Mistakes That We Speakers Make

by drjim on May 12, 2015

Even speakers make mistakes, it's being aware of them that really matters

Even speakers make mistakes, it’s being aware of them that really matters

Image Credit: sisssou

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!

You Are Asking Your Audience To Do Too Much

One error that we speakers tend to make is that for some odd reason we decide to ask our audience to do too much. The reason that we are giving a speech more often than not is because we want our audience to do something. Where things can go wrong is when we ask them to do a number of different things. This can easily confuse our audience (what was I supposed to do first?) and when that happens the old phrase “a confused mind says no” comes into play. Instead of confusing our audiences, we need to limit what we are asking them to do to one single thing.

Your Audience Does Not Feel Involved In Your Speech

Your speech is something that you have created and you are sharing with your audience. It can be very easy for us to make the error of not creating a speech that our audience can connect with. What we need to do as speakers is to find ways to take the speech that we’ve created by ourselves and turn it into a speech that our audience feels that they have had a hand in creating.

There are a lot of different ways to go about making this happen. One is to take the time to ask your audience questions while you are delivering your speech. Another is to use topical references to things that have gone on during the day that you are making your presentation. Additionally, involving your audience in your stories will also draw them into your speech and make them feel like it is really their speech instead of just yours.

Your Audience Knows That This Is Not Your First Time

Let’s face it, we often get asked to give the same speech to multiple audiences. When we are asked to do this, something very dangerous can occur. Our audience figures out that this is not our first time for giving this speech. They realize that they are listening to a “canned” speech and so they start to tune us out.

What we need to do as speakers in order to prevent making this error, is to find ways to “freshen up” every speech that we give. Yes, the majority of the speech may be a speech that we’ve given before; however, that doesn’t mean that we can’t change things up. We can add a new story, we can add a new line or do something that makes this telling of our speech different from all of the other times that we’ve given it. Additionally, it can help to picture a person that you are going to be giving this speech for. Knowing that there is one person that you are doing this for can help you to keep your focus and understand that what you are doing is important.

What All Of This Means For You

No speaker, including me, is ever perfect. It can be all too easy for us to make simple mistakes when we are delivering a speech and thereby diminish the benefits of public speaking. The secret to becoming a better speaker is to understand the types of mistakes that we may be making, realize when we are making them, and then take steps to correct ourselves.

There are many different types of errors that speakers can make. One is when we ask our audiences to take too many steps after our speech is over. We need to limit the things that we ask our audience to do to just one thing. Next, if we don’t find a way to get our audience to feel as though they are involved in our speech, then we won’t be able to make an impact on them. Finally, although we may have given this speech before, we need to find ways to “freshen it up” and make our audience feel as though this is the first time that we’ve given this speech.

It’s no fun when we screw things up by making errors when we are giving a speech. However, the good news is that all of the errors that we may make can be easily spotted and corrected. Take the time to make sure that the three errors that we’ve discussed are not a part of your next speech!

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

Question For You: How much of a speech do you think that you have to change in order to make it seem “fresh”?

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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

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.

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