Last year, I attended a keynote presentation by a major television host in Atlanta, GA. Which, may sound interesting enough but, what happened at this event may make you think twice about how fine-tuned your public speaking skills really are!
It all started innocently enough when a representative from the hosting organization got up to introduce the keynote speaker. What happened next can only be described as a complete public speaking meltdown and a humiliating nightmare.
After taking the stage and nervously placing herself behind the podium, she immediately launched into a twenty minute litany about herself, her quirky mother, nine rooms in her house, her alcoholic father, her trip to Boston, her move to New York etc. And, as she rested her elbows on the podium she held tightly to her face two goose-neck microphones. (I know you can picture this in your head!) And, while this looked obviously inappropriate she also never got around to mentioning anything about the keynote speaker.
With growing frustration, chairs around the room started to shift, people started to moan, and people began to give hand signals to hurry up and get off the stage. Yet, despite all the warning signs, she just kept going. Then, it happened. She got heckled by the audience! “Get off the stage for crying out loud, let the speaker speak!” said one. “That’s enough!” said the other. And, this was not just any audience! This was a prominent well-to-do money making business audience.
Not only did she never even get to the point but, but she failed completely in her duty to introduce and honour the keynote speaker. After realizing her professional blunder (due to the loud heckling from the audience) she politely said “well it looks like I’ve run out of time”. Though she tried to regain her composure, she sheepishly began reading the guest speaker’s credentials off a page in a monotone voice like she was reading names from a phonebook.
I can honestly tell you that it was truly painful to be in that audience and watch such a complete and utter self-destruction! The whole room was not only uncomfortable but some audience members were clearly angry! This is just one example of the many potential public speaking mishaps that I witness on a regular basis.
Other common public speaking mistakes include…
When the speaker fails to build trust with his/her audience
When the speaker tries gimmicks or jokes that interfere with their message
When the speaker fails to effectively communicate their message and/or product/service benefits
When a speaker puts the audience to sleep
When a speaker manages to exclude their entire audience by focusing all of their attention on one member (or target members) of the audience
Have you ever heard ineffective speeches or pitches by politicians or by business leaders and colleagues? Did it garner your trust or lose your trust? Have you ever heard sorry speeches at weddings that made you say “yikes”? Have you ever attended a seminar where you were filled with so many statistics that you were bored after ten minutes? Have you ever witnessed an amazing seminar and wished you could do the same?
You may be interested to know that public speaking is an art that can be taught. In fact, everyone can learn the basic template for a winning and successful presentation. Learning public speaking can be a fun and stimulating experience that will empower you in any boardroom or public presentation. It can give you the confidence you need to achieve the higher success that you want! Simply by learning the secrets of powerful speakers you can make affect great change in both your professional and personal life! Avoid the professional pitfalls and public blunders altogether. Public speaking training is not only a great investment in your professional career; it’s a great life investment that will reward you again and again.