3 Reasons to Stop Following the Public Speaking Rules

break the presentation rules


by Michelle Mazur, Ph.D.

There’s plenty of tried and true presentation advice floating around the Internet. If you spend anytime Googling, what makes a successful speaker, you’ll read advice like:

  • Practice!
  • “Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em, tell ‘em and tell ‘em what you’ve told them.”
  • Make eye contact
  • Get your butterflies to fly in formation by breathing

There’s nothing wrong with this type of public speaking, in fact, it’s good solid advice if you’re starting out as a speaker.

But at the end of the day, these are rules to follow. Just because you’re following the rules doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. It doesn’t mean speaking will grow your business. Following the rules doesn’t guarantee you’ll position your expertise.

If you’re speaking to grow your business, it’s time to do speaking differently than everyone else in your industry.


Be different to stand out

Standing out is not easy. You’ve been taught your whole life to fit in. Playing by the rules is the way to get ahead. You follow the done-for-you speech template or the six-figure selling-from-the-stage formulas.

Formulas and templates are not the way to stand out, get noticed, or build your business through speaking


If you follow all the rules (like every other speaker out there), you’ll blend in with all the other speakers.

Being you. Bring to the presentation all of your strange ideas, personality quirks, and all of the  life experience that makes you different. Rip up the formula and experiment with what works best for your speech.

That’s the way to stand out.


Express viewpoints

Rebel speakers are unafraid to express their viewpoints.  They’ve  got their own ideas about how the world works and aren’t scared to voice those ideas.

In business, they see the status quo and see ways to make improvements upon the current situation.

Rebel speakers understand that what makes them stand out from other entrepreneurs is their ideas and justifiable rants.

Why do you need to express your strong viewpoints? The authors of the book, Rework, say it best:

“A strong stand is how you attract superfans. They point to you and defend you. And they spread the word further, wider, and more passionately than any advertising could.”

Think about your industry? What about it don’t you like? What ticks you off? That’s the key to finding your viewpoint that rebels against the status quo and makes you stand out.


Lead your audience towards a new vision

Speakers are leaders. When you are in front of that room, being who you are, pushing the boundaries of your industry through your viewpoint, you’re a leader.

You’re forging a new path for your audience. You’re expanding what is possible for every person in that room.

To do this, you’re not breaking the rules for fun or to merely be different, you’re creating a stand out speaking experience because you want to open the audience up for the possibility of change.

This should be a change that only you – being you with all of your flaws, foibles, and failures – can bring about for you audience.

Before you write a word of that presentation answer this question:

As a result of hearing me speak, how will my audience change?

When you’ve had a noticeable impact on someone’s life, you’ll stand out. You’ll be remembered. You’ll be trusted. People will want to do business with you, hire you, or join your community because you had an impact.

The tried and true public speaking rules work up until point, but it’s like Pablo Picasso says “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.”

A presentation that gets remembered, opens up the possibility of a new vision for your audience, and grows your business by establishing you as the go-to expert in your field, doesn’t happen by following a formula.

It only happens when you embrace your inner rebel. And if you’re looking for more public speaking tips that go against conventional wisdom, tune into The Rebel Speaker Podcast.




Share :


2 Replies to “3 Reasons to Stop Following the Public Speaking Rules”

  1. Gary Foster

    Yes Michelle,

    I totally agree with you

    My style is what I’m comfortable with and helps me deliver my message, my way – for many years I wondered why I didn’t do it by the book, now I know – so a great article as a reminder and a wake up call for new stuff

    All the best,


  2. Roger Gauthier

    Awesome Michelle.

    You finally spoke what so many people need to hear.

    As a matter of fact everything great that we enjoy from the iPhone to America was birthed from those willing to rebell the status quo and walk into the knowing they have in their hearts.

    We are going to begin seeing this again in many fields including religion and spirituality.

    The truth of who you are is a gift to the world and the world is afraid of change. That is why it works so hard to keep people down and in fear of expressing the truth that we each have inside of us that has a unique way of expressing it.

    We have got to stop living as if life is a type of Halloween where we all where the costumes others will except.

    We must take off our masks and be the unique expressing of love and truth that will truly transform this world so it can fulfill it’s destiny.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Keep up the awesome work.

Comments are closed.