Your Listeners

How Many Of These 27 Basic Speaking Errors Are You Making?
by Bill Cole

    Ask virtually any successful executive how they rose to the corporate heights and you know what they�ll say was one of their prime secrets?
    Excellent speaking skills. Being able to think on their feet. Solid communication skills. Dynamic persuasion skills.
    Don�t we �speak� all day long? In many contexts? To varying sizes of groups from one-on-one to large audiences? Formally or informally? At meetings? In the hallways at work? Socially? The reality is, we�re always �on stage�, and people are always evaluating us on many levels as we speak.
    How are your speaking skills? Have you mastered the basics? Do you at least avoid making fundamental errors when you speak? If not, you may be seriously alienating your audiences.
    Take this quick speaking quiz and find out how often you annoy your audience. How many of these communication gaffs do you make?

27 Guaranteed Ways To Turn Your Audience Off When You Speak

  • Speak so fast people can�t keep up with you.
  • Stand robot-like or rock back and forth in one place.
  • Make the same arm motions over and over.
  • Jangle jewelry and the change and keys in your pocket as you speak.
  • Use jargon, vocabulary, metaphors and examples your audience can�t relate to.
  • Take a break in the middle of your talk to �get the audio-visual equipment right� that you did not prepare in advance.
  • Read the entire talk from notes, and even worse, word for word.
  • Jump all over the place with your disorganized content.
  • Apologize endlessly for being unprepared, not speaking well, being nervous, etc.
  • Don�t read and adjust to the emotions and energy level of your audience.
  • Don�t look anyone in the eye, or jump nervously from face to face quickly.
  • Use only the words He, His, Him when you have women in the audience.
  • Use humor or make comments that puts someone down.
  • Write your material way above the heads of your audience to impress them with how smart you are.
  • Write your material at a level so basic your audience is insulted.
  • Drive 80% or more of your talk around Power Point or other technologies, so the audience doesn�t even need you.
  • Read the slides and chart captions word for word, and don�t add any extra comments.
  • Start your talk late and then run over your time allotment.
  • Do audience research in advance, but include none of it in your presentation.
  • Ignore whether your audience is expecting a formal or casual presentation.
  • Keep saying the same favorite words and phrases over and over again.
  • To fill space, say �Ummm� and �Ahhh� and �You know� repeatedly.
  • Don�t follow the outline you gave the audience.
  • Don�t give the audience an outline or notes.
  • Cut out or rush through the end of your material when you see you will run short on time.
  • Don�t repeat questions from the audience, so the back of the room can�t hear.
  • When you are not connecting with the audience, blame them for the situation.
  • Have no prepared ending and just abruptly say, �Well, I guess that�s it. Any questions?�

Now you know what not to do when speaking. At the very minimum, don�t irritate or insult your audience. Your listeners will thank you by showing more respect and appreciation during and after your talk. You�ll make a positive, powerful impact and come across as the highly effective person you are.