Four Ways To Show Your Audience That You Hate Them (Not!)

by drjim on October 12, 2010

Careful – your audience might have a lot of these to throw at you!

Careful – your audience might have a lot of these to throw at you!

Giving a great speech is one thing, understanding how to not give a bad speechcan be something completely different. Lots of self-help books, trainers, and blogs (like this one) will show you a 1,000 different ways to become a better speaker, but maybe what you really need is some suggestions on what you should NOT be doing?

Don’t Back The Truck Up

You know thatbeeping soundthat large trucks make when they are backing up and getting ready to unload whatever they happen to be carrying? At no point in time during one of your speeches should your audience ever hear this sound.

As a presenter, hopefully you’ve done some research to get ready to deliver your speech. You’ve probably made a lot of notes, sorted through them, and created a speech based on all of the information that you had collected.Stop right there.

There’s not an audience out there that’s going to be secretly hoping that you’ll take more time than you’ve been given. If you try to pack everything that you know into your speech, then you’re going tooverwhelm your audience(it’s like dumping the contents of that truck onto them).

Instead, you need to take the time to sort through everything that you’ve collected and pick out onlythe most important piecesthat will be needed to help you make your point. Your audience will thank you for it when you are done.

Provide An Opportunity For Nap Time

I have nothing but fond memories of nap time back in the day when I was but a wee toddler. However, I’ve grown up and I hate it when a presenterclicks off the lightsand then starts to present a boring presentation.

As a speaker you need to considerthe total environmentthat you are going to be giving your speech in. Is it early morning and folks are not yet fully awake? Is it just after lunch and everyone is going to be settling in and, if you’re not careful, nodding off?

With the arrival of projectors that are brighter than the ones that we used to have to rely on, turning off the lights in the room in which you are speaking isn’t done nearly as often as it used to be. However, when it is done, you need to gage your audience’s attentiveness andboost your energy to make up for any loss of energy on their part.

Tell A Story – The Wrong Way

A speech is simply a set of words that you want to say to your audience in order to create a result. Since giving an effective speech can be quite difficult, a lot of speakers like towrite out their speechesso that when the big day comes, they can be assured that they’ll get their words right. There’s no problem in doing this.

The problems start to show up when that speaker starts to read his / her notes or, even worse, starts to read the slides that are being displayed to the audience word-for-word. Look, we can read too. If that’s how you are going to deliver a speech, you may as well print out your slides, hand them out, and then we canskip the whole sitting and listening to you thing.

Wing It

If you were going to bake a cake, would you just show up in the kitchen, throw some stuff together andhope for the best? I suspect not. Then why would you ever show up to give a speech without having taken the time to properly prepare?

Just like a professional athlete speakers need to prepare for the”big game”. No matter how good you think that you are, practice will make you even better. Taking the time to try everything out first will give you an opportunity to fine tune your speech and this is exactly what it takes to go from being an amateur to being a pro.

What All Of This Means For You

Becoming a good speaker (nay, a great speaker) requires you to understandwhat it takes to give a great speech. At the same time, you need to understand what you need to not be doing while you speak.

Avoiding mistakessuch as providing too much information, allowing your audience to take a nap, reading your slides to your audience, or not practicing is the key to delivering a great speech.

Great speakers know that they need to do the right things and not do the wrong things. Avoid thesefour mistakesand you’ll be firmly on the path to speaking greatness…

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: What determines how much time you have to spend practicing to give a speech?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Remember when your Mom was tucking you into your bed at night and she told you that there was nothing to be afraid of so that you could go to sleep? Well guess what, she was only partially right. It turns out that a whole lot of us havea deep down fearof getting up in front a bunch of people and opening our mouth. Let’s see if we can do something about this…

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

TJ Walker October 12, 2010 at 8:42 am

Great tips. The imagery of the truck backing up with that awful sound is right on the money when it comes to most speakers doing their data dump.

Reply

Dr. Jim Anderson October 14, 2010 at 9:52 am

TJ: Thanks! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been “dumped on” — and not had a shovel to do anything with all of that data!

Reply

Brandon Cox November 10, 2010 at 2:35 am

Excellent, and funny points, but so true. I especially like the preparation part. I think we ought to demonstrate a PhD-level knowledge of whatever our subject matter is.

Reply

Dr. Jim Anderson November 12, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Brandon: I agree that we need to know what we are talking about. However, I’ve bumped into some PhD’s who weren’t so good at expressing themselves…!

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