public speaking statistics

9 Public Speaking Statistics That We All Should Know


  1. Start Strong

Your first 15 seconds matters. You only have one chance to make a good first impression and that first impression is formed within 15 seconds. So look good, look confident, adopt peak physiology, start strong, lay the foundation and you will do a great job.

  1. Eye Contact

Eye contact is so important when public speaking and 3 seconds is the sweet spot when looking at someone. If look for too short a time, then you are seen as shifty and maybe dishonest. If you look for too long at person, then you will be seen as staring and in the worst case, as creepy.

You also need to keep your peripheral vision going at the same time, so you can read and respond to anything else that is happening in the room.

  1. Finish on time

100% of audiences will appreciate you as a speaker ending on time. No one appreciates a speaker who goes over time, speaks into another speaker’s time, or puts the whole meeting or conference behind schedule. Going over time is a big “no no”

  1. Body language matters

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus found that when people are speaking, approximately 7% of the message comes from the words, 36% of the message comes from your voice and 57% of the message comes from your nonverbal communication. Michael Grinder would argue that nonverbal communication is even more important than people realise.

  1. Tell stories

If you speak to people and just tell them some facts, there is a 5% to 10% retention rate of the information. If you now add some visual material and images, then retention can increase to 25% to 30%. If you tell a story with examples and emotion and it is engaging, then retention increases to 65% to 75%

  1. Many People Suffer From Pre Speech Anxiety

75% of people suffer from speech anxiety prior to giving a presentation or public speech. That is three out of four individuals suffer from pre speech anxiety. This makes our nerves normal.

  1. Take Time To Connect

As a rule of thumb, your introduction should take up about 10 % of your total presentation time. Use this time to build rapport and connect with your audience. This is how you develop trust. Use this time to outline the problem or the issue that you will be talking about and gain buy in from the audience. This is where you outline your presentation and the points you are going to cover.

  1. Very Few People Seek Professional Help

Only 8% of those people who have public speaking fear seek professional help to become more confident and effective. This is despite the documented negative impact poor public speaking can have on your long term career and income.

  1. The Average Attention Span Is Short

The average audience attention span is only 8 to 10 minutes. Therefore as speakers we need to do something new or different every 8 to 10 minutes to re-engage and wake up our audiences. Matt Church talks about a 10 minute cycle, where you Tell – Show – Ask – Share. Tell them some information, bring up or draw a visual, ask them to think about it or apply it to their situation, and then ask them to share that with the person next door or to the whole group.


These are simply 9 statistics that can be used to help guide us in every presentation and to use as a checklist to see what we are doing well and what we can change. Let me know if you have heard of any other public speaking statistics, as I would love to share them with others.

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