There are a host of experts out there that talk about what to do to become a spectacular speaker, a compelling presenter or a terrific TED Talker. You can access the Five Ways, the Three Steps and all the Tips and Tricks of how to succeed on any stage but not many will encouragingly take you through the Seven Deadly Sins. I am not focusing on the negative but offering simple guidelines of areas to avoid, places not to sit on, and walls not to lean against…you get my gist? Someone has to play devil’s advocate.
-There is no such thing as failure, there is only feedback – Brian Tracy
Let’s take a closer look at the Seven Deadly Sins and let’s weed them out, send them off so they never darken your door again.
- The Mono Lisa Eyes. Don’t stare, look vacant or gaze at the ceiling. It is important to have caring eye contact so that each person in your audience feels you are looking at them, even if it is only for three seconds. You can practise this while rehearsing your speech, talk or sales pitch. Move your eyes over and onto different objects in the room. Pretend they are human, look into their eyes.
- Breathlessness or the red face look. Breathing allows you to pause and pausing allows you to breathe.
- Fast talking or blabbering. Fast talking is a nervous state and is connected to breathing and pausing. Record yourself and listen back to the speed, not your words or brilliance.
- The Fidgets. Squirming, fiddling and twiddling are distracting features. After a while, the audience will feel sorry for you or start fidgeting. It is contagious.
- Apologising. Whatever happens, and I mean whatever happens never apologise, even if you go blank, you are human, admit it, wait, relax and continue with your assignment.
- Walkabout. Nerves and forgetfulness often attack our legs and put us into flight and run mode. Don’t walk in and out of the limelight.
- Micro-phobia. Fear of microphones or lack of experience can lead to some noisy or silent situations. Remember sin number 5.
The Seven Deadly Sins are of course not sins and will not cause any illness or death-like experience. They are written on my screen not on stone. Let’s not use them as reasons or excuses to prevent us from taking the plunge to speak up and Step Up & Stand Out.
I have also been in a sinful position on stage.
I was a breathless, fidgeting, high-speed-train of verbal apologising, microphone bashing Mono Lisa eyed mess!
However, I have learnt to throw off the armour of fear and doubt, although I am still capable of sinning!
It all starts with a little self-belief and some feedback, or some ‘super, you focused’ coaching!
Life is too short to be comfortable, if you have the desire to be a motivational speaker, or you have a message to shout out, or a book to promote…Step Up & Stand Out is here for you.
Thanks for sharing the seven sins. Once you know them and thanks to your tips you can start to avoid them everytime you have to go on stage. Useful info, fantastic blog! 🙂
Another great blog, Georgia! Although I am – by no stretch of the imagination – a riveting speaker (like wot you are); far from it (and I’m being truthful NOT negative). I was far worse when young: blabbering on – probably speaking too softly to my boobs… I appreciate all the good advice and have improved a tad. Upwards and onwards.
Thank you for reminding me of my ability to commit these sins. Yes, life is too short to be comfortable. Although our “sins” rarely provide comfort for us, still life is too short to sin away in public.
All excellent points Georgia and perhaps the best 7 points to make people feel that speech giving is a positive experience of communication and connection rather than hurdles to stumble over and be glad when it’s over….I especially like the looking round the room at objects to pretend they are people…thank you! X
Great tips, so simple when you know. I gave a talk about OCD, my speech was after the interval so l moved things round the room like making pictures slant, messy stacks of magazines and even messy chair formations etc. BUT when my time came to speak, some things had already been straightened and even the Toastmaster straightened a sign during my introduction and it really threw me off but l tried my best to get through the speech hoping that no one had noticed!