The Art of Speaking  

Learning from an experienced public speaker

The art of public speaking

YouTube /Wade Paterson

“Public speaking is an art,” says Swish Goswami.

“It’s an art that you need to practice, that you need to learn. Anyone can go up and give them a piece of paper and they’ll talk. But how many people will actually go out of their way to memorize their speech? How many people will go out of their way to move around while speaking? How many people will use hand motions properly, not in a way that’s pretentious or way too much? How many people are going to look into the eyes of their audience while they’re giving the most dramatic part of their speech? How many people are going to pause? How many people will make jokes throughout that are spontaneous and not scripted?" he says.

“This is all the art of public speaking that you only really learn after you do it more and more.”

As part of furthering my goal to become a better public speaker, I decided to launch a podcast/YouTube interview series this past December, called Keys from Keynotes.

Do professional keynote speakers get nervous before they take the stage? How do the pros build their speeches? What do keynote speakers do right before they begin speaking to their audience? Those were the types of questions I wanted to find answers to through this series.

For the third episode of Keys from Keynotes, I had the chance to interview Swish Goswami, who is an incredibly successful young entrepreneur who has started six high-impact ventures across four industries.

Early in our conversation, Swish explained how there is often a perception entrepreneurs are automatically good public speakers. However, that’s not always the case. For Swish, it’s a skill he’s been intentionally working on since he joined debate club in Grade 7.

Here are the four biggest takeaways I gained from my conversation with Swish.

You don’t have to use slides

Swish rarely uses slides or visual aids for his presentations.

While he jokes laziness may be one reason for this (which is hard to believe considering he was once awarded with a United Nations’ Outstanding Youth Leadership Award), the real reason is he finds visuals to be distracting when he watches other speakers. Instead, he takes an authentic, conversational approach to his speeches.

For many speakers who rely on slides, a great fear is if the technology were to ever fail them it would be nearly impossible to do their speech. While that isn’t personally a motivation for Swish’s unplugged speeches, it’s safe to say he doesn’t have to worry about AV issues at any event.

Embrace questions and answers

Swish loves incorporating time for audience questions during his speeches, and he isn’t afraid to tell the audience when he doesn’t know the answer.

“In my opinion, the best public speakers are interactive with their audience, and it’s a two-way street.”
If he doesn’t know the answer to a question, he will ask the audience what they think and will turn it into a conversation.

Speaking is a team sport

“I’m really annoying backstage,” Swish jokes.“I love talking to (everyone). I want to make sure everyone backstage is feeling positive… I always feel like we’re part of a team.”

According to Swish, the success of a speech is not just reliant on him, but on the event organizer, the lighting team, the audio/visual team and many other people who work behind the scenes. It’s important to him that he communicates with his teammates and ensures everyone is feeling comfortable.

It's OK to get nervous

One of the things all three guests of Keys from Keynotes have in common is they get nervous before taking the stage.

Even though these individuals are professional public speakers who have honed their craft for several years, each of them experiences some level of anxiety before every single speech.

The nerves exist because they care.


If you’re thinking about joining Toastmasters to improve your public speaking skills, our Kelowna AM Toastmasters Club is always looking for new members.

If you’re interested in learning more about Impactful Communication, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Wade Paterson is an award-winning Toastmaster who is passionate about Impactful Communication.

His columns and accompanying YouTube videos are focused on helping others become more confident public speakers and communicators.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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