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The Attributes of a Great Public Speaker

Since time immemorial, humans have taken to the stage so that they could be seen and speak their hearts out. With each word, they captivate and mesmerize people. With every breath, these speakers commanded the language like no other, making crowds stay and listen, and even wanting for more.
It’s not like history has a shortage of outstanding public speakers. Those who have rhetoric skills, who have etched their names in eternity, along with the long list of heroes, villains, sinners, and saints, are remembered long after their time, immortalized by their craft in history books and the Internet. From legendary Roman spokesperson Cicero and Greek general Pericles to author Susan Cain and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the world has seen its fair share of public speakers who can dominate the stage and fascinate their audiences with their piece or with whatever they present.
But what a public speaker so endearing? How do they command the charisma that inspires listeners to their cause? Is there a trick to their success? Are they magic? Through simple inspection, the most obvious commonality among them all is their ability to move the emotions and opinions of their audiences.
Today’s age doesn’t have much of the oratory events that the ancient times had; the closest in modernity, and arguably the biggest, is the annual TED Talks. Apart from the leap in technological levels and different preparatory techniques, though, is there any other difference between then and now in terms of oration?
If anything, what’s most intriguing are the speakers. From then up to now, time has tried and successfully proven that the very attributes that made names like Cicero, Pericles, and Demosthenes legendary are the very same benchmarks of a great public speaker today. In short, when you exhibit and emulate the following traits, then you can be one of the greats of this era. What are those characteristics? The following infographic will fill you in.


Inzunza, Victor. “History’s Greatest Speakers and Their Greatest Speeches.” December 3, 2012.

Every Breath You Take: Presentation Breathing Techniques

Whenever you get nervous before a presentation, you’re told to breathe. It sounds like common sense, but has it ever crossed your mind to consider how you breathe? Different ways of breathing can affect your presentation differently.

There’s such a thing called speech breathing, which humans have developed somewhere along our evolution. Speech breathing is a presentation technique that comes from a long line of evolutionary advancement to modern language. Here’s how you can use it to your advantage:

Pre-Speech: Breathe In

Compared to normal breathing, speech breathing is very different. Shallow breaths prove to be ineffective during presentations. Dr. Gary Genard, public speaking trainer and founder of the Genard Method, elaborates on the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing on his site. As its name suggests, your diaphragm is the key component of diaphragmatic breathing.

This happens when the lungs expand and flatten the diaphragm. It’s also the proper way of ‘taking a deep breath’. According to Genard, taking a deep breath before your presentation slows down your heart rate and provides oxygen to your brain, easing nervousness and assisting your thought process.

In-Speech: Breathe Out

How you breathe affects how you communicate with your audience. Using diaphragmatic breathing for your posture involves pushing out your abdominal muscles, keeping you upright. Conversely, starting out with good posture before speaking lessens the strain on the organs vital for your speech.

Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and avoid hunching up before trying out some presentation breathing techniques. Speech coach Jezra Kaye writes in Speak Up for Success the importance of breathing out. Kaye encourages speakers to breathe out and relax the upper part of their torso (chest, mouth, throat, and jaw).

A relaxed demeanor makes you appear more confident and allows you to speak better. Breathing out as you talk also releases the right amount of oxygen needed for a powerful speech, preventing an overly high or low-pitched tone.

Mid-Speech: Relax Your Larynx

Anxious speakers often talk too fast, forgetting to take breathing breaks. In such cases, the presentation ends up sounding like a long run-on sentence. Presenters who speak without breathing wear out their larynx, resulting in a strained tone.

This curtails their rapport and hinders them from relating their message properly. A speaker in a hurry misses key points and fails to engage the audience. Learn how to pace your speech by breathing in between. Pausing also helps emphasize important ideas by giving your listeners time to digest and think them over.


The next time you’re told to breathe for your presentation, don’t dismiss the thought. When done right, it can be beneficial for your public speaking skills. Deep breathing before your presentation helps build confidence.

Stand straight, relax, and establish a connection with your audience. Pausing strategically between your presentation’s main ideas emphasizes their importance and rests your voice. This lets you prepare for the next bout of speaking and expounding that comes after the pause.

Need help with your presentation? Contact our SlideGenius experts today and get a free quote!

Featured Image: “nice breath” by Joana Coccarelli on

SOS! Presentation Disasters and Survival [Infographic]

Presentation disasters can happen to anyone.

No matter how much you prepare for your big day, there will always be a few obstacles that’ll appear, ones that you never expected would come up during your speech.

Unfortunately, nobody’s perfect, and even the best professional public speakers run into these occasional hitches.

What makes these people stay ahead of the competition is how they handle problems that suddenly happen without prior notice.

If you’re not careful, your discussions can turn into complete presentation disasters… even more so if you can’t handle unexpected events.

After all, Murphy’s Law became well-known because it’s been proven time and time again.

“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

You can’t anticipate these moments like a psychic, but you can always cope with sufficient preparation and a calm demeanor.

Preparing for Possible Presentation Disasters

What are some good tips on handling presentation disasters?

All you need to do is to implement some simple back-up plans in case something goes wrong.

Before anything else, keep calm.

As soon as you’ve assessed the situation, start planning your response to the emergency.

Make sure you have presence of mind and you’ll have no problem overcoming any possible hitches during your big moment.

Here’s a short infographic on applying disaster preparedness to problem-proof your presentation.

A Shot in the Arm: How to Improve Your Healthcare PowerPoint


PowerPoint presentations are as useful in the medical and healthcare industry as much as in other fields. Whether in the academe or private practice, medical practitioners use healthcare PowerPoint for various presentation purposes. Physicians, for example, may be asked to present to interns as part of a lecture or to peers in seminars. They may even present to members of the community in a volunteer program. There’s only one problem, though. Most physicians and residents are not born presenters. Because of that, they tend to turn a presentation into a note-taking and outlining exercise. They simply pick from the default slide designs without adding an ounce of design creativity.

When tasked to give a talk in front of your colleagues or potential patients in a community, the success of your healthcare PowerPoint depends on two factors. These are: your ability to communicate your message clearly and the way you capture your audience’s attention. You can achieve them by keeping the following tips in mind:

Organize your presentation

Flesh out the specific topics that you need to discuss. Determine at least three important points and then use these points to fill up each of you slides. As much as possible, limit it to one point per slide. This will keep your slides from looking cluttered while improving readability.



Make it visual

Admittedly, healthcare PowerPoint presentations are not exactly the most exciting type of presentations out there. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t do something about it. To make your slides more appealing visually, try to use minimal text and more images. You can pick any images you like, as long as they are relevant to your topic and of high quality. This means that you should stay away from random, pixelated, and blurred clip art.



Practice, practice, and more practice

The best public speakers are usually not born with all the necessary presentation skills. Many of them are able to engage audiences, maintain attention, and present valuable information because of hours and hours of practice. Apart from practicing your delivery, you should also practice the way you intend to use your healthcare PowerPoint slides. Take note of every timing and every pause. Remember, your PowerPoint is merely a tool. How you wield your tool can make a difference in achieving  presentation success as a medical lecturer/trainer.