How to prepare a

Public Talk

I remember listening to a senior Buddhist monk giving a talk. He spoke for about an hour. His talk lacked focus and appeared disjointed. I gently told him later he could consider preparing his talk by writing notes to establish a theme. He said his tradition did not use notes.

I asked him: “What is more important – clinging to your tradition or effective communication?”

  1. Public talks, questions and answers, dialogue and inquiry, offer a primary vehicle for transformation. Clear communications wake people up.

  2. Your talks, whether for a few minutes or longer, deserve serious reflection and solid preparation.

  3. A sociological survey showed that public speaking is most people’s biggest fear. The second biggest fear is fear of death. In other words, most people regard public speaking as a fate worse than death. You can use the energy of any nervousness to communicate

  4. Spend much time reading/listening/watching /viewing public discourses, talks and lectures.

  5. Explore themes, research and reflect on first-hand experiences.

  6. Take notes from conversations to develop your subject matter.

  7. Find 10 or 15 minutes before the talk to for silence and reflection. Be willing to use extensive notes.

  8. A worthwhile talk inspires, informs and provides themes for reflection. Remember to check after that your talk meets some of these intentions.

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