Public Speaking – How I Prepare Every Time

(Photo: Tim Wagner)

In the past several weeks, I’ve been asked quite a lot about public speaking.

While downing gin tonics over Brazilian BBQ at the SXSW Interactive tech conference, I was approached by the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of a start-up I advise.

She pulled me aside to ask primarily two questions:

1. Where can I learn about the right social media tools to use?

2. What books should I read to learn how to get good at public speaking?

Here were my answers….

1. Where can I learn about the right social media tools to use? (Note: she has an extensive marketing background outside of social media)

Answer: Don’t worry about it.

If you know how to 1) craft a clear and short benefit message to your ideal 1000 customers (read Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans, the only marketing article you’ll ever need to read), 2) secure and highlight testimonials and case studies, 3) offer a simple trial option to big enterprises (but charge them – no free rides or they won’t value it), and 4) offer awesome customer service to the customers who matter (not becoming consumed by squeaky wheels with more free time than budget) just use the skills you have and view social media, primarily Twitter and Facebook, as communication channels. Nothing new, and you don’t need to respond to every comment/criticism, just like in personal life.

2. What books should I read to learn how to get good at public speaking?

Answer: I don’t know, but I can show you in less than 5 minutes how I do it.

Here was my answer on one sheet of paper:

How I prepare for all public speaking – sketched out at SXSW for a start-up CMO.

Truth be told, I don’t think I’m that good at public speaking. Tons of speakers crush me in presentation, poise, and general lack of F-bombs. Granted, I was born and raised on Long Island, but the smooth delivery doesn’t seem to be a natural skill. Here are the ground rules I developed for myself to compensate, and I’ve been able to jam with some fun audiences as a result (paragraph 5 here), including the EG/TED, fancy schools, Fortune 100 big ‘uns, CIA/NSA, and tech gigs:

1) I won’t focus on being a “public speaker”. I’ll focus on being a teacher from the stage. What I might lack in delivery, I’ll make up for with actionable takeaways.

2) It’s fine (oftentimes good) if some people dislike you or disagree with you, but no one should misunderstand you. Everything you say should be clear.

3) It’s totally fine if you get nervous and stammer a bit, drop F-bombs where needed, or generally feel like a nervous wreck. If you give good actionable, clear advice, people will forgive it all.

4) Have fun and laugh at yourself whenever possible. Beating the audience to the punch makes it much less fun for them to slam you.

5) Have one 16-oz. Diet Coke 45 minutes prior to speaking and another about 20 minutes prior to speaking. Pee before getting on stage or you will look like a squirmy kid at a spelling bee. Yes, Diet Coke will give you hairy palms and insomnia, but this caffeine dosing has proven perfect for me for taking the stage. Could be as much placebo effect as anything else.

Those basics out of the way, here are my explanations of the paper summary above:

1) If the format is a 60-minute keynote, a typical format, then I automatically build in at least 20 minutes of audience Q&A, which I usually make 30 minutes. This reduces my presentation time to 30-35 minutes and allows me to tailor the presentation to the group (via answering their questions) instead of guessing what is most important to them and delivering as a pure monologue.

2) I assume my presentation will be in five parts: approximately 2-minute introduction, three 10-minute segments, and a 2-minute close. I use this “rule of thirds” for the three segments whether the presentation is 60 minutes or 10 minutes.

3) I then plan the content in this order:

10-minute segments – For each segment, what is the main takeaway or usable action for the audience? This means I have three main points in this talk, no more. To flesh out to 10 minutes in length, I then use a PEP (point-example-point) format or, my preference, EPE (example-point-example) format. PEP means you illustrate the concept, then give an example or case study, then reiterate the concept and actionable next step. EPE means you give an example or case study, then explain the concept, then finish with another case study or example. I sketch out 2-3 EPE or PEP for each 10-minute segment, and all of this is done on 1/4 to 1/2 a piece of paper.

Introduction – Now that I have a better idea of my content, I decide on the introduction, preferably starting with a story and then explaining that I’ll introduce three concepts that will help them do “X”, where “X” is whatever the overarching theme of the presentation is.

Unless you are a comedian or have already tested jokes with audiences who don’t know you, do NOT use rehearsed jokes. If a joke falls flat in your intro, it will ruin the experience for you and your audience.

