Public Speaking Myths: Bust Them So You Can Improve Your Presentation Skills

lady presenting to small group

by Terry Wall

Public speaking myths often prevent people from improving their presentation/speech giving skills. So, let’s bust 3 of them.


Myth #1 Public speaking applies only to large situations. This one prevents people from even considering the idea of improving their skills because, they don’t give “speeches” to large groups.

The Truth: In my world, and in my Killer Presentation Skills Model, ANY time you’re speaking, regardless of the audience size, you need presentation skills. The more important the conversation (disciplining a direct report, asking for a raise or promotion, trying to sell a product or service, dealing with that obnoxious neighbor, etc.), the more you need strong presentation skills.

At the very least, you need to identify your overall message, key points, and display some basic public speaking skills. These are things you have to do when giving a speech in a large venue, to a large audience, but I believe they also apply to situations with much smaller audiences, even one-on-one. It’s what I call going from “macro to micro.”

What to do: Accept The Truth, and start improving.

Myth #2 Only people born with a knack for public speaking can really be good at it. (Implied: if not born with it, forget it). Many people presume that because they don’t have “natural” presentation skills, they can’t be successful in public speaking. They think that to be successful, you have to be a super extrovert, or be naturally energetic. People who subscribe to this myth realize they don’t fit the mold, so since success is unattainable, these people feel it’s pointless, a waste of time, to try to improve.

The Truth: Some people ARE naturally effective public speakers, so good that they don’t have to work as hard on it as the rest of us do. But ANYONE can make significant improvement.

What to do: Accept The Truth, and start improving.

Myth #3 Significant Improvement takes way too much of time, so that it’s pointless to try to improve. This myth causes some to do nothing, because they (mistakenly) feel they don’t have enough time to become “significantly better” at public speaking and presentations.

The Truth: Making significant improvements DOES take time, but it needn’t take drastic amounts of time. Some aspects of presentation skills, like using vocal variety, are quite easy to improve. Others take more time, but success in improving in a reasonable amount of time is often a matter of finding the right resources (books, articles, videos, coaches) that can help you the most.

What to do: Accept The Truth, and start improving. (Do you see a pattern here?)

Conclusion: Significant improvements are with in your reach. You simply need to:

  • Toss the myths out the window
  • Accept The Truth
  • Develop a plan to identify areas that need improvement, and steps you’ll take to make those improvements

Question: What are you going to do to implement the ideas in this article?

About the author

For information on public speaking/presentation skills, check out my next free webinar. The Killer Presentation Skills Webinar will definitely improve your abilities, with immediate improvement through 10 action items.

For details, go to

Terry Wall–Accelerating Organizational Excellence through: Leadership Development, Facilitation & Strategic Direction, Team Building, Executive Coaching, Assessments & Surveys