Lessons from Public Speaking


“Here’s your opening line…” Ahhh, the magic words of Patricia Fripp, award-winnning speaker and speech coach. On Thursday and Friday, 10 of us lady launchers participated in Fripp’s Public Speaking School. Fripp dazzled us with her lightening-speed ability to whip out compelling opening lines, her laser-focused on-the-spot speech editing and her dynamic and humorous storytelling. If you’re considering public speaking, I highly recommend taking one of her courses (or even getting any of her CDs or DVDs). I walked away with so many nuggets on structure, content and delivery that I’ll apply to anything from a 3-min. blurb to an hour-long talk.

Despite being a quiet kid, in junior high I competed in mock trial and high school I competed in speech, mostly in “DI” (dramatic interpretation). I got a kick out of portraying twisted, emotional yet very strong women (hmmm, what does that say about me?!). My senior year, I even went to the State and National Championships.

Although I got pretty comfortable reciting scenes from plays and books in front of large audiences, I was petrified of doing anything that required my own content or thinking on my feet. I avoided original oratory, debate, impromtu and the like. What did I have to say? Would anyone even care? What if I sounded stupid? Of course, those thoughts still cross my mind as I blog, write my book, give talks or facilitate groups. The difference now is I just do it anyway.

When I reflect on my years in speech and the mentoring from my speech coach Mr. Fong I’m very grateful for the experience. There are many lessons that help me in my personal and professional life. Be BIG. Be prepared. Practice, practice, practice. Focus and breathe. Get feedback. Practice more. Dress for success. Believe in myself. And so much more.

Now, after working with Patricia Fripp I have new “Frippisms” to add to my lessons from public speaking. And I’m excited that we lady launchers can support each other in preparing for and giving our presentations! That makes the daunting process of public speaking that much easier.

One thought on “Lessons from Public Speaking”

  1. Jennifer….it was great to have you and your friends from Ladies Who Launch at the Patricia Fripp speaking school in Palo Alto. You were all so creative and fun to work with. Thanks for putting the photo into your blog! If any of your readers are interested in other Patricia Fripp speaking events…my next class is in Seattle November 6-7.

    All events that are open to the public are linked

    Keep in touch….Patricia Fripp


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *