Leaders Learn to Love Public Speaking


It is no secret that most people are petrified of public speaking. At first, for me, I didn’t mind getting up in front of people but I feared not knowing what to talk about. Luckily, as the years progressed, I found a deep LOVE for education. I realized that as long as I stick to that subject, my fear diminishes to anxious excitement- and I can deal with that ūüôā

Since I have stepped out of the classroom into my new role helping new teachers gain effectiveness in their own classrooms, I have had the opportunity to speak in front of large groups on numerous occasions to provide professional development sessions. I enjoy speaking to people about education because I get pretty fired up and am delighted to help other’s hone their craft. Although I have a knack for public speaking, or so I am told, I know that I can be stronger and more polished.

As a podcaster, I get the opportunity to practice public speaking on a weekly basis. This has been my most recent experience that pushed me to thinking about gaining expertise in this avenue of communication.

One particular podcast I was listening to discussed Toastmasters. I had never heard of this before so I began to google it. Its a group that comes together weekly to practice public speaking. You receive topics, prepare a speech, and do improv. The part I liked most was the thorough feedback your receive. It doesn’t hurt that you can move up in ranking as you crank out your speeches!

I decided I wanted to¬†check out a local club so I could gain skills and perfect my message so that when I am in front of a group of people (or coming over the podcast waves) I am clear, concise and coherent. This journey of growth is fueling my passion for education even more than before. The weekly Toastmaster’s podcast is full of tips and tricks of master public speakers (I highly suggest you check it out!).

It is important that any leader in education, in or out of the classroom, spends time honing their public speaking skills. I say this because there is nothing worse than sitting through a professional development session and the speaker is shaking in their boots, tripping over their words and mixing up their message. As an audience member, I became so lost in the content because of the poor delivery.

If we want teachers to become better, we need to perfect our delivery of the message. We do not need to be on stage for a lengthy period of time. Be brief. Be gone. Teachers learn best by doing, so its important to build in the majority of the session to include practice or implementation of the content that was presented.

To prepare for public speaking, one must:

  • Have a clear goal in mind- what do you want the audience to gain from listening to you?
  • Plan what you want- create a bullet point list of speaking points, then start filling in details to the depth at which makes you feel most confident
  • Practice, practice, practice- stand in front of a mirror or record yourself while delivering your speech. This will help you perfect your stance, use of motions, eye contact, etc.

When delivering your message, one must:

  • Connect with the audience- what do you have in common? use this to your advantage so the audience can see themselves in your shoes or on your journey (this will encourage them to take action)
  • Speak slowly- you know your message so its easy for you to fire through your lines. But people need to process what you are saying. Insert pauses, speak at a slower pace, or emphasize important words to ensure you are clearly heard and understood
  • SMILE- no one wants to look at or listen to a miserable person. If you smile, it shows that you believe in what you are saying and convinces the audience to do so as well.

Teacher leaders, I hope you realize the power you have to infuse greatness in those that you lead by perfecting your public speaking skills. There are TONS of resources out there to help you- maybe even join a Toastmaster’s group in your area!


Where do you stand right now with your public speaking abilities? How can I help you grow in this area? 

About the author, Gretchen

I am a teacher trainer and coach. Working elbow to elbow with teachers and teacher leaders to ensure instructional proficiency and student achievement soar lights me up. We have a real need in our nation for strong educators to remain in the field. My blog, book, podcast, courses and instructional materials are geared towards empowering teachers (and those that lead them) to receive the support needed to grow and thrive today, tomorrow and always.