Posts in Public Speaking Tips
Practice Your Talk on the Subway

People might think I’m crazy, but I practice

public speaking on the subway.

What?! Yes, that’s right!


I practice while I’m commuting, so I know it’s possible to practice on the train, in the car, or while you’re walking to work.

This is my favorite life hack for all those folks

who don’t think they have time to practice.

I can almost guarantee that using 10 or 15 minutes of your commute to practice your presentation will serve you better than scrolling through social media.

I sometimes put in my headphones and record myself practicing while I’m on the subway or waiting at an empty section on the platform. People ask if I’m worried about looking crazy. NOT at all.

I live in New York City and there are far weirder things! Believe me, no one is paying attention.

Want a few more practice ideas you may not have thought of?

  1. Take an Improv class. Magnet Theater, UCB and The PIT all offer classes.

  2. Go to a city council meeting and talk about an issue in your neighborhood.

  3. Host a dinner party and give a presentation for your friends.

  4. Check out Toastmasters. Find a club here and find me at Heights Toastmasters twice a month.

  5. Practice for your neighbors. It’s a great way to get to know people.

  6. Practice for your dog, or your cat or your lizard. It’s #3 in 7 Strategies to Ace Your Work Presentation.

Want more practice ideas?

Download 7 Strategies to Ace Your Work Presentation.

How Practice Makes TED Talks & Great Talks

One of the creative directors in my Speak with Impact Lab shared a story about seeing an early iteration of Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle. Over a few years, the talk that launched Simon Sinek to fame and became the third most viewed TED Talk of all time started out as a presentation for 8 people in someone’s living room.


The moral of the story?
Your talk doesn’t need to be perfect at the outset.

In fact, it’s almost certain that it won’t be.

Perfection should not be your aim, but practice and feedback are essential.


The more you practice the closer you’ll get to a presentation that delivers what you want it to. There may be countless iterations and living room talks before the big talk you want to give, and that’s perfectly okay and part of the process.

Need an audience?
Here are some ways you can get one.

  • Have a dinner party and give your presentation for friends

  • Practice for your housemates

  • Practice for your children

  • Practice outside as people walk by


Want some help putting your presentation together. Check out Polish & Pop


The Power of the Edit

Want to write a good talk?

The key is surprisingly simple: You need to EDIT.


According to Chris Anderson, the creator of TED,

“The biggest problem I see in first drafts of presentations is that they try to cover too much ground... If you try to cram in everything you know, you won’t have time to include key details, and your talk will disappear into abstract language that may make sense if your listeners are familiar with the subject matter but will be completely opaque if they’re new to it. You need specific examples to flesh out your ideas. So limit the scope of your talk to that which can be explained, and brought to life with examples, in the available time.”


If editing is the key then you may be wondering how to decide what to leave in and what to take out.


First, you need to get clear on your objective.

Your audience is never going to remember everything, so you want to be very clear about the main message you want them to walk away with. Once you know your objective, you can examine whether your content is helping you achieve it.

This is where editing comes in. You might want to tell your favorite story, but if that story isn’t the best example to illustrate your point, leave it out.

Grab the template to write your objective in 4 Steps to a Winning Work Presentation. This simple tool will help you get organized, get clear, and get confident.

Never Use 2 Words When 1 Will Do

“The most valuable of all talents is never using

two words when one will do.”


I found this message in a fortune cookie but it could have been written by my dad. He was a journalist for over 25 years and considered word count an art form.

My dad was also a ruthless editor. He taught my sister and I how to write short, clear sentences and ingrained in us the power of brevity.

Getting to the point is as important in your presentations as it is on the page.


When it comes to speaking, chances are you know more about your subject than your audience. You may be able to speak on your topic for 45 minutes, but that doesn’t mean your audience has an attention span of 45 minutes.

Less is More.

Share too much information, and you risk losing your audience.

The key to an effective presentation is editing.

After writing the first draft of your presentation, ask yourself, where are you using two words when one will do?

Wondering how to get started or which words to choose?

Download 4 Steps to a Winning Work Presentation to get organized, get clear, get confident. They’re free!