The Speaking Style of Bill Gates

Bill Gates_WikipediaA recent article in Forbes  lauded the speaking style of Bill Gates, and how he has been able to communicate complex ideas in an understandable way.

Gates knew it would be nearly impossible to encourage stakeholders to take action—or donate their wealth—if he failed to grab their attention and to persuade them to sacrifice for the greater good.

Among the takeaways to help you “grab attention”and “persuade”:

  • Use the “Rule of Three,” and keep your presentation to three major points.
  • Use visuals.  You don’t have to employ fancy graphics; a simple line drawing or chart can do the trick.
  • Use a creative attention-grabber that will surprise the audience.  It can be a prop, an anecdote, a short video, etc.

And here’s my own two cents: Wherever possible, strive to banish buzz words, corporate speak, and jargon from your presentations.  In other words, do as Bill Gates does, and keep it simple.

What does Opera have to do with Public Speaking?


Martina Arroyo
Martina Arroyo

I recently attended a master class  for young opera singers with famed singer Martina Arroyo, at Hunter College in New York City.  Ms. Arroyo constantly stressed the importance of knowing who the character is, the motive behind actions, where the action takes place, and more.  She also focused on  the importance of being  prepared and immersed in the moment before you  get up on stage.

What does this have to do with public speaking?  Just like a good performer, a public speaker needs to have stage presence.   Know the context of your presentation.  Think about your words, what you want to convey,  and how you want to move your audience.  Have a sense of yourself, who  you are and why you’re up on that stage, whether it’s an interview, a panel or PowerPoint presentation, or a speech to a large or small audience.

Our “Techniques for Effective Public Speaking”  can help you translate the qualities of a great performer into a great presentation of your own.  For more information contact us or visit www.publicspeaking4u.com.

Best and Worst Broadcasters

Commentators and TV hosts with good voices and delivery: Among women, Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer, Leslie Stahl, Cynthia McFadden, Oprah Winfrey, Tyra Banks, Sue Simmons in New York. Men: Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams, Larry King.

What do they have in common? Soothing, pleasant voices, a sense of authority, and good delivery.  They pronounce well, exude an air of relaxed confidence, credibility and experience.  Their voices are pitched at a level that is easy to listen to, they make their listeners feel comfortable, and their pace of delivery makes it easy for the audience to understand what they’re saying.

Contrast these examples of excellent delivery with the shrill and whiney broadcasters  we hear on some of the Cable, sports and financial TV channels.  High-pitched nasal voices with “rapid fire” deliveries who talk so fast they actually swallow their words, and make it hard for listeners to follow them.  I won’t name the stations, but if you channel surf, you’ll easily spot them.

Tell us who you think is the best and worst broadcaster. Take our quick survey.