17 Public Speaker Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a public speaker, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

You’ve been asked to give a speech. Now what?

Whether you’re a seasoned public speaker or this is your first time at the podium, it’s normal to feel some nerves before giving a speech. The key to success is preparation. By taking the time to craft your speech, choose your words carefully, and practice, you can give a presentation that will engage and inspire your audience.

If you’re looking for more tips on how to give a great speech, read on for our guide to public speaking. This guide covers everything from how to start a speech to how to end a speech, with advice on everything in between. You’ll also find a list of public speaking resources, including books, articles, and websites.

Are you comfortable with public speaking?

This question can help interviewers determine your comfort level with public speaking and how you feel about it. If you’re not comfortable, explain what steps you’ve taken to become more so. If you are comfortable, describe why that is the case.

Example: “I am very comfortable with public speaking because I have been doing it for a long time. In my last position as an event planner, I was responsible for organizing large events where I had to speak in front of hundreds of people. While this was challenging at first, I got used to it and became quite good at it. Now, I’m looking for a new opportunity where I can use my skills and experience.”

What are some of the topics you’re most comfortable speaking about?

This question can help the interviewer get a sense of your expertise and how you’d fit into their organization. It also helps them understand what topics they might be able to book you for in the future. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention some specific topics that are relevant to the job description or company mission statement.

Example: “I have spoken about many different topics over my career as a public speaker. I am comfortable speaking about leadership skills, communication skills and time management skills. These are all areas where I feel like I have a lot of experience and knowledge to share with others.”

How do you prepare for a public speaking engagement?

This question can give the interviewer insight into your process for preparing to speak in front of a large audience. Your answer should include steps you take before, during and after an engagement to ensure that you are ready to present confidently.

Example: “I always arrive at least 30 minutes early to any public speaking engagement so I have time to check my equipment and mentally prepare myself. Before I begin speaking, I make sure to use the restroom and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. During the presentation, I try to remember to pause between points or ideas to allow the audience time to process what I’m saying.”

What is the most challenging aspect of public speaking for you?

This question can help interviewers understand what you find challenging and how you overcome those challenges. It also helps them see if you have the skills to handle a public speaking role, as it requires confidence and comfort in front of an audience. When answering this question, think about which aspects of public speaking are most difficult for you and explain why they’re challenging. Then, describe how you’ve learned to overcome these challenges or manage them effectively.

Example: “The most challenging aspect of public speaking is being able to keep my nerves under control. I get nervous before every speech, but I’ve learned that it’s important to focus on my breathing and stay calm. I take deep breaths and try to remember that I’m prepared for the speech and know what I’m going to say.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to deliver bad news during a public speaking engagement.

This question can help interviewers understand how you handle difficult situations and whether you have experience delivering bad news to a large audience. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe the steps you took to deliver the information in an effective way while also maintaining your audience’s attention.

Example: “In my last role as a public speaker, I had to give a presentation about the company’s new budget cuts. While I knew that many of the employees would be upset by the news, I prepared for the speech by researching ways to effectively communicate negative news. During my speech, I started by explaining why the company was making these changes before moving on to discuss each department’s specific cutbacks. This helped ease some of the tension in the room and allowed me to provide all of the necessary information.”

If you were to give your audience one piece of advice, what would it be?

This question is a great way to see how you can apply your skills as a public speaker to help others. When answering this question, it’s important to show that you’re passionate about the advice you give and that you have experience in giving advice to others.

Example: “My one piece of advice would be to always stay positive. No matter what situation you’re in, there are always ways to make things better. If you focus on the good things in life, you’ll find yourself feeling happier and more fulfilled.”

What would you do if you noticed a member of the audience was sleeping during your speech?

This question is a test of your problem-solving skills and ability to adapt. It also shows the interviewer how you handle criticism. Your answer should show that you can take constructive criticism in stride, while still maintaining confidence in your abilities as a public speaker.

Example: “I would first try to figure out why they were sleeping. If it was because I was boring them, then I would change my speech to be more interesting. If it was because they were tired, then I would pause for a moment and let them rest their eyes before continuing with my speech.”

How well do you deal with criticism?

Public speaking is a high-risk, high-reward career. You may have to face criticism from your audience or the media if you make a mistake during a speech. Employers ask this question to see how well you can handle negative feedback. Use your answer to show that you are willing to learn from your mistakes and improve as a public speaker.

Example: “I understand that I am going to make mistakes when I give speeches. However, I take all of my critiques seriously. If someone tells me that I made a mistake, I will research what I did wrong and practice until I get it right. I know that by improving myself, I can become an even better public speaker.”

