16 min read ⌚
Modern Techniques for Dynamic Communication
Want to become a better public speaker?
The only thing you need is Dale Carnegie’s 1962 book:
Who Should Read “The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking”? And Why?
As suggested by the title, The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking is for everyone who wants to master the art of rhetoric.
It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a piece of advice for an impromptu speech during a friend’s gathering or ways to nail that wedding toast – Dale Carnegie has it all packed and neatly structured in about 200 pages.
About Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie was an American lecturer and bestselling author, one of the pioneers in the fields of self-improvement, corporate training, and public speaking guidance.
A poor farmer’s son, Dale Carnegie dreamt of becoming a lecturer ever since his childhood years, but after finding a little success as an actor in the years before the First World War, he went nearly broke.
It was then that he got an idea to teach a course on public speaking which was a success and resulted in the publication of Public Speaking and Influencing Men in Business in 1926.
His crowning achievement came a decade later when Simon & Schuster published How to Win Friends and Influence People, one of the all-time self-improvement classics; something similar can be said about How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, first published in 1948.
“The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking PDF Summary”
First published in 1962, The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking is often marketed as the fourth revision of Public Speaking and Influencing Men in Business, Dale Carnegie’s famous 1926 textbook which went through more than fifty printings in the next three decades and was translated into no less than 11 languages.
However, this fourth revision is different than the previous three in at least two ways:
• First and foremost – and most obvious in view of the fact that Dale Carnegie died in 1955, – this revision wasn’t made by him: instead, it was made by his wife Dorothy, based on her husband’s notes and ideas;
• And secondly, it is such a substantial revision that it is difficult to consider it as merely a version of Public Speaking and Influencing Men in Business; it’s nothing less than a completely different book.
And will be treated as such.
Divided into five parts and fourteen chapters, the book is both an introduction to public speaking and a manual for mastering it.
Though its examples may be a bit outdated, they are delivered in an easy-to-read language and reveal a theoretical framework for the ages.
Part One: Fundamentals of Effective Speaking
In the chapters that make up the first part of this book, Dale and Dorothy Carnegie “discuss the basic principles of effective speaking and the attitudes to make these principles come alive.”
Chapter I: Acquiring the Basic Skills
“In order to get the most out of this book,” writes Dale Carnegie in the Introduction to the first chapter of the first part of his book, “and to get it with rapidity and dispatch, you will find these four guideposts useful:”
#1. Take heart from the experience of others
“There is no such animal, in or out of captivity, as a born public speaker,” writes Carnegie straightforwardly right off the bat.
In other words – as is the case with every single sphere of human endeavor – you can learn to become a public speaker; quite probably, in much, much less than 10,000 hours (looking at you, Gladwell).
The reason why there were periods of time when there were many more public speakers than today is, simply put, because public speaking was considered important and was part of the curriculum.
Nothing more, nothing less.
#2. Keep your goal before you
According to Dale Carnegie, William James, Harvard’s most distinguished professor of psychology, said it best when he said:
In almost any subject, your passion for the subject will save you. If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly attain it. If you wish to be good, you will be good. If you wish to be rich, you will be rich. If you wish to be learned, you will be learned. Only then you must really wish these things and wish them with exclusiveness and not wish one hundred other incompatible things just as strongly.
Carnegie describes these six sentences as “the open sesame to Ali Baba’s treasure cave of courage.”
#3. Predetermine your mind to success
“Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man,” wrote poet Walter D. Wintle a century ago, “but sooner or later the man who wins is the man who thinks he can.”
That’s Dale Carnegie’s third guidepost for success: predetermine your mind to it.
Take a lesson from Caesar and burn your ships after crossing Dover; now, with the last means of retreat burned, you’d have no choice but to conquer England.
#4. Seize every opportunity to practice
OK, that title is pretty self-explanatory.
Chapter II: Developing Confidence
Overcoming stage fright and developing confidence is not that difficult and you shouldn’t consider it an insurmountable obstacle to your success as a public speaker; you just need a few weeks of practice.
And these four pieces of advice.
#1. Get the facts about fear of speaking in public
Never forget these four facts about public speaking:
• You are not unique in your fear of speaking in public;
• A certain amount of stage fright is useful: it is nature’s way of preparing us to meet unusual challenges in our environment;
• Many professional speakers never completely lose all stage fright;
• The chief cause of your fear of public speaking is simply that you are unaccustomed to speak in public.
#2. Prepare in the proper way
Daniel Webster said once that he’d sooner appear before an audience half-clothed than half-prepared; and Lincoln mused that he should never be old enough to speak without embarrassment when he has nothing to say.
In other words: only the prepared ones can be confident.
