Richard Branson on Public Speaking

Richard Branson on Public Speaking

Richard Branson shares his thoughts on public speaking in a recent article on I’d suggest you read it all here.

Branson points out that he has never liked public speaking and that he doubts anyone advances in the business world exclusively on the basis of good public speaking skills. But then points out this:

” Still, one inescapable reality of business is that the more successful you become, and the higher you climb the corporate ladder, the more frequently you will be required to step up to a microphone.”

Branson has it exactly right. If you are someone like Branson, a typical day is non-stop speaking, to employees, business audiences, investors, the Queen, the media etc.

Branson gives other good advice, such as imaging that no matter how large the audience, you are simply having a conversation with one person. But he does offer some advice that I think is counterproductive. He re-tells Winston Churchill’s axiom of spending 1 hour of practice for every one minute of a speech.

There are 2 problems with this advice:

1. Nobody is going to do this. If you tell a business person you have to give a 30 minute speech in three weeks so now clear out 30 hours for practice, it will seem like such a herculean task that it will never be started. And

2. It’s not necessary.
Today, because of the ubiquity of video cameras, it is only necessary to practice a speech until you have seen, on video, a speech that is good. That might take 30 hours, but if you plan your speech the right way, it might only take 30 minutes.

If you are looking to reduce the amount of time it takes to deliver a great speech, please call TJ Walker at Media Training Worldwide 212.764.4955.

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