The one-sentence summary

Before you say something, work out what you are going to say.


  • It tells you how to deal with the request to make a speech – whether to accept the invitation, what to research, and how to get the response you want
  • The right structure and preparation are essential, as are researching your audience, several edits, and proper rehearsal
  • If you want to speak well, you need to know how to write, and vice versa
  • There are 3 basic principles for good speech making: speak the truth, listen for the truth, and be true to yourself


  • The book contains lots of good advice, and if you are anxious about making a speech, it guides you through the whole process
  • It is full of good quotes such as:

~ It is significant that dumb has come to mean not only silent but stupid

~ Don’t be patronising

~ Take some trouble to choose an accurate title

~ All speeches are essentially the same in architecture

~ Some speeches do not peter out but simply drop dead

~ A speech is a very concentrated form of conversation

~ Almost every great speech changes pace several times

~ No one likes a guest who domineers or rants or shouts

~ Using negative arguments makes you sound negative, which is perilously close to being unpleasant

~ Killer facts can come as shots or salvoes

~ Rehearsal is an endless process of discovery

~ Judicious silence has a mesmeric effect on an audience

  • There are summaries at the end of each chapter to enable you to short-circuit everything
  • Some extracts from great speeches are included


  • You can’t just suddenly become a great speaker so, although this book provides a framework, it is no substitute for having an idea and a point of view