4) Now the harder work and the fun of discovery – rehearsal:

The PEP/EPE is usually sketched out well in advance, and the rehearsal is done the night before the presentation.

I rehearse the intro, segment 1, segment 2, and segment 3, all separately. I’ll repeat the two-minute intro — winging it — until I nail it. I use a kitchen timer on countdown, and each time I finish, I write down any one-liners or wording that I like. Note that I NEVER memorize a speech verbatim, but I do ensure that I have memorized the starting and closing 2-3 sentences for each portion (intro, segments) at this point.

How many times will I repeat each segment? Until I’m happy. I am a perfectionist, so for certain presentations, this could be up to 10 times.

5) Once I have these parts in order, I then wing the close (not before), and repeat like the other portions until I’m happy. For me, it’s not productive to work on the closing statements or questions until I have the rest of the content polished and ready to rock.

6) Now link them all together and do the whole thing until you nail it at least once. Expect you’ll forget about 10% of your memorized lines or anecdotes, and that’s OK, but review your notes each time to ensure you’re hitting the most important points. Once you’ve blazed through it well once, go to bed.

One additional tip: I came to realize long ago that I can barely sleep the night before presentations; it doesn’t matter how many times I do them. So… expect that you won’t sleep and don’t let that add to the stress of the experience. Just get extra sleep the two nights before and plan on an all-nighter. If you get sleep, it’ll be a pleasant surprise instead of a source of panic.

Back to our story:

At this point, you should put your head on your pillow confident. REM sleep cycles will make your delivery smoother. This is why I always rehearse just before bed with no drinks, dinners, or conversations in between.

The next morning, I go for a 20-30 minute brisk walk after a light protein-rich breakfast (no bread). I also avoid caffeine until no more than 1.5 hours before game time, as I found it was too easy otherwise to burn yourself out drinking coffee or tea as a nervous distraction.

Once you’re on deck, just remember: if you’ve done the above, you’ve prepared more than most speakers. If you’re getting chased by a lion, you don’t need to run faster than the lion, just the people running with you. Speaking with other people is similar: you don’t need to be perfect, you just need to be better than a few others, and you’ve already built in insurance with good actionable content. Other presenters too often focus on delivery and forget content; delivery is the first thing to suffer from nerves, but content won’t. It’s your bedrock.

As long as you can keep your time, you’ll f***ing rock it.

Walk up with a smile and knock ’em dead.


Related Videos:

Tim Ferriss: Smash fear, learn anything | Video on (16:30 in length – the comments are hysterical.)

April 21 – Speaking on panel in NYC at 140 Conference

April 27-29 – Speaking in Amsterdam at The Next Web. Bicycles, Queensday, and much mischief, I suspect…

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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279 Replies to “Public Speaking – How I Prepare Every Time”

  1. Thanks Tim for the great post.

    I particularly like the 3-point format

    the Point-Example-Point format.

    I just gave a speech last weekend which was well received, but I think I would have even done better with your P-E-P format. Thanks

  2. Tim, Thanks for sharing. I like the way you break down the presentation into small junks. It’s a great tip! I’m always lost on how to start, but not anymore.

    Very beneficial! Going incorporate into my coaching sessions.

  3. Cheers for this Tim!

    I used your core suggestion of 3 ways to make one thing better for a couple of music workshops in Scotland recently and it worked a treat.

    Great resource for future talks etc… thanks


  4. I think it is a great idea to focus on content and not presentation. Also keeping it simple with 3 main segments.

    I sometimes find myself spending too much time on one point and find myself on a tangent. I will have to implement your suggestions next time around.


  5. Loved this post. I definitely agree about not memorizing. It comes out sounding way too formal and rehearsed. The goal is to connect.

    Once you’re able to connect, and read people’s thoughts just a little, you end up doing far better than reading or chanting the memorized agenda.

    Thanks for sharing!~

  6. @ Tim

    Nice overview. I watched the TED talk and now I want to go jump in my pool. Problem: It’s April here in Vermont. Must break out the steel plated bikini top.

    P.S. I suggest further refinement of pre-speaking engagement beverage consumption routine… add Bacardi.

    [comment edited: be nice, now.]

