After years of Professional Speaking, Leading Seminars, MCing Corporate Events, training speakers, I have discovered that quite a number of speakers make terrible mistakes, nine (9) of which I’m about to share with you.
I see these mistakes over and over and over again, and so I want to expose them to you, so that you can avoid them, and immediately take control of your speaking business.
NOT BEING CLEAR IN YOUR MESSAGE:
it is actually impossible to give a powerful presentational speech, without clarity. You will need to get clear on your message, before you create the speech.
You will need to be very clear about the purpose of the messages. Is it to impress your audience? is it to motivate your audience? is to pass an information across? is it to entertain your audience?
When you know the message and the purpose of it, you become more inspired and motivated, with increased passion for the message and therefore ofcourse, you will inspire your audience, motivate your audience and get them as passionate as you are.
Lack of clarity brings confusion, thereby making your speech boring, bland and weak.
NOT STRUCTURING YOUR SPEECH:
A very important part of every speech, is the structure. The structure helps your audience understand you, and of course it helps you become more confident, knowing the direction you’re taking.
If your speech is not structured, you will lack coherence in delivering that speech.
Structure would include-
A strong opening. The opening should attract favorable immediate attention from your audience.
Then you have your body, which should have within it, evidence to substantiate your facts or your points.
Finally, you should have a closing that is both memorable and relatable.
If you lack this basic structure, you will find yourself dabbling, and it would just not work out very well.
NOT PAUSING PROPERLY:
You may have heard of the phrase “Silence is Golden” or the other phrase “pausing for effect” well this is so true. You should pause to allow your audience reflect on what you’ve said, from time to time. A lot of speakers are just ranting, instead of delivering structured speeches with adequate pauses.
You should never appear to be babbling on stage.
Always remember , Silence is golden and pause for effect.
MOVING WITHOUT PURPOSE:
Now this is one of the funniest of them all, because I don’t know, for some reason when we were growing up, People told us ” when you’re delivering a speech, move around the stage”. I don’t know where that came from, and lots of speakers keep falling into this trap; a deathtrap for speaking.
So, many speakers move without purpose.
I would suggest, I would highly recommend, move, but always move with purpose.
Your hands, your feet. Your body should support what you’re saying, and where they do not support what you’re saying, please do not move.
Try as much as possible to stay within the centre of your stage, so that it is easy for the audience to find you whenever they look up. Never again move without purpose.
Only move to substantiate your points.
STEALING OTHER PEOPLE’S MATERIAL (Plagiarism):
This is a serious matter. If you must use somebody else’s material, mention the source. Let us know this was once said by this or that person.
Avoid being a copycat without giving proper acknowledgment to the source of your material.
Of course you can always do the hard work of finding your own voice, discovering your own style, and developing your own content. If you do not have your own content, you can hire a professional to help you develop your own unique content, so that you can shine, grow and not be afraid of being caught as a copycat.
USING INSINCERE GESTURES:
Your words should always align with your gestures. If you’re sounding happy and alive and passionate, then there should be a smile on your face with upbeat body language. You can’t say you’re happy and then have a very low tone of voice, with very sluggish or sloppy body language. Nobody would believe you. So your gestures should be sincere.
What you say and what you do, should be in sync.
USING 3RD PARTY STORIES, INSTEAD OF PERSONAL STORIES:
A lot of speakers undervalue their own experiences. They don’t see the power of relatable stories in their own lives.
See, everyone has a story. So you have to find your own personal stories to use in your speeches, this way you would share a bit of yourself, people will learn more about you, you would bond better with your audience, and they would see you as one of them; see you as relatable and down to earth, not some strange being from another planet.
One of the challenges of using somebody else’s story is, somebody in you audience may know the story better than you, you may misplace the facts, you may make errors and punch holes in the story, thereby losing credibility.
So, I highly recommend, find your own story and by all means, tell it.
Specificity builds credibility. It also creates a more vivid picture in the mind of your listeners. Thus helps you tell better stories, while connecting with your audience.
What do I mean? Rather than say –
“The other day, we were traveling into a city. We stopped somewhere to have lunch”.
Say, “The other day, we were travelling from Lagos to Enugu, and when we got into Enugu, we stopped at Kilimanjaro Restaurant for Lunch. We had a whole bowl of Oha soup”.
You see, the details in the story, make it more believable, build your credibility and of course more enjoyable for you and your audience.
NOT SPEAKING UP:
Nobody wants to strain to hear a mousy speaker stumble over their words.
You need external awareness to raise your voice, to the point where everybody in your room can hear you.
Be the kind of speaker that everyone can hear clearly without even a microphone.
So don’t confuse yelling with projecting. You don’t have to shout. But raise you voice and make it strong enough for your audience to hear you. As a speaer you’re expected to stand up and speak up, not mumble your words.
Deliver your speech with boldness and with punch.