Basic Mistakes That Speakers Make

We can't stop making mistakes, but perhaps we can learn from them
We can’t stop making mistakes, but perhaps we can learn from them
Image Credit: Lisa Moffatt

As speakers, we are always trying to get better at what we do because we know about the importance of public speaking. We may learn to do new things with our voice, our body, or the way that we tell stories during our speeches. However, on top of learning to do all of these new things, we also have to unlearn the mistakes that we may be making right now. The first step in doing this is to become aware of some of the more common mistakes that speakers make.

Not Totally Showing Up For Your Speech

Our goal during every speech that we give is to find a way to connect with our audience. Under the best of circumstances, this can be a tough thing to do. However, if during our speech we are not emotionally invested in the stories that we are telling or we just are not “all there”, then there is no way that we’re going to be able to connect with our audience. The end result of this is that we’ll end up giving a speech that does not have an impact on our audience and we won’t be able to change the world.

Failing To Do Your Research

In order to convince our audience to change the world, we’re going to need to be able to convince them to take action. If we want to have any hope of doing this, we’re going to have to be able to present a logical set of reasons why they should change. This kind of logic is going to require that we share both facts and stats with our audience. What this means for us is that we’ve got some homework to do before we deliver our next speech. If we fail to do the research that is required in order to uncover the facts that will sway our audience, then once again we’ll miss an opportunity to change our audience’s minds.

Causing An Energy Mismatch

Most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what our audience’s energy level is when we take the stage to deliver a speech. However, it turns out that this is very, very important. When we start a speech, we need to match our audience’s current energy level. This allows us to get their attention. If we start out too low or too high, then we won’t connect with them and they’ll start to ignore what we are saying. By taking the time to understand their energy level and matching it, we can connect with them at the start of our speech and get them to come along with us during the rest of our speech.

What All Of This Means For You

The goal of every speaker is to become a better speaker every time that we give a speech so that we can share the benefits of public speaking. It is all too easy for us to make a mistake; however, the most important thing is for us to realize when we make a mistake and to not repeat it.

Classic speaker mistakes include not mentally showing up for a speech. There are a lot of things that can distract us and if we’re not careful our audience will be able to tell when our mind is somewhere else. Every speech needs us to have our facts and stats correct. If we don’t take the time to do our research, our audience who are probably experts on the topic that we are talking about will quickly catch on to the fact that we don’t know what we are talking about. Finally, our audience will either be excited to hear what we have to say or not. As a speaker we need to make an effort to match their energy level so that we bring them along with us.

The good news about all three of these basic speaker mistakes is that they are easy to spot when they occur and easy to fix. Make sure that you are aware of the mistakes that you can make so that you’ll have your eyes open. We may not have the ability to turn you into a perfect speaker, but at least we can reduce the number of basic mistakes you’ll make!

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

Question For You: What’s the best way to gague the energy level of your audience before you begin your speech?

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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 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

The goal of any speech that we give is to connect with our audience. In order to make this happen, we need to find a way to shake them out of their everyday life and cause them to wake up and listen to what we are saying. There are a lot of different ways to go about doing this, but one of the most effective is to make your audience laugh. Judy Carter has spent most of her life making this happen and teaching other people how to make it happen. She’s got some tips for us…