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Learn the 3 Things That Make a Killer Public Talk with Tricia Brouk of The Big Talk Podcast

Learn the 3 Things That Make a Killer Public Talk with Tricia Brouk on The Nicole Holland Show podcast

Learn the 3 Things That Make a Killer Public Talk with Tricia Brouk on The Nicole Holland Show podcast

Tricia Brouk is an award winning director. She is also writes and choreographs for theater, film and television. In addition to her work in the entertainment industry, she applies her expertise to the art of public speaking.

She’s the executive producer of Speakers Who dare, a TEDx producer. She choreographed Black Box on ABC, The Affair on Showtime, Rescue Me on Fox, and John Turturro’s Romance and Cigarettes, where she was awarded a Golden Thumb Award from Roger Ebert.

Her series Sublets, won Best Comedy at the Vancouver Web-Festival. She curates and hosts the Speaker Salon in NYC,  The Big Talk a podcast on iTunes and directs and produces The Big Talk Over Dinner a new tv series.


Only 3 years ago, Tricia Brouk, public speaking coach and host of The Big Talk podcast, was minding her own business in the film, television and theatre industry with no intention of becoming a speech coach.

When a dear friend booked a TEDx talk and asked Tricia to direct her, the seed was planted.  Within just 6 months Tricia had a website up and The Big Talk was live in NYC.

Her work now centers around helping people “talk” and not only talk, but give BIG talks, the important ones, whether it's a TEDx, or a keynote or a toast, or communicating in front of people that they respect.

Despite having zero online presence, Tricia began surrounding herself with people who understood the online world, one of whom was networking a specialist Jamie Broderick who helped Tricia create an online media presence and introduce her to key people who might need speaking directors.

The rest, as they say, is history.  

Here Tricia shares her process for delivering a successful “Big Talk” so you can spread your message on a global scale.

How You Can Improve Your Public Speaking Skills with Tricia Brouk of The Big Talk on THE NICOLE HOLLAND SHOW podcast


Knowing the Difference Between a TEDx Talk and a Keynote Speech 

The Art of The Big Talk first breaks down the difference between a TEDx talk and a keynote speech. This is an important distinction you’ll need to understand in order to get the delivery just right.

A TEDx talk is 

  • 18 minutes or less
  • Contains your ideas (not problems or issues)
  • Aims to give the listener a “gift” or a solution (“We can end global warming by doing this one simple thing…”)

A keynote speech 

  • 45 - 60 minutes long
  • Presents hard hitting problems or issues
  • Contains a clear call to action or an “ask” (“Buy my book”)

Tricia further explains these very different approaches by stating “If you talk about an idea and frame it as an idea, not an issue, people will respond to you more openly. An idea is a thought a concept or a notion that we have. And once we form a thought this can become an idea with massaging, tending to and allowing for growth, an issue is usually an emotional or a personal problem. And it makes you feel prickly.”

Issues may make us feel like ‘What can we do about it? It's so big.’ However, if you reframe it as an idea, a short to-the-point statement of hope, it sounds doable, actionable, and people are more likely to respond.

Having a “Through-Line” in Your Talk to Stay in Alignment with Your Message 

The through line is the heartbeat of a talk. If you understand what your through line is, you can constantly come back to it and never get lost.

A through line is short, only 15 words or less. It's the concise, articulate and singular progression of your idea, which includes all of the critical elements unique to the idea. It's simple, it's clear, and it's very succinct.

Here are three examples of really strong through lines: 

  • More choices make us less happy
  • Vulnerability is something to be treasured, not hidden
  • Fake it until you make it

As writers and speakers with big ideas, we have so many things we want to say and sometimes we go off track. But if you're constantly coming back to your through line, you’ll stay in alignment with your overall message.

Why Context Always Matters 

The next thing that's really, really important in any talk, whether it's a keynote or a TEDx is context. The reason context is important is because it will keep it away from being a personal “you” mission story.

The three things Tricia reminds her speaking students of that will always make a good talk is credibility, vulnerability, and relatability. The vulnerability and relatability part is personal.

But when you ask the questions, why does it matter? Why does it matter to you and why does it matter to the world, you will open up and talk about an idea in a way that is global, and that's what you want. You want to be able to reach people in all parts of the world with your idea.

