“All you gotta do is picture everyone in their underwear…” One of the most commonly used solutions people have for public speaking. Are kidding me? This is your sick perverted advice? No wonder so many people are such terrible public speakers. It’s advice like this and more that set people up for failure when speaking in front of a group of people. Luckily, there are real solutions that work well. In this 2-part blog series, I’ll share with you the top 5 reasons why people suck at public speaking and then the top 5 reasons why people kick ass. First let’s talk about what people are doing wrong:
For some reason, many people like to start off their speeches by explaining to everyone why they’re such terrible speakers. Why would someone do this? That’s setting yourself up for a terrible speech without even making one! The word tee-off is from golf where your objective is to start off each course by hitting the ball off the tee. Pretty simple concept. In public speaking, it means practically the same thing in the sense that your starting off your speech. Just like in golf, your first shot can vastly improve your score or hurt it, your opening line during a speech will affect you in the same way. Some of the lamest ways to start off a speech:
- I’m not a good public speaker…
- I’m so happy to be here today…
- I’m sorry I didn’t have time to prepare…
- I apologize, this is my first time speaking to an audience…
- I hope I don’t come across too nervous tonight…
2. Telling Jokes
Now some people are great at telling jokes, but most people suck. So if you know that you’re a terrible joke teller, please refrain from starting your speech with a joke. Even comics know that sometimes their jokes aren’t funny until the audience warms up a bit. For amateur joke teller, telling a terrible joke will instantly make you believe that you suck, thereby ruining your mindset. After this feeling, a person might end up speeding through the rest of the speech and suck some more.
3. Mimicking Other Speakers
Your intentions might be in the right place, but if you mimic another speaker, you’re setting yourself up to become the short end of the stick. What I mean by that is that you’ll be viewed as the guy who acts like that other guy. Or if you suck at mimicking, you’ll be viewed as the guy who tries to act like that other guy. This eliminates your individuality and doesn’t set you aside far enough to be noticed. Yes there are a very few number of people who can mimic someone else and do a great job, but chances are it’s not you ;). Be unique.
4. Reading Verbatim
Reading verbatim has to me always been a surefire indicator of a very boring speech. When someone reads off of their notes verbatim, they kill the potential creativity, enthusiasm, and overall excitement. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s always a fantastic idea to have notes in front of you. Even take aÂ glimpse at your notes if you have to, but reading it word for word is one of the worst things you can do. If your focusing on what your going to say next, you won’t be able to read what your audience likes or dislikes. This ruins your chances in building rapport with the group.
5. Act as Stiff
Since so many people are self conscious about the way they’re dressed, the way they look, whether they’re too fat, too skinny, etc. It becomes a challenge to focus on anything else. One of the biggest mistakes you can do while public speaking is stand stiff. By not moving on stage, you are showing off signs of uncomfortableness and a lack of confidence. Remember, your body has the ability to amplify your energy and enthusiasm better than anything else.
There are obviously more than 5 mistakes someone can make while speaking in public, but I felt as if these 5 are the most critical indicators to make one suck. Now that your aware of what you shouldn’t do, stay tuned for the 2nd part of this 2 part series on what you should do.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you have seen during a speech?