Fatal Flaws Inexperienced Speakers Make: Avoid These Platform Gaffes
And Start Presenting Like A Pro.
If you are a less experienced
speaker than you'd like to be, you probably make some errors on
the platform that could be easily fixed. If you just knew what they
are!! Here we describe the 15 most common speaking mistakes made
by people who are new to speaking. Once you know these, your confidence
and effectiveness as a speaker will multiply many fold.
15 Fatal Flaws Inexperienced Speakers Make
Avoid These Platform Gaffes And Start Presenting
Like A Pro
Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California
When you sit and watch an experienced professional
speaker take hold of an audience, you are seeing magic in action.
They make everything look so easy and smooth, you wonder, "Were
they born with a silver microphone in their mouth?"
In actuality, all that platform polish comes with the price of many
years of hard work and training. That's how they make everything
come off with such seeming ease. They've paid their dues many times
If you are less experienced than you'd like to be, you probably
make some errors in speaking that could be easily fixed. If you
just knew what they are!! That's the purpose of this article. I
want you to know the most common speaking mistakes that people new
to speaking make. Once you know these, your confidence and effectiveness
as a speaker will multiply many fold.
Here we go, the 15 most common speaking gaffes speech-givers make.
1. STOP arriving to your program at the last minute so even you
wonder if you are going to make it on time. What do you suppose
this does to the audience and organizers who are stressed out from
not knowing if they will have a speaker?
2. STOP playing fast and loose with the clock. You can't
simply start and stop your talk on your own terms. The organizers
have a schedule to keep and your audience wants to be respected
for their valuable time as well. Stay on schedule, and preferably,
stop a bit earlier than you said you would to take questions.
3. STOP jumping into your talk without attempting to gain some
rapport with your audience. All audiences need to be warmed
up, and taking the time to do this can help you give a better performance
4. STOP trying to "wing it" by making up your talk as you go,
and "speaking from experience". Professional speakers don't
even do this, so don't think you can get away with it. The audience
5. STOP being so theoretical, conceptual, intellectual and statistical.
These are all guaranteed to turn off any audience and turn them
against you. People want practical, useable material they can apply
to their lives and careers, not heavy academic, jargon-laden content
that requires a Ph.D. to understand.
6. STOP trying to be all things to all people as you speak, by
wandering all over creation in an attempt to be "comprehensive"
or a "renaissance person". You'll simply confuse people, who
will be wondering what your topic is, and why they came to your
7. STOP dressing like you just came from a beach party or a backyard
barbecue, or like you are on the way to the hairdresser. Audiences
like their speakers to look sharp, professional and well put together.
At the minimum, a well-kept look gives you extra points on credibility
before you even open your mouth. First impressions count.
8. STOP using the same speech for every audience. Do audience
research and customize your talks. Your audience will really appreciate
that and probably ask you back for more. You at least will be speaking
their language and hit the mark better than with a canned presentation.
9. STOP assuming that all your audiovisual equipment and room
have been set up properly by someone, or that nothing has changed
since you last touched it. This is the stuff of disasters, and
something you can easily avoid.
10. STOP negating the value of solid writing, platform and staging
skills. Every audience deserves the best speaker they can get,
and you have an obligation to continue improving on your speaking
skills every year.
11. STOP boring the audience. Enough said?
12. STOP overwhelming the audience with too much, or unnecessary
information they don't want or need. If you do your homework,
you'll know what will please them.
13. STOP teasing the audience by being miserly about how much
detail you are willing to give in your content. Some speakers
say to the audience, "I won't give you that information, because
it's in my book." Perhaps some audiences might be thinking, "I won't
be giving you my money for your book."
14. STOP being insensitive. Don't use negative, disrespectful
and uninformed jokes, stories, remarks, news events and other content
that will alienate your audiences, unless you have a good lawyer
15. STOP displaying such a big ego. Remember, speaking is
all about the audience and their needs, not the speaker's gratification.
I know now you will START planning better, crafting your speech
better and staging and delivering your speech with more attention
to the needs of the audience. I also know you will STOP making any
more of the 15 fatal flaws we just reviewed. Thanks for listening!
And enjoy your speaking. Your audiences will really appreciate the
new you! You just moved your speaking skills up a complete level!
To learn more about how presentation coaching can help you become
a better, more confident speaker, visit Bill Cole, MS, MA, the Mental
Game Coach at www.mentalgamecoach.com/Services/PresentationCoaching.html.
Copyright © 2011-
Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority
on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and
CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps
organizations and professionals achieve more success in business,
life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International
Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com),
an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development,
professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He
is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school
alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author
and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league
pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For
a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments
visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.
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