7 Public Speaking Mistakes to Avoid

Over the years of coaching speakers, I have helped my clients, with a very simple and workable checklist of what to avoid when preparing, organizing and delivering speeches and presentations of any kind. I have come up with these 7 major mistakes or blunders to help you ensure you do not make these same mistakes in your presentations. Here they are:

1. AN UNCLEAR PURPOSE:

Make sure you have a clear understanding of “why” you are there speaking. There are key distinct purposes to consider in preparing any speech or presentation. These must be decided on and organized from when planning your presentation. Each purpose dictates how you organize your speech and deliver it. They are:

a. to inform, is information and briefing oriented material and should be prepared not to overload the audience but to demonstrate key points and show examples and illustrations of the points you are making.

b. to persuade or reassure, is where you are more inclined to direct your audience to buy into some product or service or even just an idea you want to sell. Seminar promotion and prospecting falls into this category.

c. call to action, involves inspiration and motivation to move an audience to do something or get involved. Fundraising, political activism or volunteering activities fall into this category.

d. to entertain, is for sheer audience enjoyment. This purpose of course is used in conjunction with the prior three purposes, and it should be, to lighten the presentation with humor and lightheartedness. Celebrity roasts or toasts at special events are examples.

2. FAILING TO MEET THE NEEDS OF YOUR AUDIENCE:

Know your audience. Gather enough information on who is attending so that you are paralleling the needs and interests of your audience..What do they like, dislike, agree or disagree with? What do they want to know?

3. UNKNOWN OR UN-NAMED PRODUCT OF YOUR SPEECH:

What is the final end product your speech will result in? What is the call to action? Every speech must have some type of commitment you are intending from your audience. That is yours to plan for and aim to get. Is it appointments to come see you? Is it visits to your website? Is it purchases of your book, video or other materials after the speech? Make sure you have this planned for before you start preparing and organizing your presentation.

4. LACK OF ORGANIZATION:

Ensure your speech is sequenced properly so that it flows smoothly and clearly. The first priority in presenting is ensuring you are understood clearly. A well organized speech fully supports this.

5. INFORMATION OVERLOAD:

Edit your speech so that it contains concisely structured, un-wordy sentences in outline form. Work with what is really important. Do not add fillers just to occupy time.

6. INSUFFICIENT SUPPORT:

Substantiate the points you are making with sources of support information or examples that clearly add to the validity or believability of the points you make.(examples, illustrations, visuals, quotes, documentation, etc)

7. VOCAL MONOTONY AND SLOPPINESS OF SPEECH:

Vary your tone, pitch, emphasis, pace and volume so that you do not let your audience suffer from your vocal monotony. Slow down and practice your speech to refine it vocally. Maintain your speech so that it is vocally conversational and natural.

Use these “Deadly 7” as a reference tool to quality control your presentation on a routine basis. You will find your speeches and presentations will be far more effective creating greater impact on your audiences

By Joe Yazbeck, Founder, President, Prestige Leadership Advisors