2015 Prep – 5 Speaking mistakes to avoid

2015 is bound to be a great year. If you’re the type to make a New Year’s Resolution and stick with it, the I imagine you’ve already decided on a course of action for 2015. But if you’re more like me, resolutions can sometimes lead to positive results, but not usually the wish you had in your head.

That’s okay. For many people those New Year’s Resolutions are overrated. Instead, here are 5 things you can do differently, but not necessarily all at once to make fewer mistakes when speaking. You don’t have to do all of them in your first speech of the new year. Just consider how to make there adjustments throughout the year, and by Dec 31, 2015 you’ll look back on a productive year.

Mistake #1 – forgetting to record yourself
– Forget the number of times I don’t watch myself. When I do, I always learn something useful. Bonus: if I want to deliver a message that was in a previous speech, and can look back on how I did it and how it was received.

Mistake #2 – not knowing your niche
If you want to help everybody get better at everything, you’re more likely to help no one get better at nothing. An example in Toastmasters is coaching contest speakers. That’s a niche. Find yours.

Mistake #3 – not using visual aides
Forget PowerPoint (although it can be occasionally useful). Provide handouts for your presentations. Resource lists, pictures and fill-in-the-blank handouts all can add to your delivery.

Mistake #4 – putting yourself ahead of the audience
It’s not about what you have to say, it’s about what they want/need to hear. Getting on your own soapbox will turn off your audience. Alan Weiss likes to call it improving your audience’s condition. If you want to make yourself feel important, better to get a mirror.

Mistake #5 – not having a specific goal
I wish I had a blog is not a goal. Make your goal specific – I will have a blog about photography, measurable – I will post content weekly, attainable – I will use a free WordPress site, realistic – I will post between 50 and 200 words per week, and time-bound – I will start my blog by January 15th.

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