And they can do this by:
• Never memorizing a talk word for word;
• Assembling and arranging their ideas beforehand; and
• Rehearsing their talk with their friends.
#3. Predetermine your mind to success
A piece of repeated advice, but, then again, a justly repeated one.
Just follow these simple rules to do so:
• Lose yourself in your subject;
• Keep your attention off negative stimuli that may upset you;
• Give yourself a pep talk.
#4. Act confident
Your adaptive unconscious can’t really make the difference between actual and mimicked feelings and actions.
In other words: fake it – until you make it.
Chapter III: Speaking Effectively the Quick and Easy Way
These are the three cardinal rules for a quick and easy way to learn to speak in public:
#1. Speak about something you have earned the right to talk about through experience or study
This is the rule you’ll hear repeated most often as Lesson #1 from this book.
Tell your listeners what life has taught you and be sure to look for topics in your background.
That’s the best way to conquer your fears and earn confidence.
#2. Be sure you are excited about your subject
Of course, not everything you can talk about is something you want to talk about. And great public speakers deliver their speeches with passion and fervor. So, be excited about your topic.
#3. Be eager to share your talk with your listeners
Part Two: Speech, Speaker, and Audience
This part discusses the speech triangle: speech/speaker/audience.
Chapter IV: Earning the Right to Talk
“There are four ways to develop speech material that guarantees audience attention,” writes Dale Carnegie. “If you follow these four steps in your preparation you will be well on the way to commanding the eager attention of your listeners.”
#1. Limit your subject
“You must limit and select before you begin, narrow your subject down to an area that will fit the time at your disposal.”
Follow this simple rule-of-thumb:
• In a short talk – around 5 minutes – you have time to go over one or two points;
• In a longer talk – between 5 and 30 minutes – you have time to go over four or five main ideas.
#2. Develop reserve power
After narrowing your subject, now it’s time to ask yourself some difficult questions about it and get about ten or a hundred times as much information as what you’d actually use in the end.
This is what Dale Carnegie refers to as “reserve power.”
#3. Fill your talk with illustrations and examples
Do this by following these five rules:
• Humanize your talk;
• Personalize your talk by using names;
• Be specific – feel your talk with details;
• Dramatize your talk by using dialogue;
• Visualize by demonstrating what you are talking about.
#4. Use concrete, familiar words that create pictures
We do not think in generals – but in particulars; take a lesson from Shakespeare, and instead of saying “superfluous,” say something like “to gild refined gold, to paint the lily, to throw perfume on the violet.”
And that comes from King John, one of his worst plays.
Chapter V: Vitalizing the Talk
#1. Choose subjects you are earnest about
“If a speaker believes a thing earnestly enough and says it earnestly enough,” Carnegie says, “he will get adherents to his cause, even though he claims he can produce bluegrass from dust and ashes.”
#2. Relive the feelings you have about your topic
You know why you watch movies?
Because they allow you to satisfy your need for emotional expressiveness.
Offer that to your audience.
#3. Act in earnest
Acting in earnest will make you feel earnest. Remember that.
Chapter VI: Sharing the Talk with the Audience
Speaking of feelings and your relationship with the audience – here are a few rules that will help you to build up “a strong feeling of rapport with your listeners:”
#1. Talk in terms of your listeners’ interests
Visualize your audience as eager to hear what you have to say; otherwise, you’ll think that you’re boring your audience and you’ll find your listeners restless and hopefully looking to the exit doors.
This helps nobody.
#2. Give honest, sincere appreciation
Don’t tell your audience that is the most intelligent you have ever addressed or that you love each and every one of them; be exactly one hundred percent sincere with them. Hollow flattery may work in the short-term, but in the long-term – gets you nowhere.
#3. Identify yourself with the audience
Once again, self-explanatory: say “we” when you start feeling that the “you” creates a space between you and the audience.
#4. Make your audience a partner in your talk
Ask questions, be interactive, use a little showmanship!
#5. Play yourself down
“An audience is quick in taking the measure of a speaker who assumes that he is superior in mental accomplishment or in social standing,” writes Carnegie. “Indeed, one of the best ways for a speaker to endear himself to an audience is to play himself down.”
Part Three: The Purpose of Prepared and Impromptu Talks
In part three, the Carnegies develop in detail two methods of delivering a talk: the extemporaneous (aka prepared) one and the impromptu method.
The impromptu method aside, you need to know that every talk, regardless of whether the speaker realizes it or not, has one of four major goals:
• To persuade or get action;
• To inform;
• To impress and convince; or
• To entertain.
The following chapters analyze each – but the entertaining one – of these goal-oriented talks in detail.
Chapter VII: Making the Short Talk to Get Action
If you want to persuade or get action through your speech, be short and straight to the point.
