“Is this thing on?” taps microphone. “Can I have everyone’s attention please?”
What did you imagine when you read the line from above? If you imagined someone opening up a speech in the wrong way, you’d be right! Speaking to an audience is something you may have to do in the future, whether it’s to a small group of coworkers or a presentation to a big crowd. The reality is that not everyone knows how to effectively deliver their message and they may find themselves in a tough situation if they don’t have the necessary skills or tips to be an authority on the subject. With that said, check out these common errors and mistakes that some speakers make and learn how to avoid them by checking out these tips from professional public speaker Lawrence Mitchell.
1. Lacking A Connection
Some speakers are so caught up in all of their information and notes that they sometimes forget to connect with their audience. While you may be an expert on your specific topic, it’s important to make a connection by building up rapport. A simple yet effective way to build the connection is by starting the speech with some kind of personal story that can be relatable. The key is to have a story with a conflict and resolution because the stories you tell will give the audience something to remember you by.
2. Turning Into A Statue
Facing an audience can be challenging and even intimidating, which can cause someone to freeze up in the sense that their body language becomes ridge like a statue. This type of reaction can make the crowd uneasy and it’s a crucial error you want to avoid. Instead, be as comfortable as possible and use natural body movements to complement your message. Your body language will tell that audience you are passionate, relaxed and an expert.
3. Looking Down
Have you ever noticed the way news anchors look directly at the camera and almost act like they are having a conversation with you? While they definitely are reading from a teleprompter, their eye contact engages their audience and the same principles apply during a public speaking event. You can certainly look down at your notes for a moment, but you want to maintain steady eye contact with the crowd. Speakers who keep their head low and eyes fixed to a sheet of paper on the podium tend to have less attention from the audience.
4. Lack Of Energy
If a speaker is talking too softly or in monotone, they are lulling their audience to sleep. Energy levels play a big role in how annunciate your words and a lack of energy and enthusiasm can cause inappropriate pitch patters, volume issues and even affect the rate in which you talk. It’s important that you bring some energy to your speech, but we aren’t talking about jumping around on stage, more like the ability to excite the audience with your liveliness.
By avoiding these common mistakes you’ll be able to deliver a speech to a crowd of any size!