Sunday, 27 October 2013

Common errors in speaking

Hi All,
I have been in the USA the last month doing Route 66. What a hoot.
So, that's why the blog has been silent.
Today, I want to take up the idea of mistakes people make when speaking or even things they do that they may not know are wrong. S, here goes and in no particular order.

Many speakers go too fast because they want to get it over and done. Big mistake. When you go too fast, the audience cannot take in your message and they will turn off. The right pace is 120 words per minute and that needs to be varied too.

There is a rumour out there that you should imagine your audience naked or in their undies to make you less scared. Bad advice. You should imagine you are speaking to one friend, one friend, one friend. Mostly you are speaking to an audience that is friendly. So picture them as people, not sex objects.

Some people say you should speak to the back of the room. No. You need to look into the eyes of the audience. You do need to keep your head up, but not to look at a wall or the ceiling. There is nobody there.

Another silly idea is that speaking is all about speaking. It isn't. It's mostly about your body and your voice. 90% of your message is conveyed by body language and voice variety. So, although the words ARE important, it's even more important what you do with your hands, eyes, face and feet as well as your tone, pitch pace, than the actual words.

Next, some people say to themselves, "I'm not nervous"  or "Don't shake." If you say these words, you will become more nervous and shake more. The subconscious does not access negatives. So say instead, "I am confident." or "I stay calm and relaxed." It will work, over time.

Many people think you should start with: "Hello, my name is xxxx and I;m going to talk about XXXXX." No. Start with something interesting: a question, a statement, a connection, a quote, a story. Then you can introduce the topic. If you are not introduced by someone else, you can introduce yourself and a bit about you. Then pause. Then start with the grab.

Others think you need to finish with "Thank you." NO. It;s polite, and it's boring. Finish with a message which rhymes, is memorable, catchy, funny or different or even a call to action. If you feel you must thanks the audience, do it before your finish.

Finally, some people think you do not need to let your audience know where you are going. Not true. You must signal and signpost where you are going so they can follow you. The words go out and can be lost. So, let them know where you are going by saying," I have three points to make." and for the end, "In conclusion," or "finally" or anything that says this is the end.

You may have some suggestions, write them to me.