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If you are looking for a quote about public speaking then you may find one here. Over the years I have collected a huge number of public speaking quotes. Rather than have them stuck on post-it notes, I thought I’d collate them into a blog post and share.

I have collected these public speaking quotes from various books, sites and articles and I have attributed each quote to the correct author, to the best of my knowledge.

Have a public speaking quote to share that is not on this list? Let me know.

Public Speaking Quotes

Public Speaking Quotes on Success

  1. “Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
  2. “The goal of effective communication should be for listeners to say ‘Me too!’ versus ‘So what?” Jim Rohn.
  3. “To sway an audience, you must watch them as you speak.” C. Kent Wright.
  4. “All speaking is public speaking, whether it’s to one person or a thousand.” Roger Love.
  5. “Words do two major things: they provide food for the mind and create light for understanding and awareness.” Jim Rohn.
  6. “Light travels faster than sound. That’s why certain people appear bright until you hear them speak.” Albert Einstein.
  7. “Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know.” Jim Rohn.
  8. “Communication works for those who work at it.” John Powell.
  9. “It’s the space you put between the notes that make the music.”  Massimo Vignelli.
  10. “Be sincere, be brief, be seated.” Franklin Roosevelt.
  11. “Make sure you have stopped speaking before your audience has stopped listening.”  Dorothy Sarnoff.
  12. “If it takes a lot of words to say what you have in mind, give it more thought.” Dennis Roth.
  13. “A wise man speaks because he has something to say; a fool speaks because he has to say something.” Plato. 
  14. “No one ever complains about a speech being too short!” Ira Hayes.
  15. “Speeches measured by the hour die with the hour.” Thomas Jefferson.
  16. “Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.”  D. H. Lawrence. 
  17. “There are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself, and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience.” Alexander Gregg.
  18. “Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.” Martin Fraquhar Tupper.
  19. “Words have incredible power. They can make people’s hearts soar, or they can make people’s hearts sore.” Dr. Mardy Grothe.
  20. “Speakers who talk about what life has taught them never fail to keep the attention of their listeners.” Dale Carnegie.
  21. “To communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world, and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” Tony Robbins. 
  22. “Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.” William Butler Yeats.
  23. “All the great speakers were bad speakers at first.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson.
  24. “Your ability to communicate with others will account for fully 85% of your success in your business and in your life.” Brian Tracy.
  25. “The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.” Lilly Walters.

Public Speaking Quotes on Clarity

  1. “The problem with speeches isn’t so much not knowing when to stop, as knowing when not to begin.”  Frances Rodman.
  2. “Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much.” Robert Greenleaf.
  3. “A talk is a voyage with purpose and it must be charted. The man who starts out going nowhere, generally gets there.” Dale Carnegie.
  4. “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Albert Einstein.
  5. “Speak clearly, if you speak at all. Carve every word before you let it fall.”  Oliver Wendell Holmes.
  6. “If you don’t know what you want to achieve in your presentation your audience never will.” Harvey Diamond. 
  7. “When speaking in public, your message – no matter how important – will not be effective or memorable if you don’t have a clear structure.” Patricia Fripp.
  8. “Simple and to the point is always the best way to get your point across.” Guy Kawasaki.

Public Speaking Quotes on Planning

  1. “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” Mark Twain.
  2. “Only the prepared speaker deserves to be confident.” Dale Carnegie.
  3. “90% of how well the talk will go is determined before the speaker steps on the platform.” Somers White.
  4. “If you want me to speak for an hour, I am ready today. If you want me to speak for just a few minutes, it will take me a few weeks to prepare.” Mark Twain.
  5. “There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” Dale Carnegie.
  6. “Begin with the end in mind.” Dr Stephen R. Covey.

Public Speaking Quotes on Authenticity

  1. “You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.” John Ford.
  2. “The best speeches come from the heart and reflect your passion. Speak as if your life depended on it.” Rave Robinson. 
  3. “The more you do speak from the heart, rather than thumping the agenda, people will listen or relate or open themselves up more.” Drew Barrymore.

Public Speaking Quotes on Nervousness

  1. “It’s alright to have butterflies in your stomach. Just get them to fly in formation.”  Rob Gilbert.
  2. “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, and to sit down and listen.”  Winston Churchill.
  3. “The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops… until you stand up to speak in public.” George Jessel.
  4. “You are not being judged, the value of what you are bringing to the audience is being judged.”  Seth Godin. 
  5. “Picture yourself in a living room having a chat with your friends. You would be relaxed and comfortable talking to them, the same applies when public speaking.” Richard Branson.
  6. “If you’re not comfortable with public speaking – and nobody starts out comfortable; you have to learn how to be comfortable – practice. I cannot overstate the importance of practicing. Get some close friends or family members to help evaluate you, or somebody at work that you trust.” Hilary Clinton.
  7. “Best way to conquer stage fright is to know what you’re talking about.” Michael H. Mescon.
  8. “If it scares you it may be a good thing to try.” Seth Godin.

I’m keen to hear what public speaking quotes you would like to see added to this list.

You may like to read about how to define your speaking topic as an emerging speaker or some thoughts on how to become a public speaker, or some tips on how to give a TEDx talk.

About the author

Lisa Evans helps professionals to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you

My services include:

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Tailored Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories.

Keynote/Guest Speaking either in person or via virtual means at your next conference or event.