10 Biggest Public Speaking
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Top executives often
fall flat on their faces as speakers.
How come intelligent, business-savvy people end up boring their audiences? They
fail to recognize that public speaking is an acquired skill that improves with
practice and honest feedback. Speaking for 20 minutes before the right group of
people can do more for your career than spending a year behind a desk!
Rob Sherman, an attorney and public speaker in Columbus, Ohio, says in an
article in the Toastmaster magazine to avoid these mistakes:
- Starting with a whimper.
Don’t start with “Thank you for that kind introduction.” Start with a bang!
Give the audience a startling statistic, an interesting quote, a news
headline – something powerful that will get their attention immediately.
- Attempting to imitate other
speakers. Authenticity is lost when you aren’t yourself.
- Failing to “work” the room.
Your audience wants to meet you. If you don’t take time to mingle before the
presentation, you lose an opportunity to enhance your credibility with your
- Failing to use relaxation
techniques. Do whatever it takes – listening to music, breathing
deeply, shrugging your shoulders – to relieve nervous tension.
- Reading a speech word for word.
This will put the audience to sleep. Instead use a “keyword” outline: Look
at the keyword to prompt your thoughts. Look into the eyes of the audience,
- Using someone else’s stories.
It’s okay to use brief quotes from other sources, but to connect with the
audience, you must illustrate your most profound thoughts from your own life
experiences. If you think you don’t have any interesting stories to tell,
you are not looking hard enough.
- Speaking without passion.
The more passionate you are about your topic, the more likely your audience
will act on your suggestions.
- Ending a speech with questions and
answers. Instead, tell the audience that you will take questions
and then say, “We will move to our closing point.” After the Q and A, tell a
story that ties in with your main theme, or summarize your key points.
Conclude with a quote or call to action.
- Failing to prepare. Your
reputation is at stake every time you face an audience – so rehearse well
enough to ensure you’ll leave a good impression!
- Failing to recognize that speaking
is an acquired skill. Effective executives learn how to present in
the same way they learn to use other tools to operate their businesses.
( Courtesy: Toastmasters International