  7. If I may,

    I’d say that if you want to take a leak, hold it!

    Through my live musician experience I’ve been told several times that it creates a boost of adrenalin. It may also be a placebo, but give it a try!

  8. I really think that the takeaway here is the point that you don’t want to appear as though you over-prepared too much. I like your note to yourself about not using canned jokes.

    If you know your stuff, then the words will just flow from your mouth as long as you give yourself a little structure, and I think you have the perfect example of a 60 min structure here.

    As far as the social media, the 1000 true fans is the perfect touch. People get so bogged down with trying to do too much with all of the tweaking and the poking and prodding on their sites, which all leads up to nothing more than a diversion from trying to get one customer at a time.

    No one gets a bag of customers dropped on their doorstep and the sooner the up-and-coming small business owners learn to realise that it’s the important realtionsships that count, the better.

    Great post!

    Joshua Black

  9. Great read; I love to do public speaking and have often felt guilty about the way I prep vs. the way my college speech prof. taught us, you’ve taken all the guilt away by prepping in much the same way, avoiding over-scripting and allowing for moments of spontaneity that inevitably occur once you’re actually delivering in front of real live people vs. the pillows in the hotel room.

    Thanks — E

  10. Great tips! I especially liked the part about F-bombs and caffeine as I feel I’m a little too stiff and nervous when I do public speaking. Need to relax a bit more. Also, breaking the presentation apart and building in time for Q & A are both great ideas that I’d never really considered all that much.

  11. Well, once you dig into the piece it was valuable info; however, your approach to it seems everything is quite unique. Good for you. I am sure you are a bit more serious than you pretend to be. I will have to check out the book.


  12. Tim,

    This is the BEST article on public speaking that I have ever read. Your presentation template is simple and focused. And the holistic approach to the entire experience is so important and almost always ignored. Bravo!!

  13. Your blog was a timely link in today’s AIA dailyLead. I am preparing for my first major (aka compensated) speaking gig this Saturday, with an audience that is way smarter than I. I’m feeling more confident with my approach after validating it as consistent with yours (except I prefer Diet Dr Pepper).

    Thanks for being both entertaining and constructive.

  14. This article is great because you are sincere and honest about your thoughts and feelings about public speaking. What does growing up on Long Island have to do with anything though :0 ?

    I did have the opportunity to see you speak in Miami at the Summit Series and found it very enjoyable. You sat at the head of the large circle of chairs and basically just spoke to us in a very laid back and calm manner.

    I found that when talking about social media, which is a very hot topic now, it pays off to stop after every topic and ask if anyone has any questions. This allows everyone to be on the same page before you move forwards and makes sure that they don’t forget there by the end of your presentation.

  15. This is freaking excellent!

    I might actually live through it next time I have to get up in front of a crowd.

    Thanks for breaking the process down to a formula even I can make work.

  16. Tim

    Once again you bring a unique perspective to an age old problem. Most people say they would rather experience a dentist filling than speak in public. Your method demonstrates a great way to break down the art of public speaking into manageable parts. As a university drama graduate I like your approach. I agree the odd or two colorful words (f-bombs) wakes people up in the audience.


  17. Excellent instruction. Having given many speeches I believe this to be valuable information. Thanks.

  18. Loved this! Thank you. I do have a question. I have to speak publicly fairly regularly and enjoy it. BUT…my body does not. No matter how much I prepare, etc. my body trembles badly. Often, I will not feel scared but my body reacts as if I am. Any advice?

  19. Yeah, diet coke might work, since it makes me feel loopy and gives me a migraine. That might definitely make the nervousness go away :/ 🙂

  20. I use the rule of three segments as well. It always help.

    What I try always is also to involve the audience at the beginning with the questions. That always helps me get over my nervousness.

    I also move around while talking. It gives an outlet to my nervous energy.

    Join toastmasters. Their format has so many ways to become a better speaker and communicator.

    Very nice post! Thanks!


  21. Great post Tim. Until reading this I didn’t realize how I’ve started to get better at public speaking. I was (and still am, just a little less) terrified of public speaking.

    I used to try and memorize the content because I knew I would freeze from fright, but slowly over the years, I’ve put myself in these situations more on purpose and actually have adopted several of your points. The biggest for me is just rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing to get my big points identified and engrained so I don’t forget them.

