3 Reasons Why Speakers Fail

by drjim on May 5, 2015

When it comes to speaking, failure is not an option

When it comes to speaking, failure is not an option

Image Credit: Chris Griffith

Every time we stand in front of an audience, we are filled with the hope that we are going to be able to connect with our audience and get our message across to them – this is what the , importance of public speaking is all about. However, this does not always happen. When it doesn’t happen, we need to take a step back and take the time to understand what happened. It turns out that more often than not, there are three reasons why we may fail to connect with an audience.

When Your Audience Does Not Relate To You

In order to connect with our audience, we need to be able get them to relate to us. It turns out that this may be harder to do than you think. One of the reasons that it can be a real challenge is because we tend to include in our speeches stories about our successes – the challenges that we’ve faced and how we’ve overcome them. If we are not careful, our audience will hear what we are saying and decide “I could never do that” and then they’ll shut out anything else that we have to say.

When Your Audience Is Not Sold On Your Message

If you don’t take the time to prepare your audience for your speech, then you are going to be dealing with the dreaded “cold room” – an audience that is really not sure why they are sitting there or what you are going to be talking about. Your audience has to know how they are going to benefit from your speech or you’ll never be able to connect with them. If you do this right, long before you take the stage your audience will be excited to hear what you have to say.

When Your Audience Is Not Motivated To Take The Next Step

So why are you even bothering to give this speech? I suspect it is because you are trying to motivate your audience to take some sort of action. This can be to lose some weight, vote a certain way, or buy your product. If you don’t do a good job of selling them on the results that they are going to be able to achieve by taking a specific set of actions after your speech is over, then you won’t be able to connect with them and they’ll end up doing nothing as a result of listening to your speech.

What All Of This Means For You

Giving a speech is hard work. We’re willing to go to the effort of creating and delivering a speech because we believe in the benefits of public speaking and that we can make a difference in the lives of the members of our audience. However, all too often we fail to do this. When this happens, we need to take the time to understand what happened.

There are many reasons why a speaker may fail to connect with his or her audience. One reason is because your audience didn’t relate to you. You just seemed to be too different. Another reason is because the message that you were delivering needs to relate to your audience. If they don’t understand how they will benefit from what you are saying, they won’t care. Finally, your audience may end up being unwilling to take the next step. If the benefits that you laid out were not compelling enough, then they won’t bother.

Knowing how you can fail as a speaker is critical information. Once you know this, you then know what you need to avoid. There is no guarantee that you’ll be able to connect with your audience during every speech that you give. However, if you know what not to do, you’ve just boosted your chances of success!

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

Question For You: Is there anything that you can do before your speech starts to increase your ability to connect with your audience?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I’m pleased to be able to announce that I understand the importance of public speaking and I am a perfect speaker. I never make a mistake. Ok, well, I guess that I do make mistakes sometimes. Well, I guess that I really make a lot of mistakes. Ok, so I guess I’m not a perfect speaker. However, I’m willing to bet that you are not a perfect speaker either. In order for us non-perfect speakers to become better, we need to take a look at what we are doing and see if we can spot the mistakes that we are making. If we can do this, then perhaps we can become just a little bit more perfect each time we give a speech!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara Lee May 7, 2015 at 5:11 pm

Spot on. We have all experienced listening to the speaker who does these things so we have ample examples not to follow!

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drjim May 8, 2015 at 7:09 am

Barbara: you bring up a very good point. We often listen to speakers in order to study how they do it so that we can become more like them. What we probably should be doing more of is listening to bad speakers and keeping a careful eye on just exactly what we should NOT be doing!

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