Perfecting your speaking style: Lessons from 3 electrifying storytellers

For many, public speaking is somewhere between intimidating to downright terrifying. Take a page from these presentation experts on how to relax and connect with your audience.

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He was a showman like no other. The hype for Apple’s events started weeks in advance. Jobs used dramatic lighting and slick, hi-definition videos to bring his speech to life. He paced the stage with tightly controlled pure energy—calm, but not relaxed. You could almost feel his passion.

Few speakers can achieve that kind of presence on stage, and most people rank speaking in front of a large audience next to hairy spiders on the fears scale. Don’t be intimidated by flash, though. Most speakers are less theatrical and more down-to-earth than Jobs was.

Here’s what you can learn from three outstanding speakers:

1. Tailor your speech. Guy Kawasaki is one of the most recognizable names on the speaking circuit, and it’s certainly not for his flash. He’s personable, warm and self-deprecating.

The secret of his charm is in humor. No matter what subject he’s covering, he’s funny—not in a Chris Rock, in-your-face way, but rather, with a gentle, conversational style.

During his “How to Jump the Innovation Curve” keynote speech, he describes how he tailors each presentation—often right on the spot—using spur-of-the-moment images.

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