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Common Public Speaking Mistakes

by | Dec 14, 2021

You’re giving a speech next week to your Board. Or you’re chairing a panel. Or you’re about to facilitate a virtual discussion on your budget.

What could go wrong?

Ha! Here are some common mistakes made by even the best public speakers.

Not knowing and sharing your ROI (return on investment).

Your audience is investing their time and energy listening to you. What is their return? Why do they need/want to hear from you? Don’t assume they know. Will your presentation save them time, money and headaches? Will your info increase their competitive advantage? Will you help them achieve their goals? Know your ROI and tell them.

Not knowing and sharing your specific CTA (call to action).

What do you want your audience to do, think or feel as a result of your presentation? Just like your ROI, don’t assume they know. Tell your team/board/colleagues what the next steps are. What are you asking or challenging your listeners to do? Define and express your CTA.

Too much time spent creating mediocre visuals.

Many clients tell me, “I have the deck. Let’s practice delivery.” My take is, “ugh”. Usually the visuals have too much clutter without good flow. Our advice is to spend your prep time creating a solid outline with good stories/examples/support material (we call this “velcro”) that will make your message stick. Then add in visuals that are visual. My book The Naked Truth about Giving Great Speeches details our Speak For Yourself® Blueprint for doing great outlines.

Not having a compelling beginning and ending.

The myth is that it’s hard to give a speech. The reality is that it’s not that difficult to share info that you know… it’s just hard to START and it’s hard to SHUT UP! Your beginning should 1) engage your crowd 2) state your purpose 3) build rapport with your listeners and 4) share your ROI. Your ending should 1) wrap up your content 2) explain your CTA and 3) leave your audience uplifted. We find that most of these steps go missing!

Not honing in on the needs of your audience.

Your presentation will fail if you don’t “get” your listeners. Before your speech know and/or find out the pulse of your attendees. Regarding your subject matter: 1) where is their pain? 2) what’s going well? 3) what would be of value to them?

Mistakes happen, but don’t make these! Or… better yet… call us!

Thank you to Christian Adair for being the inspiration for this blog.

Author: Karen Cortell Reisman is Founder of Speak For Yourself®, a communication consulting firm, and the author of 2 books on how to communicate. She lives in Dallas, Texas and has critiqued many good, bad and boring PowerPoint presentations.

Did you know we offer a free 20-minute communication consultation?

© 2021 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved

Photo © 123rf.com


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