a public speaker.

One of the most important things you can do to begin to build your speaking skills is to get really honest about what you do well in front of a crowd and what falls flat.

Think about your last few times up at the front of the room and make a list of what went well and what didn’t go so great. It’s alright to get specific or to keep it more high level, do whichever is more natural for you.

Consider things like, use of humor. Can you pull off a joke? Some of us have excellent comedic timing and placing at the right point in a presentation, it can be genius. Others are not blessed with the art of wit and jokes are best avoided.

Are you skilled with slide creation?

Are you energetic, passionate, dramatic, etc.?

What is that you are uniquely good at when in-front of a crowd?

Do you excel with analytical presentations, handout creation, exercise facilitation, question and answer sessions, get down every last strength and the weaknesses too.

Now you have a template that you can use to create a presentation that plays to your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses. Remember, as you continue to build your public speaking skills, more of these weaknesses will move to the strengths column, so don’t think that you’re locked into this one format forever.

We’re just looking for a template of success that you can use so you are more comfortable in front of a crowd. When you’re ready, start trying new things, take some risks and build that list of strengths.

Top performers know that an important key to success is having options. Flexibility gives you the ability to adapt to the situation at hand. The more options you have, items in your strengths category, the more you will be able to adapt to any public speaking opportunity that comes your way.

Take a look at your weakness list and pick one to get started with today, if possible. Ask yourself, “What is the one thing on my list that if I could improve this, would take my presentations to the next level?” And then start working on that issue.


John Ryan

Host of Key Conversations for Leaders Podcast, Executive Coach, Consultant, and Trainer

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