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The Eight Worst Mistakes that Keynote Speakers Make

The Eight Worst Mistakes that Keynote Speakers Make

Have you ever been bored rigid by a conference speaker? How can you avoid that fate if you have to give a talk? Here are the worst sins that public speakers commit so you can be sure not to make these same mistakes.

1. A Weak Start.

The first impression that you make on the stage is very important.  It should be positive and animated.  Many speakers make a feeble start.  They look down and mumble their first words or worse, they make an apology.  The audience wants you to succeed, they want you to be professional, informative and entertaining, so meet their expectations.

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2.  Over-use of PowerPoint.

Slides can be useful – especially for showing charts or images.  But many speakers load up their presentation with too many slides containing too many words.  The speaker then reads the slide and the audience reads it as well, not looking or paying attention to the speaker.  This is what’s known as, ‘death by PowerPoint.”

3. No Clear Message.

Often speakers try to cover too much ground and overload the audience with data.  There are many different messages but there is no clear theme.  Ideally your talk should have one central idea and your talk should have a structure that communicates the idea.  For example, you might start by talking about a problem, you might tell a story, you might propose a solution then you might end with a call to action – something you want the audience to do.

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4.  No Human Interest.

Many talks are crammed full of facts, data, charts and statistics with no stories.  With no stories that people can relate to, the presentation is dull and the audience will get bored.  Include a  story or two that people can relate to in order to keep their interest.  For example, if you want to improve customer service, do not drone on about the percentage of net recommenders.  Tell a story about someone who gave great service, describe them and the situation and make the story come alive.

5.  Lack of Enthusiasm.

A speaker who lacks enthusiasm cannot generate enthusiasm in the audience.  Many speakers deliver their content in a dreary monotone voice, reading dry statements from a script and putting the audience to sleep.  Your job as a speaker is to inform and entertain.  Look the audience in the eye and speak from the heart, walk about the stage (but not too much) and vary your voice – pitch, speed of delivery and volume.  Try to include some humor or something interesting and unusual; but keep it relevant to the topic.

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6.  Too Much Me and Not Enough You.

A big mistake is to make the talk about you, your company, your issues and your achievements.  The audience is interested in their problems so you have to make your talk about them.  If you give examples about your company, then draw out larger issues and lessons that are relevant and useful to your listeners.  Count how many times you say ‘I’ or ‘we’ and count how many times you say ‘you.’

7. No Rehearsal.

Many speakers make elementary mistakes on stage.  They struggle with the equipment, their slides are out of order or it’s clear they haven’t rehearsed.  Before you speak, practice your talk so that you can be confident about every aspect of it.  On the day of the event, you should check all the equipment on stage and be familiar with all the logistics.

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8. Overrunning on Time.

This is a sin that many speakers commit.  Event organizers and audiences do not appreciate a speaker who overruns his allotted time.  Worse still, the speaker compounds the error by rushing towards the end to cram in all his remaining slides.  If you have a 45 minute slot, then practice a talk that fits comfortably into 40 minutes.  That way you can end the talk in a strong, confident manner and take the time to really deliver your key message,  If you have time over, you can always offer to take questions.

Practice your talk and deliver it with confidence and enthusiasm.  You will enjoy it and more importantly so will your audience.

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Paul Sloane

Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

If I was a super hero I’d want my super power to be the ability to motivate everyone around me. Think of how many problems you could solve just by being able to motivate people towards their goals. You wouldn’t be frustrated by lazy co-workers. You wouldn’t be mad at your partner for wasting the weekend in front of the TV. Also, the more people around you are motivated toward their dreams, the more you can capitalize off their successes.

Being able to motivate people is key to your success at work, at home, and in the future because no one can achieve anything alone. We all need the help of others.

So, how to motivate people? Here are 7 ways to motivate others even you can do.

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1. Listen

Most people start out trying to motivate someone by giving them a lengthy speech, but this rarely works because motivation has to start inside others. The best way to motivate others is to start by listening to what they want to do. Find out what the person’s goals and dreams are. If it’s something you want to encourage, then continue through these steps.

2. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are the best way to figure out what someone’s dreams are. If you can’t think of anything to ask, start with, “What have you always wanted to do?”

“Why do you want to do that?”

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“What makes you so excited about it?”

“How long has that been your dream?”

You need this information the help you with the following steps.

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3. Encourage

This is the most important step, because starting a dream is scary. People are so scared they will fail or look stupid, many never try to reach their goals, so this is where you come in. You must encourage them. Say things like, “I think you will be great at that.” Better yet, say, “I think your skills in X will help you succeed.” For example if you have a friend who wants to own a pet store, say, “You are so great with animals, I think you will be excellent at running a pet store.”

4. Ask About What the First Step Will Be

After you’ve encouraged them, find how they will start. If they don’t know, you can make suggestions, but it’s better to let the person figure out the first step themselves so they can be committed to the process.

5. Dream

This is the most fun step, because you can dream about success. Say things like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your business took off, and you didn’t have to work at that job you hate?” By allowing others to dream, you solidify the motivation in place and connect their dreams to a future reality.

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6. Ask How You Can Help

Most of the time, others won’t need anything from you, but it’s always good to offer. Just letting the person know you’re there will help motivate them to start. And, who knows, maybe your skills can help.

7. Follow Up

Periodically, over the course of the next year, ask them how their goal is going. This way you can find out what progress has been made. You may need to do the seven steps again, or they may need motivation in another area of their life.

Final Thoughts

By following these seven steps, you’ll be able to encourage the people around you to achieve their dreams and goals. In return, you’ll be more passionate about getting to your goals, you’ll be surrounded by successful people, and others will want to help you reach your dreams …

Oh, and you’ll become a motivational super hero. Time to get a cape!

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Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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