    I will take away the PEP/EPE concept to help me hit my points more clearly.

  22. Its funny because i was just strategizing with a friend who is a professional speaker last night and how to prepare. He might know a bit because he was the top salesman for Tony Robbins for several years and sold to groups prior to Tony events. He branched off and now trains people on “influencing from he front” …

  23. I forgot to mention, the reason i was having that conversation is that I’m speaking to a group of 3,000 people next week in Nicaragua and I was about to have a nervous breakdown, haha 🙂

    PS: the format Tim is sharing here is a simple outline of the best pracitices of the best. as always GREAT STUFF

    PS: Tim & if you ever want to take your game to the next level I would love to set you up with a free mastermind session with my buddy Roberto. We like to do it while sipping Yerba Mate in Pacific Beach, San Diego.

  24. As always, you’re tips are straight to the point. You keep giving awesome advice that I am able to use daily. Keep up the good work. Thanks!

  25. Awesome points!

    Public speaking is about being converstional and believeable…the more you do that the less people will think you’re speaking at them, but rather amongst them. I always picture hanging out with my buddies drinking a beer…

    Thanks for recommending 1,000 true fans…great concept!


  26. This is great advice, Tim. I have never over-prepared for a speech but I have certainly underprepared, resulting in a bad speech and bad experience. To quote Mark Twain: “It usually takes me about three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech”.

    I like your idea of relying on good content as the foundation of a speech. It’s a great way to add confidence for the 99% of us that need it and could salvage an otherwise off-performance day. I also like your preparation techniques to add that extra edge of confidence that makes all the difference.

    There is no substitute for preparation.

    Keep up the good work, here and elsewhere.


  27. I’m half way through the book. Arrived from Amazon today. After 12 hours running a company in the industry I’ve known for 30 years I felt as if you were speaking directly through me: channeling my bride. How much would it cost to get one hour of your time, face to face (I will come your direction) or on the phone. I have enjoyed success but have literally worked myself to bad health and am not enjoying all the dreams I used to have. In fact when asked in a speech a month or so ago, “what are your dreams” ( I had just told this group how important it was to have dreams) I realized that not only did not have any but I did not know where my old ones from many moons ago went. It would mean a lot for me to get this time. This push. I need this. Please let me know. Thank you for any consideration you give this request. PS. Great book, great advice. I’ve bought the book for my four kids and three granddaughters already! All the best, Slainte’

  28. It’s sad that one has to even write this – “f-bombs are NEVER appropriate – in ANY audience.



    It is just unacceptable and simply shows a lack of couth.

    It adds NOTHING to a presentation – but underscores a lack of respect for your audience and yourself.

  29. This is great,

    I´ve been attending on a public speaking course few weeks ago, and the old (and wise) teacher told us that´s very important start with an anecdote, because you know very well what you are talking about (it´s your anecdote), and it makes you feel very comfortable (the first 3 minutes are, probably, the worst).

    It´s great if the anecdote is related with the subject of your speech. And, by default, people like “gossips”, and it claims their attention.


    You will never have a 2nd chance of create a very good 1st impression 😀

    Saludos desde España,


  30. Off topic, a friend finally gave in to my enthusiasm and went to buy the book, only to be told by Borders (Palo Alto?) that 4HWW is “out of print.”

    1. Good lord… gotta love bookstores. It’s definitely not out of print — it’s still on the NY Times list! Perhaps they were looking at the old edition and not the revised?


  31. Hi Tim, great tips here. . I’m 16 yrs old from the Philippines.. currently reading 4hWW, oh men! I wanna meet u personally.

  32. Good stuff.

    Makes me feel better about my approach which is quite similar. I run through it a lot of times before hand. Not trying to memorise ‘verbatim’ but to memorise the points I want to hit, and trust myself to do it right on the night.

    I always felt a little guilty about ‘winging it’ this way… assuming that other speakers had a more ‘professional’ approach. Your post is a bit of a relief

  33. You haven’t bought yourself a business if you have to show up everyday, thats called a job. Thanks for all the inspiration getting me started, its funny though how many things in life simply have to be learned through experience.