#1. Give your example, an incident from your life
• Build your example upon a single personal experience;
• Start your talk with a detail of your example;
• Fill your example with relevant detail;
• Relive your experience as you relate it.
#2. State your point, what you want the audience to do
• Make the point brief and specific;
• Make the point easy for listeners to do;
• State the point with force and conviction.
#3. Give the reason or benefit the audience may expect
• Be sure the reason is relevant to the example
• Be sure to stress one reason—and one only
Chapter VIII: Making the Talk to Inform
If you want to be merely informative in your talk, then you should always have in mind Ludwig Wittgenstein’s dictum: “Everything that can be thought at all can be thought clearly. Everything that can be said can be said clearly.”
Also, you should follow these rules:
#1. Restrict your subject to fit the time at your disposal
This is always important – but especially if you want to be informative.
#2. Arrange your ideas in sequence
See below: this works great when you enumerate.
#3. Enumerate your points as you make them
First of all, because one can follow much better if you enumerate for him your points.
Secondly, because he/she will remember better if you follow this strategy.
Thirdly – and lastly – because it always works.
#4. Compare the strange with the familiar
To do this:
• Turn a fact into a picture; and
• Avoid technical terms
#5. Use visual aids
Chapter IX: Making the Talk to Convince
Getting a favorable reaction is every speaker’s objective at any time, anywhere. However, sometimes, this is the main goal.
If that’s what you want to achieve, these five advices by Carnegie should be more then helpful.
#1. Win confidence by deserving it
According to the ancients, the orator was nothing less than “a good man skilled in speaking.” And when it’s your purpose to convince someone, then you better try to say something that you believe in.
You must be sincerely convinced in what you’ll attempt to convince others; otherwise, you probably won’t.
#2. Get a Yes-response
Don’t argue with your audience: even in arguments, there’s always some common ground. Start from there.
#3. Speak with contagious enthusiasm
Reason alone hasn’t convinced anyone ever; you must deeply believe in what you say, and you must express it in a way that will demonstrate this belief. Reason wins minds; contagious enthusiasm wins hearts. The latter works better, smoother, and faster.
#4. Show respect and affection for your audience
But – be sincere while doing this; neither underestimate nor overestimate them.
#5. Begin in a friendly way
Let’s face it: so many things depend on the first impression; that’s why it’s essential that you begin in a friendly way.
Chapter X: Making Impromptu Talks
Someone – a jazz-musician, we think – once said that he spends a lot more time preparing for his improvisations than for anything else.
Have that in mind if you are interested in giving impromptu talks: they don’t come by themselves.
#1. Practice impromptu speaking
To be able to give the impromptu speech when it really matters, prepare yourself by giving impromptu speeches when it doesn’t; nothing comes out of nothing, wrote Shakespeare; he might as well had practicing in mind when he wrote that.
#2. Be mentally ready to speak impromptu
You must be mentally ready to speak impromptu; don’t start an impromptu speech if you feel fear even in the tiniest amount; it doesn’t work that way.
#3. Get into an example immediately
There are three reasons why you should do this:
• It is freeing;
• It will get you into “the swing of speaking;”
• You will enlist the attention of your audience at once.
#4. Speak with animation and force
To quote Carnegie, “throw yourself with abandon into your talk, and you will help to insure your success as an impromptu speaker.”
#5. Use the principle of the Here and the Now
There are three sources from which you can get ideas for an impromptu speech:
• The audience; talk about them and use an example they should know;
• The occasion; there’s a need for an impromptu speech when there are more than just a few guys around; surely you can talk about how that happened, right?
• The things already said; be an attentive listener and link your speech to something someone has said before you.
#6. Don’t talk impromptu – give an impromptu talk
That’s a nice way to point out the difference between merely talking about something and giving a talk; the former is formless; the latter has structure; jot it in your mind before starting the speech.
Part Four: The Art of Communicating
Part four is dedicated in its entirety to the subject of delivery, and it contains merely one short chapter.
Chapter XI: Delivering the Talk
“There are four ways – and only four ways – in which we have contact with the world,” says Carnegie at the beginning of this chapter. “We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.”
This chapter deals with the last of these – “how we say” things; you’ll say them better if you follow these five rules:
#1. Crash through your shell of self-consciousness
#2. Don’t try to imitate others – be yourself
#3. Converse with your audience
#4. Put your heart into your speaking
#5. Practice making your voice strong and flexible
Part Five: The Challenge of Effective Speaking
The final part of The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking relates the principles and techniques already laid out in the previous four parts to everyday speaking, from social conversations to a formal public address.
