Public speaking masterclass: Buddy Burke

Buddy Burke is a public speaking guru who has delivered tips and wisdom on how to pitch products, launch ideas, ace interviews and wow audiences to some of Silicon Valley’s brightest minds.

He lectures on entrepreneurship programs at UC Berkeley and Notre Dame and universities across the world.

We asked him to share his wisdom and advice on public speaking for us at a recent workshop.

These are some of Buddy Burke’s best tips on how to improve and master public speaking.

Remember the three P’s

There are three things to remember when delivering any speech, Buddy said.

Pause — take your time, don’t rush. Silence can be valuable, you don’t have to fill it all the time.

Pitch — vary your pitch, go high or deep when you need to emphasize a point or convey emotion. Don’t be afraid to go up and down.

Pace — and vary your speed, don’t speak too fast (a sign of nerves), and slow down to emphasize a point. Variety is your friend.

How to sound confident

  1. Always include numbers in your speech
  2. Have a tight message, good story, takeaways, resonating story
  3. Be authentic

Questions from our audience:

What is more important, content or delivery of a speech?

Buddy Burke: “Both content and delivery are important. Without one you wouldn’t have the other. I’ll lean more towards delivery first off because that’s how you get their attention, however, once you get their attention, if you don’t have something of value then you lose their attention anyway.”

“It’s like comparing what’s more important, the staring wheel or the motor of a car, both are equally important just like in this case with content and delivery.”

How do you overcome using filler words — um, uh, like in their speech?

BB: “You should practice the 3Ps that I mentioned earlier, Pause, Pitch and Pace. Practice this everyday when you’re free, in the shower, when you’re in the washroom, etc, and you’ll definitely see a difference in your speech just after 2 weeks.”

“If you do happen to pause while giving your speech, make it seem as if it was intentional and natural, like the saying goes, “When you stumble, make it part of the dance.”

How do you make yourself confident to reveal your feelings to others?

BB: “For me, being vulnerable, opening yourself up and being honest with your failures is the main way. When you are honest with yourself and your audience about your embarrassment this brings confidence. I like to think of confidence as the absence of the things that prevent it rather than confidence itself.”

Which public figure or celebrity inspires or has inspired you in terms of their public speaking skills?

BB: “I want to mention one that I met. He had more hits on youtube than anyone at a point. Sir Ken Robinson, he had a wonderful method of delivery when he gave his Ted Talk. Other great political speakers are Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.”

Check out for more great public speaking tips.

Sign up for 40 of Buddy’s best public speaking tips here. Receive one tip a day (for free), after 40 days of practice Buddy guarantees your public speaking skills will improve!

Future T&E workshops include:

  • Idea to Product — Saturday, October 24, 8–9 PM EAT

How to create a business model/prototype and bring it to market.

  • Marketing and Design — Saturday, November 7, 8–9 PM EAT

The power of marketing and design thinking. Sell yourself and your products in ways that will appeal in-person and online.

  • AI changing the world — Saturday, November 21, 8–9 PM EAT

What is AI? What is Machine Learning? Data Science? Sytems Engineering? Learn how you can approach these fields with confidence.

  • How to fund YOUR startup — Saturday, December 5, 8–9 PM EAT

Venture Capital and funding models. How can you navigate the world of startup funding?

  • She’s changing the world — Saturday, December 19, 8–9 PM EAT

Women in Entrepreneurship. Why diversity matters and what we can do to promote it.

* Workshop dates are subject to change.

T&E Ladder wants to use technology and entrepreneurship to open doors for students.

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High school students — Get involved by following our social media pages and attend all the exciting events we have planned for you all. Elevate your education experience to the next level.

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Tech & Entrepreneurship Ladder provides high school students in Kenya with a platform and mentorship to create innovations using tech entrepreneurship.