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If Your Goal is To Be a “Great Public Speaker,” You’re Missing the Point

Do you want to be a “great public speaker”? Probably – who doesn't?

But that position immediately steers you away from your true job #1: Successfully conveying your point to your audience.

What’s the difference?

Effective public speaking isn't about who you are. It's about what you came to do. That's why in the photo above – a depiction of the outcome you most want – there's no speaker at all. 



  • Should a teacher aspire to being a “great teacher” – or to fostering learning?

  • Should a pilot aspire to being a “great pilot” – or to taking passengers safely from place to place?

  • Should a leader aspire to being a “great leader” – or to successfully leading?

A “great speaker” may be memorably charismatic, knowledgeable, funny, engaging, and insightful – and we typically ascribe those qualities to “great speakers” – but what do you gain when you are remembered and your point is not?


Compare that to the effective point-maker – someone whose point is so valuable and so well conveyed that an audience is instantly moved to adopt new thoughts or take action.

Your job as a public speaker is to deliver your point. That’s the ballgame, the mission, the ultimate measure of success or failure. How you stand, gesture, breathe, and make eye contact are also valuable but nowhere near as critical. Those factors help you communicate your point, but without a point, there’s nothing to communicate.

Without clear points, everything you do or say is pointless.

So why don’t speakers focus on their points?

Speakers have trouble delivering points effectively because most confuse points with topics, themes, titles, catchphrases, and ideas:

   “Let’s talk about cryptocurrency.”

   “Today, we’re going to cover the promises and pitfalls of social media marketing.”


But a true point is an immediate proposition of value – an argument supported by facts, data, or reasoning:

   “Cryptocurrency will revolutionize our systems of commerce.”

   “Social media is the most effective avenue to reach our millennial customers.”

How do you become an effective point-maker?

Three big and fairly easy steps:

1. Learn what a point is, and what it is not

2. Learn how to sharpen your point with highest-value propositions, meaningful terms, and concision.

3. Learn how to sell your point – not just share it.

If you want to learn how to identify, sharpen, and sell your points, get a copy of “Get to the Point! Sharpen Your Ideas and Make Your Words Matter,” have me run a workshop for your team, or just reach out with a question.

Whatever step you take next, I hope it helps you become a stronger champion of your best ideas.

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