Because public speaking is, by definition, a ‘live’ event, mistakes are inevitable. As a speech writer, I am often approached by people who have had a bad public speaking experience in the past, and with them in mind, here are things to avoid in a speech to ensure that you minimise your chances of something equally horrible happening to you!
Drinking too much beforehand
Forgetting that you only have two hands. This means that it isn’t easy to hold your speech in one hand, your microphone in another, and still have a spare hand to click through any accompanying slides
Typing your speech in a font that’s too small to read at arms length
Typing your speech in a colour that’s too light to read in a dimly lit room
Not numbering your cards / pages and so panic ensues when you drop them on the floor as you are about to start speaking
Not taking a glass of wine with you to make a toast at the end of the speech
Speaking so quickly that no one can keep up with the points you’re making
Speaking so quietly that no one can hear you
Staring down at your speech and forgetting that you should actually be addressing your audience
Looking glum throughout. Unless you are Jack Dee, this tends to be a real turn off.
This list isn’t meant to scare you, and nor is it comprehensive. But it is amazing how the silliest things can ruin the most beautifully written speech. As ever, preparation is key. If you know your content, have checked out the venue, and have practised out loud, then your odds are good.
Please let me know if I can help with any aspect of this.