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Be Prepared: Speaking in Public

Cosme Salazar, President of the Broadway Speakers chapter of Toastmaster’s International, identifies five qualities of a good public speaker – ideas even a seasoned speaker can learn from!

Know the point of the speech

All speeches should have a focused purpose that defines the structure and tone of the speech. The purpose of a speech is usually to inform, entertain, inspire or call to action.

Eye contact

Looking directly at the eyes of individuals in your audience will help draw them in to what you are saying. This is also true of large groups. It is better to have meaningful eye contact with a small percentage of the audience than to try to scan the crowd and look at everyone.

Pace yourself

Use pauses to collect your thoughts instead of filling the silence with Um’s and Ah’s, and when your time is up STOP! An audience will tune out when you are speaking past your allotted time.

Memorize personal stories and quotes

You will be surprised how often you can incorporate these verbal gems into your speeches.


Watching great speakers will not make you one. To polish your speaking skills you need to practice delivering speeches in front of an audience. Toastmaster’s provides a supportive environment where we help each other polish our speaking skills.

Cosme Salazar is the President of the Broadway Speakers chapter of Toastmaster’s International. We meet every Tuesday at 12:10 on the 18th floor of the Zions Bank building at One South Main Street in Salt Lake City.

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