  34. Thanks Tim,

    Excellent post, used it immediately to do an important speech at Toastmasters, and off course nailed it!

    Want to offer you a tip for a great party when you are in Amsterdam for The Next Web. I just send it to you via e-mail, for privacy sake…

  35. The most relevant issue in your blog (as I have been checked also with my own public speaking) is the fact that the speech has to be clearly structured. One has to definitively know what he/she is trying to say: which is the message to be delivered.

    Otherwise, and, unfortunately this is extremely usual, the speaker will be swimming in circle throughout the entire hour and the attendees will be trying to find out “what the hell is this guy wanting to say?”

    Keep on your great job

  36. The most relevant issue in your blog (as I have been checked also with my own public speaking) is the fact that the speech has to be clearly structured. One has to definitively know what he/she is trying to say: which is the message to be delivered.

    Otherwise, and, unfortunately this is extremely usual, the speaker will be swimming in circle throughout the entire hour and the attendees will be trying to find out “what the hell is this guy wanting to say?”

    Keep on your great job and keep allowing us to learn from your experience

  37. Hi Tim,

    Just a cheer on another great post and a hearty thank you for writing 4HWW. I read the book a couple of years ago on recommendation from a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and it was instrumental changing my attitude around work and money. I haven’t worked for anyone I haven’t wanted to in years. I spend much more time living than I do earning one, and the life I have now is amazing (…returned recently from a month in Senegal. If you love music or surfing I can recommend Dakar.). I just finished listening to the new edition of 4HWW on Audible audiobook. Thanks for pathfinding and pointing the way. Looking forward to the health and fitness book. I’m sure we’ll meet if mutually beneficial.

    With Metta…

    Billy Wayne Blackwell II

  38. Hey Tim,

    I’ve read both copies of 4HWW thanks for writing them, they’ve been a big help and I’m starting a new online business while at the same time streamlining how I run it and what I spend my time on.

    I was taking a look at some of your videos on youtube, do you have a youtube page?

    Hope all is well,


  39. Hey I found it! Just didn’t clue in that you were “masterlock”

    Anyways, thanks again for all your content on this blog as well, much appreciated.


  40. Hi Tim,

    As always, great stuff!

    I know this isn’t relative to your post, but I’m sure some of your readers (including myself) would love to hear your insight on the topic of finding and/or creating suitable work upon repatriating to the States (after having lived abroad for a few years or more), that is, if you have any thoughts on the subject:-)


  41. Hey Tim , I like the keep it simple rule you use in all your posts, great work!

    I was wandering how come a very intelligent and health oriented guy like you consumes ASPARTAME drinks like diat coke? I remember you mention it in you book as well that you bought a newspaper as it had coupon for a free a cheaper diet coke…

    Saludos y Pura vida, pero saludable !


  42. Thanks for the post Tim! Man, I love public speaking! I fell in love with it about 6 years ago. The thing I tell people all of the time is if you are speaking on a topic that you know, then just talk about it. As long as you don’t ramble and the speech is structured well enough so they can keep up, you’ll be fine.

    If you really like what you are talking about, the audience will feel the enthusiasm.

  43. Nice post Tim. Daniel has a point though. Aren’t you turned off by the fake aspect of aspartame in diet soda?

  44. Honestly Tim, I haven’t been impressed by the videos I’ve seen of you speaking :).

    It’s always surprised me, as I’d imagine that before you did it, you’d have interviewed some of the top public speakers, deconstructed their techniques, and made your own engaging, interesting, viral speech :).

  45. Hi Tim,

    I was introduced to your blog by one of my friends, who read your book and find it insightful. As for public speak, I think the most important point is the logic, the logic of your topic. With your logic, you will know exactly what you are going to talk about, and you will also make your audience clear about what you say.

    In addition, I know that joke may generate neglect effect, however, I think proper humor is of great significance to attract audience, and I always try to say some words in humorous way which works well.

