How to Develop Self-Confidence & Influence People by Public Speaking


Key Points

Dale Carnegie’s How to Develop-Self Confidence & Influence People by Public Speaking is an evergreen work.  The main takeaway from this book is that improving public speaking and improving self-confidence are a function of preparation, education, determination and practice.  There is no short cut to a better you - rather a long path of self-improvement.

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How to Develop Self-Confidence & Influence People by Public Speaking

Author: Dale Carnegie
PocketBooks, 1956 



Chapter 1 - Developing Courage and Self-Confidence

  • People are primarily nervous about public speaking and lack confidence
  • It is easy to learn to become a good speaker
  • Speaking in front of a group can be a stimulus
  • Desire to give a great speech, confidence and preparation can go along way.

Chapter 2 -  Self-Confidence through Preparation

  • A well prepared speech is 9/10 delivered
  • Arrange your thoughts and nurture your convictions prior to giving a speech
  • Speeches take a great deal of time to prepare
  • Gather material and research to the point of the extreme. Know your topic.

Chapter 3 - How Famous Speakers Prepared Their Addresses

  • Like war, speeches must be well prepared for.  According to Napoleon, “The art of war is a science in which nothing succeeds which has not been calculated and thought out.”
  • Cover a point and then be done with it.
  • Think out and be prepared to demonstrate your conclusion
  • Dictate and listen to your speech if possible
  • Also try practicing your prepared remarks quietly.

Chapter 4  - The Improvement of Memory

  • The keys to memory are: repitition, impression & association.
  • Hook your points together in your speech so that transitions naturally flow into the next logical point.

Chapter 5 - Essential Elements in Successful Speaking

  • Improvement is a straight linear thing - don’t get discouraged when you plateau.
  • Persistence and dogged determination, like the tide, can lift all ships. Stick with it.

Chapter 6 - The Secret of a Good Delivery

  • It’s not what you say but how you say it
  • Good delivery is conversational
  • Some give and take is required
  • Pause behind, before, between the main ideas
  • Stress important words not meaningless ones

Chapter 7  - Platform, Presence & Personality

  • Don’t eat too much before giving your speech
  • Be magnetic and energetic
  • Dress well.
  • Smile often.
  • Keep things intimate, informal
  • Use a smaller room for your speech, cluster people together

Chapter 8 -  How to Open a Talk

  • Your opening is vitally important
  • Never start with a joke or make an apology
  • Make your presentation feel free, casual and inevitable.

Chapter 9 - How to Close a Talk

  • At the end of your speech, don’t leave anything to chance or end on a ragged tone.  Plan your closing word for word right until the end.  This is the most strategic element of your speech.
  • Some tips for closing:  appeal for action, restate key points, build up a major climax

Chapter 10 - How to Make Your Meaning Clear

  • Put your ideas into plain language
  • If you repeat key ideas, rephrase them so the audience isn’t aware of the repition

Chapter 11 - How to Interest Your Audience

  • We are all extremely interested in extraordinary facts about ordinary things
  • Balanced sentences and contrasting ideas
  • Stories of people, gossip all hold audience attention for a long time

Chapter 12 - Improve Your Diction

  • Reading the greats will help make your diction perfect
  • Look up words that are unfamiliar to you when you read
  • Avoid trite & silly words & comparisons


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