Public Speaking Tips from Catrine Engelgreen

We are proud to present the first speaker in our Inspiring Speaker Campaign #suggestaspeaker. She is charming, engaging and inspiring. She touches the hearts of hundreds of people, makes them cry and laugh, and gives them courage to make the next life changing bold step. Meet Catrine Engelgreen, a 40-year old Danish motivational speaker.

Although originally educated as a primary schoolteacher with a background in market economy, Catrine got interested in mental training and how our thoughts affect our choices and life in general in her early 30’s as a result of suffering from severe stress at work.

Despite being told by doctors that she could no longer enjoy a normal life after contracting an illness that crippled her, she established The Green Thread Initiative in 2011 as a symbol of hope, courage and beliefs for people like her. This initiative supports others in taking steps of courage one at a time.

Using her life story and through her speeches, she empowers people to take bold steps in minimizing the distance between ‘dream’ and ‘reality’. She entwines hearty humor in discussing serious issues to break down resistance, easily lighting up smiles among her audience.

Visit her Facebook page to learn more and take part in her Green Thread initiative.

In a one on one interview with her by 24Slides, Catrine shares her wisdom on how to be successful in public speaking and life in general.

Q: Catrine, what do you think has made you inspiring to other people?

A: I think it’s the way I do my talks. I am very honest when speaking and show a lot of vulnerability. Not many people can let go of self-importance when presenting. I reveal my mistakes and get my audience to laugh at them so that they too can come to know themselves better, laugh at their own flaws and get through their pains quicker.

Q: Do you still suffer from presentation anxiety before going out to the public? How do you cope with it?

A: I still DO have speakers’ anxiety. It’s a natural part of the game (laughs). You just have to make the most out of it and use it to your advantage. At the start of my public speaking career, I had more of it than today. Eventually, you get better conquering it with practice. For me, I use body language to convince my mind to relax more. For instance there is a posture called “The pose” where you stand straight with your hands and arms in the air for 2 minutes – it gives you power. Also, always practice out loud before you face your audience. Never assume you can always just come up with something once you go out there. I’ve also explored hypnotherapy a week prior to a huge presentation. I would recommend this audio book by psychologist Glenn Harrold called “Public Speaking Confidence” for this.

Q: How do you easily make your audience laugh or cry?

A: Just be honest and tell them about your own mistakes. Pretty soon, your audience will appreciate this and will know more about themselves through you. Also, I keep in mind to use funny images instead of just texts on my presentations. Use the element of surprise. Humor often happens when you say the opposite of what people actually expected.

Another neglected and often underestimated factor during speaking is giving your audience breaks. This will allow your audience some time to stop and think.

Q: How do you prepare yourself to give a great talk?

A: First of all, I consider what it is I can GIVE to other people. What can people learn from my story? I see a lot who aspire to be public speakers only for their own benefit. Being a great speaker demands lots of practice. Be patient and don’t lose hope. You have to realize that it’s not only what you say but how you say it matters; your tone of voice, your first sentence, your body language, your clothes—everything. As they say, “They don’t remember what you said—but how you made them FEEL.”

Don’t focus though on all at the same time. If you want to become great, video is a good way of learning about your own appearance. Be KIND to yourself in the process.

Q: What’s your advice for corporate people when giving presentations in general?

A: Remember to “loosen up” in the beginning to quickly build a connection with your audience. Make clear the MAIN topic that you want them to remember and repeat several times during the presentation. Eye contact is crucial. It is said that people are able to listen attentively for only 20 minutes. If possible, get your audience involved. For instance, ask them questions to consider during the presentation.

Q: Do you think that corporate professionals can still give inspiring talks despite strict corporate cultures?

A: Definitely. Just keep in mind what Brian Tracy said: “They don’t care how much you know – until they know how much YOU care!”

Q: What is the most important thing for you when giving a speech?

A: That people can FEEL what I want to tell them so they can use it in their own lives; that I establish a personal connection with my audience.

Q: Are there times when you get discouraged? What do you do when discouragement strikes?

A: We all get discouraged from time to time. I meditate a lot to “get back on track”. And I look at my life purpose to remind myself that what I do is important. I re-read old feedback from my speaking engagements where people responded positively to them.

I also take long walks – it always gives me new perspectives on what I work on.

Q: Can you share with us your favorite quote?

A: “When we long for life without difficulty, remind us that oaks grow strong under contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.”― Peter Marshall

This interview is organized within the Inspiring Speaker Campaign #suggestaspeaker run by 24Slides, the world’s most convenient presentation design service.

See Catrine’s Public Speaking Tips in a Slideshare here.


Do you know anyone who, like Catrine, inspires the world through her works and talks? With the help of the crowd, 24Slides selects and salutes inspiring speakers of all shapes and sizes. 24Slides offers the speakers its presentation design support and shares the speakers’ secrets to successful public speaking with everyone.

You too can #suggest a speaker to us on any of our channels, send a message to our email , or here in the comments. Use the hashtag #suggestaspeaker and join us in saluting awesome people.