The Performance Pro

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


We've been besieged with the media coverage of the campaign trails. Gone are the days when the average guy jumps up on the soap box and starts expounding on his beliefs. Today the candidates are coached and groomed with how to stand, speak, gesture. They need to know who to stand next to, what colors to wear and who their audiences will be -- all things that go into delivering an influential presentation. Whoever said speaking was easy was right; most of us are able to easily ramble on for hours. The challenge comes in developing the art of crafting and delivering a meaningful presentation within the allotted time frame. Statistics show; image matters!

What are some of the biggest blunders that presenters can make?

Lack of preparation to speak. Speaking well doesn't just happen. It's the result of practice. Take the time to practice in front of an audiences every opportunity you get or even taking coaching lessons will help overcome those anxiety jitters. Practice, practice, practice. The more you rehearse, the less chance sabotaging yourself by inserting off-the-cuff verbiage that can destroy all the good you are trying to do – just ask John Kerry.

Not organized. Start collecting information and clippings on your topic. Jot down notes. Keep them in a file for future reference. A good speech is the result of good research and interesting content. Once at the lecture, do not be fumbling through your materials, it makes you look inept and unorganized.

Drop the filler words. Politicians are not immune from "ah-h-h-h's" and "uh-m-m-ms", and when used repeatedly, they can drive their audience crazy! Polished speakers have learned to delete those from their delivery.

No message continuity. There are specific ingredients to a well crafted speech. Starting with a good beginning, three or four main points and having a good closing are the first steps. The closing should relate back to the beginning to wrap your presentation in a great package.

Not knowing the audience. Cardinal rule of all successful speakers(politician or not) - know your audience. Do preprogram interviews; talk to someone that can give you insights as to what it is like to walk in their shoes. Different regions, countries, ethnic groups, economic groups all may have their own unique perspectives.

Dressing like image doesn't matter. Building trust and credibility is all about image. In case you haven’t noticed, during election campaigns there’s an abundance of blue(trust) and red(power) ties being worn by the male candidates. This is not just coincidental.


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