I recently heard a ‘public speaker’ who was marketing himself as one who had made a lot of money from a book he had written. I caught this on video on the internet and counted my blessings that I hadn’t been in the audience, especially in the front row!
This man spoke for at least 20 minutes and, because I was watching him in the comfort of my office, I was able to turn him off after 3 minutes because I couldn’t bear listening to him any longer. He paced back and forth throughout; and, after losing count of his ums once he reached 20, I had had enough. He told a joke as part of his opening which was not funny; he spoke in a monotone which was boring; and, his approach to his topic was dull and uninteresting. What did he talk about? I honestly have no idea.
Obviously this man has had very little experience speaking to an audience (even though he is a lawyer) and even more obvious was the fact that he had not practiced and recorded himself in the process. Had he rehearsed his material and then played back the recording, he definitely would have refused to go on stage and face those 300 people.
Can you imagine attending a sporting event in which the players had not practiced? Or how about a play or a concert? Public speaking is no different than playing a sport or entertaining an audience in that it is a live venue. Without rehearsal, you are not only wasting everyone’s time but you are placing your credibility into question.
So why is he pacing on stage? Because of his nervousness which you could hear in his voice, count in his verbal tics, and see in his demeanor.
Incidentally, I am a strong advocate of nervousness. I want you nervous; however, I want you in control of it instead of the other way around. In this gentleman’s case, his nervousness had total control over him.
Next time you are scheduled to give a speech or a presentation, practice it OUT LOUD over and over and over again. Record yourself, study the playback, and be honest about what you see and hear.
Your credibility lies not only in how much money you have made or how many books or CDs you have sold but also in your delivery skills. It is to your advantage to hone those skills so that people like me don’t click off your website or walk out on you!