The Top 5 Speaker Traps and How to Not Tank A Speech

Posted Apr 27th, 2019 in Blog, Confidence, Overcoming Perfectionism and Failure, Owning Your Choices, Testimonials

"Babe, I''m a bit nervous about my presentation."

As I was about to take the stage next.

100 women entrepreneurs, a small stage, with the lights, the music, and eager ears ready to learn.



He says I make it look easy and natural, but the truth is.

I still get nervous.

Nervous means you care.

Nervous means you're excited to execute the work you've put in.

The 10,000 hours of practice, preparation, and positioning yourself as an expert in your field,

You're now ready to serve the audience.

But not every speaker is created equal and not every speaker is easy to watch/listen to.

Have you ever wanted to get into speaking to grow your business?

Want to give better toasts at a wedding or your church group?

Do you have a speech lined up and you're terrified you'll bomb?

I got you.

This past year I've studied under the best speaker coach in world.

I set a goal that I'd speak at least 2x a month somewhere and I executed.

And I practice and tweak everyday.

Here are the 5 things that tank a speech and leave you with the coulda, shoulda, wouldas.

1. No Structure and Not Hitting Your Time Mark

When I'm told I have 20 minutes, 25 minutes, 45 minutes or 90 minutes, I structure my speech and I practice.

At the last event I had 25 minutes and I spoke for 24 minutes and a few seconds.

You must take the audience on a journey. Your speech must appear unrehearsed and authentic.

That's why you plan and practice, start to finish with a timer.

Could you image if actors delivered the lines the way they memorized them? We'd be bored to death.

Could you image if you went to a 2 hour movie and it went 2 hours and 45 minutes.. and it was bad?

Like nails on a chalkboard.

If you want to get on big stages or be asked back to events, you can't mess up the flow of the day.

I've seen a lot of speakers literally get pulled off stage and told to wrap up, like when the Emmy music plays, in mid thought.

It's painful for everyone to watch.

2. No Story

If you want to learn from the best story coach in the world, go check out Bo Eason.

He teaches you how to master your story in business.

Story is what the audience remembers.

It's what leads people to buy.

It tells the audience more about who you are than you could ever say, because the audience gets to decide if they like you or not.

I've seen a lot of speakers with amazing content and teaching, but when never let us in. They never tell a story.

And If I don't know who you are, I don't fully trust you, and I don't want to give you my money.

There is an art to story, that's why I suggest learning from Bo.

3. Using Power Point or Hiding Behind a Podium

It takes vulnerability to give the audience all of you.

(Says the recently recovered power point user.)

When I can only see you from the waist up, or you're confused because your slide deck isn't working,

It creates a disconnect for me.

The reason why we love Theater, Disney on Ice, or a great action movie is because it's exciting to watch.

When speakers don't move with purpose, pace side to side, rely on slides, or hide behind a podium or desk,

I feel like I'm cheated from the experience.

I'm quicker to pull out my phone, get a snack, or go pee,

Instead of being fully immersed in the speaker

When I speak, I ask to take away any distractions, avoid crossing my legs, use my body to tell the story, and rely on my practice and preparation.

It's has made speaking so much more fun, and I'm less worried because my teaching and story become a part of me. It's second nature.

Only use slides if you MUST show something that you can't say to get the point across.

4. Making It About You

A speaker I listened to wanted to get a point across that we make judgements in the first 5 seconds of seeing someone.

She then asked the audience to raise their hands and tell her what we thought of her after an over the top entrance.

"You're amazing. You get shit done. You're powerful. You're successful." 

I couldn't help but think...How is this helping me?

She then proceeded to tell us that she would give 5 tips to make more money.

And went right into her testimonials (because she said.. well I only have 25 minutes).... and then pitched her event.

I don't care how successful you are, if you don't teach me anything, and it's all about you.. I'm out. I see behind the theatrics.

I give away pages of notes in 25 minutes, because I practice.

5. Weak Book Ends

Never open a speech with, "How's everybody doing?....So glad to be here! or Wow... look at this energy!"

(I used to do this by the way and I cringe now thinking about it.)

That other speaker was right, we do make judgements right away about people.

And I find too many speakers don't think about the intro and exit.

Never end a speech with, "And that's that! or "That's all I have to say about that."

The first words out of my mouth are a story. Not, "I'm going to tell you a story."

My last words are typically a strong call to action like download.. sign up... buy...

Followed by a signature line like,

"Go out and amply your voice and use it for good,"

The audience is judging the whole package so be strong out of the gate and finish well.




Want help with your next presentation? Strategy calls are what we do. 

You can book them here.

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