    Anyway, nice post~

  46. Besides the 100’s of other gems in this one article…the moment that hit me most was about not having to answer every squeaky wheel, every comment, criticism or question. I’ve noticed from the beginning of my work that I am drawn to deal with anyone who doesn’t like what I’ve said. A negative letter or comment would turn my energy in their direction – like a sign flashing “deal with this now” – and time and energy would just ooze out in their direction. It’s this ego thing of wanting people to like me, that pops up when I least expect it, and is completely at odds with my full-bodied intent, desire, wish to share, give, help…and, knowing this, and seeing how it works so unexpectedly in me, helps me help other women to discover those people-pleasing energy drain instincts and rewire them. Thank you – Rori Raye

  47. I now realise that your book and this blog contain gold nuggets of information, that can help me become part of the new rich so I keep it secret from people I meet, as, why tell people about a gold mine I have found ?

    cackle cackle

    many thanks for all this stuff !


  48. Thanks Tim – I referenced this post while preparing for my first webinar. I could’ve used more practice, but your advice helped calm my nerves.

    Public speaking feels less nerve wrecking when you’re passionate (and knowledgeable) about your topic. For me, that’s magic combo is travel + blogging.

  49. @tferriss Olá TFerris Read your book cool concepts some of them applicable for me.

    I am from 1977, Engineer, born in Lisboa (amazing city) but for the last 3 years I live in Copenhagen the beautifull Danish woman oooo (My girl friend can´t read this).

    What I am doing here? I am networking.

    I have and try to have the same lifestyle you have. It was funny to read your book and to realize that you not that diferent then me.

    Here Denmark they have the double 8 Concept, 8 hours work, 8 hour sleep daily and the rest is fun..I use 7 hour work 7 I am also Latino so I have to change a little. I have a open question I want to go to NY and Miami and July first week like 10 days I am not going with my girlfriend she can´t and we also have this “open mind” relationship. The thing here is when if you travel alone how do you network? do you try to facebook or blog some one from the place you going? I tryed that I had good experience but some times is a little bit wierd. What is your vision?. Xau and thanks

  50. Your book is one of the most inspirational I have ever read, if not the most, but I haven’t been to your blog for a long while for some reason.

    What was I thinking? Such a wealth of information here.

    I am shy by nature, but find myself oddly drawn to public speaking. It’s both terrifying and exciting at the same time, I just want to try it, get good at it, conquer it!

  51. As ever Tim your advice invaluable. I think to be a success in life you will come across situations where you have to speak in public. Thanks to your steps I will hopefully improve at this Very quickly.


  52. Great Post.

    I just spoke to a group after reading this and was great. Thanks Tim for the words they helped. I used some NLP techniques to get over my fear and it is amazing. I am so confident now. I actually have to remember to be passionate about my talks as it is easy to be so confident you lose that passion that makes you great.

    Stephen from New Zealand.

  53. another down-to-earth, achievable set of tips, thanks tim.

    am devouring the book BTW, already putting 80/20 into practise

  54. I’m a communications consultant and I’m pleased to see your speech preparation format is very similar to the approach I’ve used for many years both for my own presentations and for client training. Two additional ideas that I would add to your outline…1. “Be full of your subject and forget yourself” is wisdom I gained from a college communication course many years ago. It was in response to the irrational fear of speaking without a script. 2. It’s always a good idea to return to the intro idea in the conclusion. It ties the speech together, makes it come full circle and suggests to the audience that your thoughts are consistent and complete. Finally, the importance of storytelling is underscored by what I call “the six most powerful words in the English language: “Let me tell you a story”. We are hardwired from childhood to listen-up and engage in a good story’s narrative.

  55. kinda odd to see Ads by Google on your site. Something new?

    Helpful suggestion regarding social media tools: With all the Twitter & Facebook changes, it’s a solid time to use those communication channels to reach your audience. However, add any other communication channels which deems itself useful & efficient to reach your target audience. Your audience may be beyond the scope of just Facebook & Twitter. Find out what works.

    Also, consider following these Industry Social Media Fanatics on Twitter. To name a few -> @loic, @sacca, @briansolis, @Scobleizer, @arrington, @techcrunch, @mashable, @chrisbrogan, @claytonMorris, @Jason

    I kid you not, they are funny and very informative.

    Have a fab weekend. Best wishes to Everyone!

  56. Hey Tim,

    I think I saw you near the NYU campus around Mercer st. today around 4 p.m. You were talking into your iPhone and said something like, “my tux was the only one that didn’t fit”. Wasn’t sure if it was you though.

