Is there an e-mail trend that bugs you? Are there ridiculous phrases you can’t believe people actually say in business? It’s interesting that the most commonly voiced pet peeves involve communication.
And although different pet peeves can be handled in different ways (like sharing them or simply moving on), wouldn’t it be good to nip them in the bud? Plus there are things you can’t ignore–sometimes, it’s not just you.
Public speaking coaches are no different–we have pet peeves of our own. The worst kind of pet peeves, in fact: the ones that absolutely must be addressed.
Find out my top pet peeves as a public speaking coach and the ways the best speakers get around them. After all, everyone wants to lose their amateur status and speak like a well-seasoned pro.
You Can’t Build a House on a Cracked Foundation
Many times, I’ve received a message from a potential client saying that they are only interested in polishing their presentation. When I review the speech, this is unfortunately not the case.
The problem with a poorly researched talk is that no dramatic flourish or wave-of-the-hand can make up for the lackluster content or incorrect ‘facts.’
You can put a pig in a dress, but at the end of the day, a pig is still a pig–in any garment.
Pro-fix: Relying on an initial outline will help keep your speech focused. Incorporate stories and structure to combat the bore-factor. Fact-checking your speech when it’s in its beginning stages will ensure your information is accurate, strengthening your argument and authority.
Done is Better Than Good
Another common occurrence is the perfectionist who shows up to a coaching session and treats it like a writers’ room. Their presentation is in one week, and they want to know if their conclusion makes a better introduction.
Although this is a fair question to broach, it probably should have come up way before now. At this stage, it’s time to trust yourself. You’ve put in the work, you’ve done your research and you have a message that resonates. Go for it.
Pro-fix: Instead of rearranging your words, rearrange your mindset. Having confidence in yourself and your words is more than half the battle–it’s the whole war. Focus on actually practicing instead of constantly refining.
No Time Like the Present
Speaking of practicing, many speakers will tell me they want to work on delivery. And that their speech is only a few days out. And it isn’t memorized.
This client is always a doozy. The exact opposite of “Done is Better Than ‘Good,'” this speaker has a speech that is neither “done” nor “good.”
Memorization is key. Without a properly memorized speech, confidence is impossible. Luckily, memorization and practice go hand-in-hand, meaning if you do one then the other will follow, given enough time.
Pro-fix: The only way to avoid this one is by starting early. Craft a practice schedule at the get-go and stick to it. You can’t go to the gym and expect a 6-pack in a day–speeches, like muscles, need attention and care. Practicing also serves the dual purpose of troubleshooting or editing any unclear or underdeveloped portions of that outline you started out with.
These pet peeves of mine or ones shared by all speaker coaches. We can spot an amateur speaker when there’s a lapse in confidence, a consistent practice schedule or being simply unprepared. Join the ranks of the speaking elite–mind your speaker coach’s pet peeves.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.