A Tip For Public Speakers


You have always wanted  to be a motivational speaker or speak in public about a matter you are passionate about, you got your chance but suddenly, you can’t find your voice while you are standing before your audience. What do you do? 

Here is Larry Kings’ story of his first time speaking on radio. Pay attention for the lessons would help you. 


“My dream had come true! Not only was I getting on the radio – I was going to be there for three hours at a time every morning, plus another half-dozen times or so every afternoon. I was going to be on air as often as Arthur Godfrey, the superstar on CBS.


I didn’t sleep that whole weekend. I kept  rehearsing things to say on the air. By eight-thirty on my first morning, I was a basket case. I was drinking coffee and water for the dryness in my mouth and throat. I had the record with my theme song, Les Elgart’s   “Swingin’ Down the Lane,” with me ready to cue it up on the turntable as soon as I went into the studio. In the main time, I was getting nervous by the minute.


So there I was, with a new job, a new show, a new show, a new theme song, even a new name. The news comes on at nine, and I’m sitting in the studio with “Swinging ‘ Down the Lane” cued up and ready to broadcast The Larry King Show to a waiting world. My mouth feels like cotton.


As my own engineer (always the case with small station, I stated the theme. The music comes on. Then I fade the music down so I can begin to talk. Only nothing comes out.

So I bring the music up again and fade it again. Still no words coming out of my mouth. It happens a third time. The only thing my listeners are hearing is a record going up and down in volume, unaccompanied by human voice.

I can still remember saying to myself that I’d been wrong, that I was a street gabber but I wasn’t ready to do this professionally. I knew I would love this line of work, but clearly I was not ready for it. I didn’t have the guts to do it.


Finally Marshall Simmonds , the man who had been kind to giving  me such  a tremendous opportunity, exploded as only general manager can. He kicked open the door to the control room with his foot and said five words to me loud and clear: “This is communication business!”

Then he turned and left, slamming the door behind him.


In that instant I leaned forward toward the microphone and said the first words I ever spoke as a broadcaster.


“Good morning. This is my first day ever on the radio. I’ve always wanted to be on air. I’ve been practicing all weekend. Fifteen minutes ago they gave me my new name. I’ve had a theme song ready to play. But my mouth is dry. I’m nervous. And the general manager just kicked open the door and said, ‘This is communication business.’ “


Being able to say at least something gave me the confidence to go on, and the rest of the show went fine. That was the beginning of talking. I was never nervous on the radio again.


I learned something about taking that morning in Miami Beach, whether you’re on the air or off: Be honest. You never go wrong, in broadcasting or in any area of speech.

Let your listeners and viewers know how you feel.”

Coined from How To Speak To Anyone, Anywhere and Anytime written by Larry King.



Leave a comment