43 Dos and 35 Don’ts of Public Speaing

In some ways, public speaking has changed dramatically over the last 100 years, but in others it as barely changed at all. 

Read about 78 lessons in public speaking from 1916 that are still as relevant today as there were in 1916.

These lists are from the book Talks on Talking by Grenville Kleiser. It was originally published in 1916, and it is amazing how almost 100 years later, the principles hold.


  1. Don’t rant.
  2. Don’t prate.
  3. Don’t fidget.
  4. Don’t flatter.
  5. Don’t declaim.
  6. Don’t be glib.
  7. Don’t hesitate.
  8. Don’t be nasal.
  9. Don’t apologize.
  10. Don’t dogmatize.
  11. Don’t be slangy.
  12. Don’t antagonize.
  13. Don’t be awkward.
  14. Don’t be violent.
  15. Don’t be personal.
  16. Don’t be “funny.”
  17. Don’t attitudinize.
  18. Don’t be monotonous.
  19. Don’t speak rapidly.
  20. Don’t sway your body.
  21. Don’t be long-winded.
  22. Don’t “hem” and “haw.”
  23. Don’t praise yourself.
  24. Don’t overgesticulate.
  25. Don’t pace the platform.
  26. Don’t clear your throat.
  27. Don’t “point with pride.”
  28. Don’t tell a long story.
  29. Don’t rise on your toes.
  30. Don’t distort your words.
  31. Don’t stand like a statue.
  32. Don’t address the ceiling.
  33. Don’t speak in a high key.
  34. Don’t emphasize everything.
  35. Don’t drink while speaking.
  36. Don’t fatigue your audience.
  37. Don’t exceed your time limit.
  38. Don’t talk for talking’s sake.
  39. Don’t wander from your subject.
  40. Don’t fumble with your clothes.
  41. Don’t speak through closed teeth.
  42. Don’t put your hands on your hips.
  43. Don’t fail to stop when you have ended.


  1. Be prepared.
  2. Begin slowly.
  3. Be modest.
  4. Speak distinctly.
  5. Address all your hearers.
  6. Be uniformly courteous.
  7. Prune your sentences.
  8. Cultivate mental alertness.
  9. Conceal your method.
  10. Be scrupulously clear.
  11. Feel sure of yourself.
  12. Look your audience in the eyes.
  13. Be direct.
  14. Favor your deep tones.
  15. Speak deliberately.
  16. Get to your facts.
  17. Be earnest.
  18. Observe your pauses.
  19. Suit the action to the word.
  20. Be yourself at your best.
  21. Speak fluently.
  22. Use your abdominal muscles.
  23. Make yourself interesting.
  24. Be conversational.
  25. Conciliate your opponent.
  26. Rouse yourself.
  27. Be logical.
  28. Have your wits about you.
  29. Be considerate.
  30. Open your mouth.
  31. Speak authoritatively.
  32. Cultivate sincerity.
  33. Cultivate brevity.
  34. Cultivate tact.
  35. End swiftly.

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