Speak: A Simple Guide to Public Speaking


A Simple Guide to Public Speaking
Steve Alexander Jr. (amazon.com link)



SPEAK: Structure, Presence, Engage, Articulate, Knowledge



  • Outline your speech keeping AIDA in mind
  1. Attention – story, quote, your own qualifications, statistics, strong emotions (why you care yourself)
  2. Interest – keep them interested, review what you’ll cover
  3. Desire – connect with their feeling
  4. Action – call to action, buy product,
  • Insert a clear opening, body, and conclusion
    • And state three main points in intro, in body, and then again in conclusion
  • Use an acronym to help remember your points



  • Dress appropriately, use good posture
    • Watch movie scenes without volume
  • Use the stage deliberately (3 point triangle on stage)
  • Gesture often and use visual aids well, if at all
    • 3×5 powerpoint rule: 3-5 words per bullet, and 3-5 bullet points per slide onscreen



  • Use stats, question, and quotes moderately
    • But ask questions!
  • Personal stories
  • Insert good, respectful humor, and avoid using one-liners
    • Connect your points together
    • Give the audience something actionable!



  • Pronounce and enunciate your words
    • Read books aloud
    • Video yourself
  • Use literary devices; vary vocal tone
    • Metaphor – comparing working class like an engine; depression to a sea
    • Simile – like or as,
    • Alliteration – repeating sound, like trials and tribulations
    • Anaphora – repeating whole words or phrases, like “now is the time” or “no more”
    • Polysyndeton – using and/or repeatedly to connect phrases, common but often overused, and 3 is best
    • Asyndeton – no connecting words like and/or
  • Breathe deeply, reduce filler words and phrases
    • Embrace your accent!



  • Know your topic
  • Know your audience!
    • “Why should my audience care about this topic?”
    • Religious audience
    • Fraternity/sorority
    • Corporate audience
    • Tech audience
  • Know the venue



On going to a Toastmasters meeting for the first time, he says:

…I was in disbelief at how well some of the members spoke. I assumed that either the meeting was staged by trained actors, or they were all on some powerful drug. They expressed themselves eloquently and were all much happier than the people I had left back at the office.


Decent; much too expensive for such a short book, especially in print. Good info, but it reads (grammatical errors and all) more like a quality semi-free bound pamphlet to friends or small community than a published, well-edited book. Bought because I met Steve a few times and wanted to support him. Worth it for the review of basic presentation principles from another perspective. For those who really want to internalize speaking, the book might be worthwhile compared to the cost of TM, but only if the information here augments regular practice. The book alone won’t transform anyone, and helped Steve synthesize and solidify his own ideas and the art more than it will most of us. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that last point, as it’s the reason many authors write to begin with.


A better book would be from a public speaking coach who’d successfully transformed hundreds or thousands of clients. Should search to see if such a book exists.

Future: Good to review my notes here along with TM notes in Evernote and Language Intelligence notes periodically. Read Shakespeare aloud, etc…


Language Intelligence, Joseph J Romm (2012)

Language Intelligence:
Lessons on persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga, Joseph J Romm (2012)

If facts were sufficient to persuade people, then experts in science would rule the world. But facts are not, and scientists do not.”

If you want to avoid being seduced, learn the figures of seduction.”

I read this book in late 2012 in Thailand, and did not join Toastmasters until late 2013 or early 2014. (It is a testament to how much — too much, perhaps — I read in those months that I have found no better hypothesis for my “awakening” between March-Dec 2013 than the correlation to how much I read….)

As such, I am incredibly disappointed in myself for not having reviewed this book, The Power of Persuasion, and others like To Sell Is Human during my time in Toastmasters. I should be ashamed… but no matter, what have I learned? I will review them before any more speeches!

Moreover, I should focus on metaphor in all my communication, Spanish or English, written or spoken, phone calls or facebook messages!



  • Match natural speaking.
  • One-syllable words are ideal…use shorter ones where longer will do.

To sum up the key rhetorical strategies used by the greatest persuaders:

  1. Use short, simple words.

  2. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Repetition is the essential element of all persuasion.

  3. Master irony and foreshadowing. They are central elements of popular culture, modern politics, and mass media for a reason—they help us make sense of the stories of our lives and other people’s lives.

  4. Use metaphors to paint a picture, to connect what your listeners already know to what you want them to know. Metaphors may be the most important figure as well as the most underused and misused.

  5. Create an extended metaphor when you have a big task at hand, like framing a picture-perfect speech or launching a major campaign.

  6. If you want to avoid being seduced, learn the figures of seduction. If you want to debunk a myth, do not repeat that myth.