It Might be Costing You Big Time!

In 2013 and I was nervously standing on stage in Honolulu waiting for the results of the POWERtalkInternational speech contest to be announced.  A couple of months earlier I had been the winner of the Australian Region and was extremely excited for the opportunity to represent my country in Hawaii.  

Who wouldn’t be?

Drum roll…The compere announced I’d placed third.  Woo Hoo! I was rapt.  

Well for a couple of minutes anyway.  

Much like the botched announcement in the Miss World contest in 2015 where the compere read the order of the placegetters incorrectly, I hadn’t actually won anything. In fact, I placed fourth. 

Can you imagine how disappointed I felt? 

After I got over the initial feeling of horrible letdown, I remember thinking that there were probably many speakers out there who weren’t achieving the results they wanted and expected when they were speaking on stage.

Maybe not in a contest situation, but still knowing the disappointed feeling when they can’t figure out what was going wrong.

After coaching speakers for a dozen or so years, I’ve discovered there are mistakes that most up-and-coming speakers make that fall flat with their audiences:

  • Many speakers are so concerned about what they are going to say they forget that they only have a few seconds to build a connection with their audience. And, if you muck that up, you can lose people from the get-go.  Remember you do this with your presence, your delivery, and the words you say. It all counts equally.
  • Your audience wants to get to know you so don’t make the mistake of not including your story in your presentation. An anecdote is a terrific way to build rapport. Your audience wants to know you are like them so tell your story…but be sure to make it relevant
  • We all have a why. But many presenters miss the opportunity to share their why in their presentations.  Your audience wants to know why you do what you do. They want to know what is important to you. In fact, they will want to know whether they are important to you.  So, share your WHY?
  • The most obvious mistake I see people make is they don’t have a plan or structure for their presentation. Without structure, you usually miss out on building connection with your audience. Your purpose and through line aren’t developed effectively, and there isn’t a sensible conclusion. Thus missing the mark to get your audience to support your message.
  • I can’t tell you the number of speakers I see who think they are doing well but because they never receive constructive feedback from mentors, they don’t have a chance to improve and hone their skills.  Find a mentor or coach you trust and ask for feedback.

Next time you have the opportunity to speak in front of an audience, check you have these points covered.

When you do, you won’t be left thinking about what you may have done wrong when your presentation missed the mark. Or like me in that contest, you won’t be left stranded hoping the floor would swallow you up.

If you are keen to improve your public speaking skills and know how to avoid speaking mistakes, become more confident, and learn how to speak on your feet, the next 1-Day Professional Speaking Masterclass is for you.

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