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Home » How To Be A Better Public Speaker: Lawrence Bernstein (Transcript) 

How To Be A Better Public Speaker: Lawrence Bernstein (Transcript) 

Here is the full transcript of Lawrence Bernstein’s talk titled “How To Be A Better Public Speaker” at TEDxRoyal Holloway 2024 conference.

Listen to the audio version here:


Good afternoon, everybody. Everybody here has been incredibly kind and welcoming. I parked the car, I came out of the car park and somebody immediately came up to me, asked me what I was up to, said she’d look after everything, and then she said, “I hope it goes well.” And I thought, I haven’t really focused on going well, what it actually means here today.

And I guess if you’re not feeling terribly positive, it means not forgetting what you’re going to say, which would be quite helpful. It means nobody laughing at you unless you’re trying to tell a joke. And it means not looking over and seeing people falling asleep, looking at their phones or generally ignoring you.

So I, and those are, by the way, three of the biggest fears of people subconsciously when they’re about to speak in public. So I’m going to set my sights just a tiny bit higher than that and say that I would love it if the only thing you take away from this talk that next time you have to give a speech or a presentation or you’re talking in a seminar or whatever it might be, that you just remember those two cups of coffee. And for the non-coffee drinkers amongst you, peppermint tea, even a beer is absolutely fine.

Because the sad truth is that however hard we work at what we’re going to say, however much we learn the facts and the figures and all these things, that a typical member of this audience tomorrow, this time tomorrow, I will be amazed if you remember more than one thing I’ve said. Or more than one thing that any of the other amazing speakers with their brilliant stories have said. Because we just live in such a phenomenally noisy, busy world.

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