How You Can Improve Your Public Speaking Skills with Tricia Brouk of The Big Talk on THE NICOLE HOLLAND SHOW podcast

How to Be Captivating Every Time with Objective and Action

When crafting any talk that we intend to be compelling, we must know what our objective is and what the best action is for our audience that will move them to meet our objective.

As an everyday example, if you want your spouse, your partner, your roommate, to take out the trash, that's your objective. How you are going to get them to do it is your action.  

You could pay them, you could bribe them, you could seduce them. Your action may change based on their response. If they're not doing it, if bribing them, is not doing it, and paying them is not doing it, then you have to change your action, whether to motivate them, inspire them, or seduce them.

If you want the audience to buy your book, how are you going to get them to do it? You're gonna inspire them. If you want the audience to adopt your idea as their own, how are you going to do it? You're going to motivate them.

You can inspire, educate, teach, tell stories. That's what objective and action is all about.

Tricia explains why this is so important. In working with actors on Broadway, she knows these folks can do up to eight shows a week. Eight shows a week of the same show. Sometimes they're tired, sometimes they have a fight with their partner. Sometimes they just don't feel like going to work like the rest of us.

But they have to put on the show for the first time every night, because the audience is seeing it for the first time every night. The same is true for speakers.

That's why objective and action is what you can rely on to always be captivating from the stage. If you understand what your objective is, and you know how to get it from the audience, then you can be a compelling speaker every single time.

How You Can Improve Your Public Speaking Skills with Tricia Brouk of The Big Talk on THE NICOLE HOLLAND SHOW podcast


4 Things to NEVER Do from the Stage

Never blame anybody else

This could be for technical difficulties and everything in between. Never get upset by it. Just go with the flow until you fix it.

Never apologize from the stage 

If you forget what you’re going to say, wait. The audience doesn’t know you’ve forgotten. So let your eyes go down for a second, grab the words and then come back up. That dramatic pause will be so sexy. Everyone will think you're brilliant.

Never pitch from the stage 

Even if you’re there to sell -- don’t sell.  Just inspire. Learn how to inspire and how to be persuasive from the stage. This goes back to having a clear objective and action in place.

Never confuse anger with passion 

When you confuse passion and anger, it's not good. You might be really passionate about global warming, and how we're abusing the country and abusing the world. But people stopped listening if you come at it with white knuckles.

You can allow that passion to be there. But remove any anger that you might have.

5 Things You Must ALWAYS Do When Public Speaking

Always accept the gift from the audience before you give them yours

They're giving you the gift of their time and attention, and you want to accept that gift before you share your very important message.

Always pause when you lose track 

The audience doesn’t know this has happened, so take the time you need to mentally find your place again and then proceed. Don’t apologize for it.

Always make eye contact and stay open 

Don't look above your audience. Look at them, have a conversation even though they're not actually speaking back. You are having a conversation because you're relating to them. You're picking up on cues in terms of body language and behavior and laughs and you want to be able to keep that communication open.

Always keep in mind your objective and action 

If you understand objective in action you will always captivate from a stage.

How You Can Improve Your Public Speaking Skills with Tricia Brouk of The Big Talk on THE NICOLE HOLLAND SHOW podcast


  • Make sure you understand the difference between a TEDx talk and a keynote speech -- this will affect how you structure your talk.
  • Have a “through line” to stay in alignment with your message.
  • Keep in mind the context of your talk. Why should this matter to your audience and the rest of the world?
  • A good speaker is always credible, vulnerable and relatable.
  • Always remember your objective (what you want the audience to do or feel) and your action (how you’re going to get the audience to meet your objective)


Putting these public speaking techniques into practice is sure to dramatically improve your public speaking skills and performance. But Tricia reminds us that the most important thing to remember is to always be who you are, from the stage and elsewhere, not somebody you think someone else wants you to be.

For more public speaking tips pop over to iTunes and listen to The Big Talk podcast.

Also, be sure to download the 7-Step Formula to Fearless Speaking. This guide will give you the foundation you need to do to take your speaking to the next level. Get it by texting my name Trisha to the numbers 44222 or find it on TriciaBrouk. com.

Continue the Conversation with Tricia

Connect with Tricia on her podcast, The Big Talk, her website triciabrouk.com or reach out to her via email at tricia@triciabrouk.com