FYI, Abbreviations and Acronyms Are Fair Game in Public Speaking

Posted on January 31, 2016 in The Key to Make a Successful Presentation, Tips & Tricks by Slideshop

  • SumoMe

Fear of Public Speaking

When it comes to communication, abbreviations and acronyms are great time and space savers. As long as you’re sure your audience is familiar with them, “ASAP” is clearly much quicker than “as soon as possible.” “ETA” is far easier than “estimated time of arrival” and BYOB gets the job done more efficiently than “bring your own bottle.” But is it permissible to use such informal shortcuts in presenting?

In most cases, the answer is yes. Unless there’s good reason to make your presentation quite serious and formal, using familiar abbreviations and acronyms is right in line with one of the key principles of good presentation: KISS. Keep It Short and Simple.

It also happens that there are also some very useful acronyms that apply to presenting as a subject. You can put them to use in preparing and delivering epic presentations, helping resolve any FOPS (fear of public speaking) you might have, and increase your success potential on presentation day. Here are a few of the best we’ve found.


Coined by Erik Palmer, author of Well Spoken: Teaching Speaking to All Students, PVLEGS stands for:

  • Poise – Appear calm and confident
  • Voice – Speak every word clearly
  • Life – Express passion and emotion with your voice
  • Eye Contact – Connect visually with the audience
  • Gestures – Use hand motions and move your body
  • Speed – Talk with appropriate speed and pause for effect and emphasis

Once, while Mr. Palmer was using these bullets points to help his students improve their presentations, their methods of explanation, and their oral communication skills in general, a class member suddenly exclaimed, “PVLEGS!” and a popular acronym was born.


Author of Estate Planning Smarts, Forbes contributor Deborah Jacobs described how she attended public speaking courses to hone her communication skills, in preparation for promoting her new book. She committed the elements of audience analysis to memory using an acronym developed by Conrad Teitell, a Connecticut-based lawyer public speaking facilitator:

  • Size
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education, experience and socioeconomic level
  • Religion
  • Friendly (or hostile)
  • – Do they know you, or know about you?


Persuasive speaking coach Arvee Robinson enumerated his 5 laws of public speaking using the acronym PEACE.

  • Preparation – Ready your speech, notes, and handouts before the big day
  • Enthusiasm – Be passionate as you deliver your speech
  • Authenticity – Be true to yourself
  • Connection – Connect with the audience and pay attention to them
  • Ending with a bang – End the speech as powerfully as you started it


Storytelling is an effective way to evoke your audience’s emotions and engage their attention. But how do you craft a story with right impact? Paul Green’s SHARE acronym might help:

  • Situation – Explain the situation and provide background information
  • Hindrances – Identify the problems or challenges
  • Actions – Share the actions to take in settling the issue
  • Results – Describe how the solution turned out
  • Evaluation – Provide a quick evaluation of the experience

#5: SPAM

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Public Speaking offers SPAM as an acronym for the standard public speaking model:

  • Situation – Elements (physical, social, time, etc.) involved in the speech
  • Purpose – What the speaker wants to accomplish
  • Audience – The people who intend to listen to the speech
  • Method – How the speaker adapts the message to the audience


Speakers want their ideas to stick. According to Dan and Chip Heath, authors of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, the factors that make an idea memorable or interesting are summarized in the acronym: SUCCES.

  • Simple — Identify your core message
  • Unexpected — Surprise people to get attention
  • Concrete — Paint a mental picture of the idea
  • Credible — Use authorities and vivid details to make the idea believable
  • Emotional — Explain what makes the idea important for the audience
  • Stories — Use stories to drive action through simulation and inspiration

#7: CURE

Not sure which prop to bring to a presentation? Try this little memory aid: CURE.

  • Concrete – Something real
  • Unexpected – Something the audience won’t expect from you
  • Relevant – Something related to your topic
  • Emotional – Something that evokes emotions

Do you know another acronym that ought to be included on our list? Cheers! Please share it in the comments below. TYVM!


  1. Well done! Thanks for including me and thanks for advancing the cause of improving the #1 language art, speaking.

  2. Slideshop Slideshop says:

    You’re welcome Mr. Palmer. Hope you’ll keep helping people improve their public speaking skills.

  3. Abbreviations – much like jargon and slang – depend very much on the audience.

    Personally, I prefer to use the full version most of the time because you never know who doesn’t know what the abbreviation stands for or how open to mis-interpretation it is.

    For instance, Google say they have at least 7 different interpretations of GM depending on context and you don’t particularly want someone thinking about cars (even unintentionally) when you’re speaking about crops.

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