Speaking Tips from the author of the “Four Hour Work Week”

Mar 06

Tim Ferriss has established quite a reputation for himself as someone who accomplishes a lot, very quickly. Author of books like “The Four Hour Work Week” and “The Four Hour Body,” he explains how he plans his speeches. He admits his lack of speaking polish, but notes the prestigious speaking opportunities he’s had. It’s easy to attribute that solely to fame, but fame for what? The book he wrote—a message that resonates with people. That dovetails nicely with another point of his… the important of having clear content and a great message.

Give people clear, valuable, actionable information.

He also notes that content is more important than being like a “public speaker.” He thinks of himself as “being a teacher from the stage.” This is a great note: instead of focusing on oratory or “sounding like a speaker,” focus on connecting with people and giving them something worth listening to.

Worry more about connecting with your audience and less about sounding like a classic idea of a speaker.

He goes into detail about the outline for one of the hour-long presentations he gives. His specific structure may be handy for you to follow, but there are a few salient points. He allows plenty of time for audience Q&A, he does not practice verbatim, and he focuses his message around a few key points, filled with examples and stories. It’s much easier—and sounds better—to be flexible than to try to memorize a presentation word for word.

Have a few great points that you expand on, in-depth in an interesting and flexible way. Don’t be rigid and don’t try to cover too much.

Beginning speakers: want to handle that nervousness more easily and give a good speech? Speak to the audience as you would speak to a friend, or friends; keep focused on a few clear points and a great message; speak flexibly with interesting examples and stories to flesh out and clarify your speech.

Experienced speakers: want to take it up a notch and give a great speech, the sort of presentation people would pay you for to give at a conference? Do the exact same things.

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