Do you have any experience giving TED talks?

This question is a great way to see if the person you’re interviewing has experience speaking in front of large crowds. TED talks are typically 20-minute speeches given by experts in their field, and they often include visual aids or multimedia elements. If your company hosts its own TED talk series, this can be an excellent opportunity for you to show off your public speaking skills.

Example: “I have actually never given a TED talk before, but I do regularly give presentations at my current job. My team and I host our own monthly speaker series where we invite local professionals to come speak about their work. We usually have around 100 people attend each event, so it’s definitely a similar crowd size.”

When was the last time you updated your knowledge on your subject matter?

This question can help the interviewer understand how passionate you are about your field and how often you stay up-to-date on industry news. Your answer should include a specific example of when you researched something in your field, what you learned and how it helped you become a better public speaker.

Example: “I recently attended a seminar where I learned about new techniques for presenting data to an audience. The presenter discussed several different ways to display information visually so that it’s more interesting and easier to understand. After this seminar, I implemented some of these ideas into my next presentation and noticed that people were paying attention more than usual.”

We want our public speakers to be passionate about our company’s values. How do you feel about teamwork and collaboration?

This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you are passionate about the company’s values and how they align with your own. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific example of when you worked well with others on a project or task.

Example: “I am very passionate about teamwork and collaboration. I believe that working together as a team is one of the best ways to achieve success in any endeavor. In my last position, I was tasked with creating a presentation for our annual conference. I had a lot of ideas but wanted input from my colleagues. I invited them all into a meeting room where we discussed what we were thinking and decided on a final idea. The presentation went over really well at the conference and helped us get some new clients.”

Describe your speaking style.

Employers ask this question to learn more about your public speaking style. They want to know if you are a natural speaker or if you need time to prepare for your speech. When answering this question, describe how you speak in front of an audience and what type of content you typically present.

Example: “I have always been comfortable speaking in front of others. I find that my presentations are most effective when they’re conversational. I like to make sure the audience feels as though we are all having a conversation together. I also try to keep my speeches lighthearted and entertaining so people can enjoy themselves while learning.”

What makes you stand out from other public speakers?

This question can help interviewers understand what makes you unique as a public speaker. They may ask this to see if you have any special skills or knowledge that would be beneficial for their organization. When answering, think about the things that make you stand out from other public speakers and how they could benefit your future employer.

Example: “I believe my ability to connect with an audience is one of my greatest strengths as a public speaker. I always try to speak in a way that people can relate to and find relatable. This helps me create a more personal connection with my audience and allows them to feel comfortable asking questions during my presentation.”

Which public speaking techniques do you find the most challenging to implement?

This question can help interviewers understand your public speaking experience and how you’ve grown as a speaker. It also helps them determine if you’re open to feedback and suggestions for improvement. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a technique that you find challenging but are actively working on improving.

Example: “I find the most challenging part of being a public speaker is knowing when to use humor in my speech. I love making people laugh, but sometimes I worry about going too far or not using enough humor. To improve in this area, I’m currently taking a class on public speaking comedy techniques.”

What do you think is the most important factor to consider when preparing a speech?

This question can help interviewers understand how you approach public speaking and what skills you use to be successful. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a specific factor that helped you prepare for previous speeches.

Example: “I think the most important thing when preparing a speech is to make sure I have enough time to do research on my topic. If I don’t know much about the subject matter, it’s hard to come up with an interesting presentation. In my last role, I had only two weeks to prepare a speech on new technology in the medical field. I spent extra hours researching online and talking to doctors to learn more about the latest developments.”

How often do you give public speaking engagements?

This question can help interviewers understand your experience level and how often you give presentations. If you have a lot of public speaking experience, you may be able to answer questions about it more easily than someone who has only given one or two speeches in their career.

Example: “I’ve been giving public speaking engagements for the past five years. I started out as an intern at my company where I gave weekly presentations on our latest projects. After that internship, I was hired full-time as a marketing manager, where I still give monthly presentations to clients about our newest products.”

There is a technical issue with your microphone and your audience can’t hear you. What do you do?

This question is a great way to test your problem-solving skills and ability to think on your feet. You can answer this question by describing the steps you would take to fix the issue, or if there’s no solution, how you would handle it.

Example: “If I couldn’t hear myself speak through my microphone, I would first check that the microphone was turned on. If it was, then I would ask for help from the event organizer or someone else who might know what to do. If they didn’t have any answers, I would try to find another microphone or use the public address system. If none of those options were available, I would apologize to the audience and explain that we are working on fixing the issue.”


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