Don’t be a lame speaker!! TALLspeaking – Public Speaking made easy!

20 Sep

Problem #1: Lack of Purpose

I frequently have people ask me to review their presentation slides. Naturally, they want to open PowerPoint first, and dive into showing me their slide deck. However, I’ll ask them: “Before we dive in, what’s your message?

When they respond “What do you mean?” (and they often do), I know we’ve got a problem much larger than poorly designed slides.

Reviewing your slides without having clarity on your core message is like critiquing your bombing technique without knowing why you are at war.

And this problem — failure to have clarity on your core message — is not confined to those who speak with slides. It’s very common among all speakers. If you don’t have clarity on your message, your audience won’t either.

Problem #2: Lack of Passion

“Reviewing your slides without having clarity on your core message is like critiquing your bombing technique without knowing why you are at war.”

The opportunity to speak to an audience is a wonderful gift.  Sometimes getting one person to listen is challenging, so having a full room of listeners is a blessing. But this blessing is completely wasted if the speaker has no passion.

When you speak without passion, your delivery is guaranteed to be flat. Your energy level, your eyes, and your expressions will all show your own lack of interest. Conversely, possessing great passion for your topic can mask many delivery flaws.

Problem #3: Lack of Preparation

The third common problem with many speakers is a lack of preparation.

I once spoke with a new employee about to give his first corporate presentation: a 30-minute project summary to the department. I asked him how much preparation he had done, and he responded that he “had spent all evening on it.” I reminded him that 25 people were going to be there, all of whom have busy schedules (not to mention salaries higher than his), and they were expecting a useful presentation.

He bombed the presentation. Half the audience walked out half-way through. The others survived long enough to enjoy the cookies and cake being served.

When a speaker fails to prepare adequately:

  • Audience analysis is done hastily, or (probably) not at all.
  • Research is minimal, and the content is just whatever was easily obtainable.
  • Slides, if any, will be thrown together sloppily, and will probably be all text bullets.
  • Little editing is performed, meaning the structure is murky and vague.
  • The presentation will not be rehearsed, usually leading to haphazard delivery and poor time management.

Ultimately, failing to prepare represents a huge missed opportunity. Not only will the audience not be persuaded by the presentation, but they’ll probably be insulted that their time has been wasted.

3 Responses to “Don’t be a lame speaker!! TALLspeaking – Public Speaking made easy!”

  1. cw1217 October 6, 2012 at 19:48 #

    Great article, thanks for posting!

    Make sure to practice early and often. Practicing at home in front of a mirror can help you with your body language. Do whatever it takes to become comfortable with what you have to say. Being familiar with your speech is a necessity, but memorizing or reading from written material is not. Instead of reading your whole speech when you are at the podium, make a list of points that will remind you of each subject that you plan to cover. It is always a good idea to personalize your speech, and discuss personal stories that will hold the attention of the audience. Also remember to pace yourself, and speak slowly and steadily so that you are understood by everyone in the room.

    • Keith Scott March 11, 2013 at 14:27 #

      Thanks so much!!

    • Keith Scott March 11, 2013 at 14:27 #

      Smart comments!

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