Last week I wrote about the first 3 mistakes leaders make when they’re giving a speech: 1) Not Having a Goal, 2) Not Having Anything to Say, and 3) Taking Too Long to Say It. Now I’ll continue with rules 4 through 7.
4. Me, Me, Me, Me, Me
Yes, you want to keep it personal. And yes, it’s fine — preferable, actually — to talk about yourself and your experience. But your speech can’t be about yourself. It’s got to be about the audience. Everything you say, even if it’s a personal story or a pet peeve, should be for the audience’s benefit.
5. Using PowerPoint
In spite of decades of accumulated experience and overwhelming evidence to the contrary, PowerPoint can be used well. But it should only be used to present information — data, charts, graphs, lists, etc. And most of the time at least, you shouldn’t be talking about information. Not if you’re a leader. It’s your job as a leader to shape the way an audience thinks and feels and to inspire them to take action. And the only way to influence and inspire people is to appeal to their imaginations and emotions. And PowerPoint can’t do that.
6. Me, Me, Me, Me, Me (Revisited)
I know I said leaders need a goal for every speech, something they want their listeners to know, feel, or do. But you can’t simply tell them what you want and expect them to hop to it. You have to show them why and how it will benefit them. They are always asking themselves WIIFM? What’s in it for me? Tell them how knowing / feeling / doing what you want them to will help them solve a problem or achieve a goal that’s important to them.
7. Faking It
If you try to be something or someone else in front of an audience, they’ll sniff it out. They’ll smell a fraud and they’ll turn up their noses at you. Be yourself in front of the audience — your best self — because you can’t be anyone else. Let your values, experience, passion, even your sense of humor show through. Imitating someone else – even a masterful speaker – only makes you look pompous or fraudulent. Don’t do it.
What examples do you have of a leader bombing in front of an audience? I’d love to hear your feedback. Use the comments field below.