Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time – George Bernard Shaw
The problem with studying people who are great at what they do, is that they make things look easy.
Want to learn how to play tennis? Watch Roger Federer and you could be forgiven for thinking tennis doesn’t make you sweat and that the rackets can be wafted like wands.
Trying to cook a gourmet meal for the first time? Download a few Gordon Ramsay recipes and the descriptions will make the steps sound as straightforward as building a lego house.
But as we all know, tennis ain’t easy it does make you sweat; and you can follow the cooking instructions all you want, chances are that souffle will collapse the first five times you try to cook it.
If you want to become a great speechmaker, there is much to be said for watching the greats like Michelle Obama or JFK. They speak with effortless grace and demonstrate effective communication techniques that all of us should aspire to follow.
Watching great speeches is motivating and inspiring… until, that is, you have a speech of your own to give and the realities of public speaking hit home. In the real world of public speaking, soaring oratory gets undermined by your ums and errs; beautiful slides are frozen because of IT failures; and your little anecdotes that sounded so hilarious when you tried them out on your partner, fall flat in front of an audience that just doesn’t get it.
The first step to the mastery of any skill is to get the basics right. Walk before you run. And a big part of that involves avoiding basic mistakes.
In the field of public speaking there are some monster mistakes that love nothing better than taking bright-eyed bushy-tailed wannabe public speakers and reducing them to shrivelling, bumbling, muttering shadows of their former selves.
Fall into their trap and it’s your doom. But if you can dodge them and avoid their evil clutches, glory awaits… or at least a decent round of applause.
Here are the 7 Deadly Sins of Public Speaking that you must avoid at all costs:
1. I WAS JUST TOO BUSY TO PREPARE
Stop me if this sounds familiar!
You’ve got a presentation to give. You make a mental note to set aside some time to properly prepare. Then work, kids, Netflix, and general life intervene and before you know it, it’s an hour before the presentation and your sweating buckets trying to figure out what to say.