Chapter XII: Introducing Speakers, Presenting and Accepting Awards
Carnegie has these five suggestions to help you make a well-organized speech of introduction:
#1. Thoroughly prepare what you are going to say
Just taking a little time to prepare should save you the embarrassment of saying something that will nowadays go viral. (John Travolta, we apologize, but we were thinking about you when we wrote that.)
#2. Follow the T-I-S Formula
Use the T-I-S Formula as a handy guide. It’s an acronym:
• T stands for Topic; “start your introduction by giving the exact title of the speaker’s talk;”
• I stands for Importance; “in this step bridge over the area between the topic and the particular interests of the group;”
• S stands for Speaker; “here you list the speaker’s outstanding qualifications, particularly those that relate to his topic. Finally, you give his name, distinctly and clearly.”
#3. Be enthusiastic
How would you like to be presented? Enthusiastically, of course. Well, be enthusiastic when presenting another one.
#4. Be warmly sincere
That’s a given.
#5. Thoroughly prepare the talk of presentation
This goes for all the presenters out there; but we guess all of them already know this.
#6. Express your sincere feelings in the talk of acceptance
As you know full well because of the music at the Academy Awards, the acceptance speech should be even shorter than the speech of presentation. And, whatever you do – don’t exaggerate. Even if he exists, God probably has more important stuff on his mind, so no need to thank him, ha?
Chapter XIII: Organizing the Longer Talk
It’s insane to start building a house without some sort of a plan; it’s just as ridiculous to start delivering a longer talk without a vague notion of what you want to accomplish.
And just like in the case of house-building, there are time-tested methods for each phase of organization when it comes to longer talks:
#1. Get attention immediately
This is the way:
• Begin your talk with an incident—example arouse suspense
• State an arresting fact
• Ask for a show of hands
• Promise to tell the audience how they can get something they want
• Use an exhibit
#2. Avoid getting unfavorable attention
Contrary to popular opinion:
• Do not open with an apology;
• Avoid the “funny” story opening;
#3. Support your main ideas
Here are four ways you can do that:
• Use statistics;
• Use the testimony of experts;
• Use analogies; and/or
• Use a demonstration with or without an exhibit.
#4. Appeal for action
This is how all of your speeches should end:
• Ask for Action
Chapter XIV: Applying What You Have Learned
The fourteenth chapter of The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking advises its readers to start applying what they have learned from this book to everyday conversations, so they become masters when it really matters.
Here are the five techniques to do this:
#1. Use specific detail in everyday conversation
#2. Use effective speaking techniques in your job
#3. Seek opportunities to speak in public
#4. You must persist
#5. Keep the certainty of reward before you
Key Lessons from “The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking”
1. Talk About Things You Have Earned the Right to Talk About
2. Always Have Your Goal in Mind When Delivering a Public Speech: It’s One of These Four
3. The Four Facts About Fear of Speaking in Public
Talk About Things You Have Earned the Right to Talk About
Public speakers are not born – but made; in other words, you can become one.
The key advice: always talk about things you have earned the right to talk about, be it from experience or knowledge, or preferably, both.
Also: be excited about what you are planning to talk about. It’s one thing to be able to talk about something, and a completely different thing to actually want to talk about that thing.
Always Have Your Goal in Mind When Delivering a Public Speech: It’s One of These Four
All speeches have one or more of these goals:
• To persuade or get action;
• To inform;
• To impress and convince; or
• To entertain.
Always have your goal before you and never steer away from it; think of your speech as a house: you’d never build one without a plan, would you?
The Four Facts About Fear of Speaking in Public
When you talk about something you really know and love – remember Ken Loach’s Kes – you’ll be confident enough to consider yourself practically fearless.
These four facts about fear of speaking in public should help you as well:
#1. You are not unique in your fear of speaking in public;
#2. A certain amount of stage fright is useful: it is nature’s way of preparing us to meet unusual challenges in our environment;
#3. Many professional speakers never completely lose all stage fright;
#4. The chief cause of your fear of public speaking is simply that you are unaccustomed to speak in public.
Like this summary? We’d like to invite you to download our free 12 min app for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.
“The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking Quotes”Try your best to develop an ability to let others look into your head and heart. Click To Tweet Learn to make your thoughts, your ideas, clear to others, individually, in groups, in public. Click To Tweet If I had only known then how you make it easy to conquer fear, the paralyzing fear of an audience, I wouldn’t have lost these past five years. Click To Tweet We like speakers to talk with, and not at, us. Click To Tweet 90% of how well the talk will go is determined before the speaker steps on the platform. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
In its first version, The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking was published almost a century ago, and the Augustan Age writers believed that if a book is still being read some hundred years after its first appearance, then it must be a good one.
All of Carnegie’s books have stood the test of time and this one’s no exception for a reason; you’ll probably learn a lot from it, and you’ll undoubtedly enjoy it.