  57. Tim,

    I read your book and after reading this post I am inspired to keep at it. I really like the PEP/EPE concept. This is a simple model but very powerful and easy to remember. Great post!


  58. Tim – I/We are massive fans. Loved the book, found it totally inspiring. I checked your site today and a curious thing happened; some adsense appeared down the right hand column but the companies that were advertising were 3 of my main competitors. Now the context behind this is that I run a conflict resolution business in London – fairly niche I’d say (just one of my businesses) and so I was wondering what was going on under the hood that somehow recognisd my profile and displayed relevent advertsing. I’d be interested to know how you achieved this. I say one of my businesses because a friend of mine and I were so inspired by your book we’ve started our own venture… where were wrtiting about our efforts to follow your path!

    Keep up the great work chief.


    Aled and Daniel

  59. Thanks Tim! You continue to inspire me!! Are you really responding in this blog thread or is the one of your many assistants?? 😉 Good work on staying active on your blog. I know it’s tough and that you’re super busy!

  60. Tim, this isn’t the first time you’ve attributed your colorful language to growing up on Long Island. If you have a moment, please elaborate on this aspect of Long Island “culture” that I’ve never heard of before. (I’m personally fascinated by cultural differences of all kinds.)

  61. I think often it is passion about a subject that comes across more than talent in a public speaking scenario. I knew an actor once who swore by always running his tongue around his mouth to increase saliva production – keeping the inside of the mouth from drying up was according to him the most important thing both as a mechanism for taking his mind off the fact that he was in front of hundreds of people and as a way to make sure you speak properly.

  62. Hi-ya Tim,

    really good article. Would be interesting to see you disect one of your own examples (PEP/EPE)

    One quick note: if someone’s really worth monetizing their blog, it’s you – but can’t you do something a little more hm elegant than “ads by google”? Come on, must be guys out there willing to pay obscene amounts for an ad that might be a little more aestethic. See this as a compliment;)

    Yours, Isabelle

  63. Arun, haha! Stumbling across Tim and not saying a word… I’d kick myself for eternity. At least you stalked him enough to hear that his superhuman workouts are making him too big for his suit.

    I just can’t wait for the book, Tim. Being a basketballer, I would love to hear vertical jump and speed training secrets. Those two things contribute to being superhuman in more sports than ANY other skill. Traditional T Ferriss blog post or subtitle in book: “How I Added 30 Inches to My Vertical Jump in 6 Months and Tea Bagged Lebron James in the Air”

  64. Hey Tim! Just wanted to tell you how much I love your blog! I’m a 14 year old boy, so some of the stuff that you write is unnecessary knowledge (the stuff about entrepreneurship etc.) for me, but you really inspire me. I want to be like you when I grow up, and be able to do the stuff you’ve done!


  65. Tim, great post – You should increase the frequency of these blog posts though. Folks are getting anxious for the next one! Maybe you should outsource it? Maybe you already are?

    wow, maybe I should branch out and find some others. I am a bit myopic in my internet blog readings. I originally discovered you via Derek Sivers, so I only read two blogs. It would be great to see a list of top blogs

    I am currently writing a book proposal and looking for any nugget of wisdom in this area

  66. Tim claims to be a Chinese national kickboxing champion, but I can’t find any evidence for this claim that doesn’t come straight from Tim. I think he made that up. We’ve all come to expect sensationalism and exaggeration from Tim, but this looks like a complete fabrication.

    1. @David,

      I’ve covered this before on the blog. What would I have to gain by lying about this, other than headache? 1999 Sanshou Championships, cornered by Jason Yee of Boston San Shou in the finals for 165 lb. class.


    2. David, what would I have to gain by lying, other than massive headache? I’m not that stupid. I’ve covered this before on the blog, but basics: 1999 San Shou championships, cornered by Jason Yee of Boston San Shou in 165-lb finals.


  67. Great! Sometimes when I’m nervous I think it helps to sort of joke about it with the audience, it relaxes me a bit and I can then shake it off, instead of concentrating on looking like I’m not nervous.

  68. Hi Tim!

    came across your blog on my daughter’s blog.

    Your comments on public speaking were exscellent .

    I started teacher’s college after my kids went to school and had to speak in front of a room full of flower children (60’s) .I almost lost my dream because I couldn’t seem to make myself present my projects.

    thanks for your blog.


  69. Tim:

    I am about to make a keynote to the Edmonton Toasmasters District Convention tonight.

    I have never been involved in Toastmasters nor have I ever taken speaker training of any type.

    The last time I spoke was in November 2008 when I made a keynote about “The Joy of Not Working” to about 1,500 executives and scholars at the National Turkish Congress of Quality’s 17 Annual Convention in Istanbul.

    I was going to use the same presentation for Toastmasters but your method is the one I will try tonight.

    It makes great sense – particularly giving a lot of time for questions. My presentation time is 45 minutes and I will allow 15 minutes for questions and answers.

    Incidentally, I am not quite sure that a lot of preparation and practice is key. I recall Dr. Wayne Dyer talking about how he stopped preparing for his presentations when he forgot his notes and his wife who happened to be in the audience that night told him that it was the best presentation he ever made.

    Ernie J. Zelinski

    The Creativity Guy Too Prosperous to Do Mornings

    Author of the Bestseller “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free”

    (Over 120,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)

    and the International Bestseller “The Joy of Not Working”

    (Over 240,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

  70. Tim, I joined Toastmasters two years ago and it was the making of my public speaking. With the support of others and learning the tricks of great delivery I’ve developed my own style which I think all speakers should do. Personally I prepare 50% of the talk and 50% fly free and respond to what comes to mind and the audience interaction. Find what works for you and go with that. Great post and not heavy in the content which is a mini-speech in itself.

  71. Tim,

    Thanks for the post. I have a speech coming soon, I’m sure the tools you’ve provided will be helpful to my success!!


  72. I’ve seen a lot of presenters get in trouble with the intro. They’ll start rambling and 20 minutes later turn to the first slide. At this point, the audience is checking emails, and they’ll probably run out of time. Make the intro short and jump to the meat of the presentation.

    One last tip: don’t use slide builds. They interrupt the flow of a speech. Just show the full slide.

  73. Hey Tim,

    Great info on public speaking…. I can’t wait to utilize your tips! The four hour work week has made such a difference in the way I run my business.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  74. Thanks for the advice…perfect timing as I’ve got a 60min talk to a large audience next week. Every time I stop by your blog, I always find something new to help me. Much appreciated.

  75. Tim, I have not checked your blog since I read through your book (it has been a while). I recall that at that time you were trying to forgo taking any stimulants such as caffeine. Did that not work out? Your blog entry mentions the Diet Coke.

    Last year I switched from Coke to Diet Coke and this year from Diet Coke to Caffeine-Free Diet Coke. I felt awful for three days making that switch. Just curious if you gave up on your no caffeine policy or if that was just a trial thing for you.

  76. Great post! Thanks a lot for sharing this. I was looking for some tips about making a public talk and seems I dont need to search anymore 🙂

  77. Awesome article, Tim! Your EPE/PEP presentation format is a fantastic tip.

    I once had the opportunity to present to an audience of 500 youths and it really scared me thinking that former senators and industry leaders have presented in the event. I tried to keep my presentation simple focusing on specific points.

    Had I known about EPE/PEP, I think I would’ve given a better presentation. I am excited to use your EPE/PEP formula for my next presentations!

    Thanks so much, Tim!

  78. The most efficient substitute against fear is enthusiasm about your subject. Find a topic you’re enthusiastic about and your need to share will be so great that you’ll forget all about fear.

    What do you think ?

  79. The best speakers are the ones that can truly be authentic.

    I know you are a great speaker!

    Thanks for your wise words. I will keep it in mind when I speak, again.

    Massive Success to ya,

    Dr. Elon Bomani

  80. Love the outline. It’s not diet coke for me. I always take an asprin 1 hr prior to a speech. Nice relaxed yet still energized.

    Thanks for sharing


  81. Legit!

    Eliminate meals and discussions the night before – practice then get some REM. I think that’ll work!

  82. I read this the other day just before i made a video about creating a google adwords campaign and i think it helped me a lot ( It only took 100 takes,lol).

    I tried to have fun and take the pis* out of myself whist on camera and it did take the edge off things.

    Cheer bud

    Matt 🙂