Common Mistakes Every Keynote Speaker Should Avoid
Your startup is off and running. You are a voice of change in your industry, and now you’ve been asked to give a keynote address. Once you’re finished, you step off the stage, away from the glare of the lights. Your speech is over and there’s no second chance. But that doesn’t mean you won’t revisit it as public speakers tend to do…again and again and again.
Speakers frequently overanalyze every word and gesture – long after the actual oration. It’s extremely easy to beat yourself up over blunders and missed opportunities. But when all is said and done, the only thing left to do is learn from your mistakes to grow and enhance your image as the thought leader that you are. Prevent post-speech regrets by avoiding these 3 poor practices.
Not connecting your keynote speech to your experience
Disconnected public speakers are the bane of every conference attendee. You know the type—they drone on and on, but never actually connect to what they have learned in the day to day of being an entrepreneur. Drawing your audience in to your experience from the start is imperative to maintaining interest and respect as a leader. Audiences come with great expectations after reading your articles, or following your podcasts. They want to learn and grow from your experiences of slogging through the bog of building a business. Don’t depend on implicit connections. Your savvy audience will quickly take note if your experience doesn’t explicitly align with your topic.
Overuse (or under!) of hand gestures
Neither automatons nor clowns are particularly popular at conferences since both are annoyingly distracting. Avoid both melodrama and stiffness. People want to listen to public speakers who are real. But authenticity doesn’t mean you have to be an off-the-cuff speaker. Don’t undervalue preparation when presenting at an event. The key is getting comfortable with yourself being at the front. Plan, write and then start rehearsing. Get on your feet and use a mirror or video camera. Discover what looks natural, and then practice enough to develop easy muscle memory. Then gestures come naturally.
Failing to connect with your audience
Public speakers exist because people want to hear their story. Your audiences wants to connect and interact, to catch the vision and take their own businesses to greater heights. Communicate effectively by making use of eye contact, storytelling and personal anecdotes to capture their attention. Once you’ve capped your speech with finesse and left them wanting more, step off that stage and engage. Imprinting yourself and your speech on your listeners in those final moments is key to solidifying your brand.
Reams of paper and thousands of websites are dedicated to providing advice on how entrepreneurs can become polished thought leaders and public speakers who orate with flair. Incorporate these 3 ideas into your repertoire to help boost your reputation and success as a desirable keynote speaker and keep your brand at the top of its game.