Simple public speaking hacks from a professional

Whether you’re presenting in front of a small group or a large business conference, use "ACORN" as your perfect roadmap to success. 

Delivering presentations


Jessica Cara

Delivering presentations


Jessica Cara

3 minutes

"A good speech is like a pencil; it has to have a point.”

Public speaking is a critical component of influencing people through communication. If you’re new to the skill, it can seem extremely nerve-wracking. That’s why we’ve gathered the top industry practices from Scott Sugerman, biotech leader at Genentech.

During Episode 10 of Think Deeply, Speak Simply—Secrets of the World's Best Public Speakers—Scott shared his go-to tips for impactful public speaking in any setting. Whether you’re presenting in front of a small group or a large business conference, he has the perfect roadmap to success.

Use the “ACORN” acronym

Whether you’re a newbie or veteran of public speaking, Scott recommends the book, Getting a Squirrel to Focus by Patricia B. Scott. Here, you’ll find his favorite recipe for how to entice listeners with the following ingredients:

  • Audience
    First, identify who your audience is. Then, ask yourself how you intend to get them to listen.
  • Credibility
    Why should your audience be listening to you? What gives you authority on this subject matter over someone else?
  • Order
    Be smart about the structure of your presentation. Deliver your punchline early so listeners can understand and make sense out of what you’re saying.
  • Remember me
    Make your presentation memorable by grouping your content in sensible chunks. Be methodical so it’s easy for listeners to process and take knowledge away

  • Need to connect
    Why is your audience there? How is this information relevant to them? What is the heartfelt connection they should be walking away with?

This public speaking recipe can be applied to all industries. Whether you’re structuring a sales call, business presentation, or focus group, Scott praises this acronym as his holy grail for effective communication.

Be smart about your approach

Public speaking isn’t just about transferring information to your listeners.

Rather than data dumping too much content at once, learn to prioritize what you’re saying. Hone in on the message you want to communicate and get to your point quickly. Don’t spend too much time setting things up or you could lose your audience’s attention. Instead, deliver with emphasis and prepare, prepare, prepare.

Stand out in your next business presentation with these public speaking hacks.
If you’re ready to take your communication skills to the next level, catch the full conversation with Scott Sugerman here.