After one of my earliest public presentations (I was, as they say, still 'wet behind the ears') ended, many people filed by and spoke words of appreciation and encouragement to me. After almost everyone else had left an elderly lady walked over to me and gave me some words of advice I have never forgotten.

“Young man,” she said, “You need a good job for a beginner. I have some advice for you, if you want it.”

I felt a little slighted, but told her I would welcome her feedback.

“Well,” she continued,” Remember these three things: 1. Stand up so they can see you. 2. Speak up so they can hear you, and 3. Once you have said what you came to say, Shut Up. You did OK on the first two, but you kept talking too long tonight. Leave us a little room for thinking”

Then she hugged me and shuffled off.

I eventually got over the injury she inflicted on my pride, but I have never gotten over her words. Time and again I have returned to those words.

1. Stand Up – there are numerous skills that the public speaker needs to master in order for our appearance to assist in our communication.  We need to be seen as  a part of the message we are communicating.
2. Speak Up – clearly spoken, well chosen words projected to the back of the room will always command attention.
3. Shut Up – Every day presentation should have a beginning, a middle and an end. The end should be as precise as the beginning and must always leave room for people to draw their own conclusions and do their own thinking.

Good advice for all of us who speak in public. What are your early lessons in public speaking?