Communicating as a Leader

Top 7 Mistakes That People Make When Communicating

Sean Klonaris asked:

Many people who prepare to speak do so by focusing on the wrong things and as a result waste a lot of time and energy without seeing fast results and improvement. Below are 7 mistakes to look out for when delivering your message in any arena or situation.

1. Many communicators are focused on themselves rather then their message.

Focusing on yourself right before you communicate in front of a group can cause some big time heartburn and real fear. It is one of the biggest reasons that people are nervous and full of anxiety before they speak. This can really make a spectacular presentation turn into a disaster.

Remember: When you focus on your message instead of just yourself you are putting your focus on something other than what “you are feeling”. The mind can only focus on one thought at a time. You will relieve yourself of much stress and headache by “letting go” of actually thinking about “how well will I do?” and instead shifting your focus to “how can I best deliver this message?” “Why am I here?” “What do I want to say?”

Self-conciousness is created by being focused on yourself and what is going on within you. “What will they think of me?” “Am I good enough?” By shifitng your focus, you will be in better shape to commmunicate the ideas you want to get across!

2. Many people anticipate a struggle rather than an enjoyable learning experience!

This is one of biggest pieces of advice I can give anyone! It has helped me in delivering effective presentations more than almost any other single thing. And that is to, “Enjoy yourself and Learn.”

The number one key to a great speech: Speak from the heart about something you care about and have a good time! The enjoy part is what we are focused on here!

Think about the best commmunicators out there that really move us and have an impact. Even when they are delivering the most technical speeches they seem like they are truly “enjoying themselves”. They are natural and comfortable. They come across well because they give off a feeling of being relaxed.(even if they may be unsure at the start) When the speaker is enjoying themselves and feeling comfortable, the audience is much more likely to follow that vibe. A great big warm smile will liven up an audience unlike anything else.

So to enjoy yourself more, see all the good things that will come from this speech. You will learn a lot. Just the fact that this is a learning experience is a fact to celebrate. No matter how it goes, you will get better. So try smiling and taking the attitude, “I am going to enjoy this.” You will be surprised how what you think about you move towards. Your audience will be glad you did.

3. Most people don’t set the frame of “I’m in control.”

One of the keys to being successful with speaking (and anything for that matter) is the feeling inside that you are in-control. Being controlled by outside factors like the audience, their reaction of you and whether you use a visual aide properly will put fear and terror into your speech.

It is important to initially, from the outset establish that you are in-control and in charge. You want to be centered so that nothing on the outside is going to effect your speech negatively in any way at all.

One of the ways I have been able to do this is get centered by getting the right posture. Keep your head up and chest out. I pretend I am a superhero. How would Superman stand? He would stand tall, erect and straight.Then the other key is to take your time. Do things on your terms.

Don’t just rush over to someone who wants your attention. Take how long It takes to do what you are currently doing and then go over to help them. Stay in control of your person. The idea here is think thoughts of smooth, relaxed, and in-control at all times. You will be delighted at how just putting on the in-control posture and focusing your thinking on will create powerful strength. It definitely is a state. Once you are in that state, you will be on a roll for your presentation. Even the toughest crowds will not effect your ability to confidently communicate.

4. They spend way too little time to make things “interactive.”

To inspire, uplift, educate, inform, persuade and move your audience you will first need to have everyone paying attention. If you lose them early in your communication it can be an uphill battle to get them back again.

The secret: You need to involve your audience early and often. It can be asking a question to start your speech like, “how many here have experienced this?” When asking your question it is best to raise your own hand and you will see that almost everyone else in the room will follow suit. Best questions are ones that almost everyone would say yes to. A great setup is to ask if your audience has ever experienced a certain problem and how you in your speech are going to explain the solution.

You need to keep your audience involved not only at the start but throughout your entire speech. This requires a little extra planning and preparation but it is well worth it. Have planned moments where you will ask for feedback on something. Always have a prepared participant in the audience to participate to demonstrate a point or example. The worst thing is creating an interactive moment with one invidual without preparation. Problem is without setting up a volunteer before hand, you might not get any participants when you ask for it. At least when you have a prepared volunteer, that person will speak up and that usually gets others too as well. Asking for participation early on and continually will be invaluable to keep everyone interested.

5. People forget to put themselves in the “shoes of their audience”

One of the best exercises you can do while you are creating your speech and then preparing is to continually “re-frame” and put yourself in the shoes of an audience member. Picture yourself sitting in the audience watching you give your speech. What are your expectations? What do you want to hear? What would you need to hear to get the most from this time? How will it be clear? How will it be interesting for you to understand?

Even think to the best speeches you have seen. What were the great things about them? Why did they resonate with you? How did they get your attention and keep you interested? By picturing yourself in the audience, you are serving the wants of your listeners because you have been thoughtful about what they need!

6. They don’t pump up the energy!

Yes it is true it is very important to be conversational and natural as a speaker. But you can’t converse in front of a group as you would one to one.There is a certain drama that you need to add to the mix.

I have found it very important to pump up my energy. One of the exercises I do is some ‘power jumps’ to loosen myself up and also some ake fighting with punches before my presentation. It really increases my overall energy. I am not saying those exercises will be possible in all situations where there is no backstage. But keep in mind the idea of pumping things up to make things more dynamic for the crowd. People want to hear something and they want it to be delivered in a powerful and interesting way. A good formula: Interesting=Energy+Boldness+Projection.Keep your spirit high and your energy on fire. You want a bursting energy level that overflows to your audience to keep them right by our side on the journey you take them on!

7. People rely too much on their notes!

The most boring, laborious speeches on God’s earth are those spoken by people who in a monotone voice read verbatim from the page in front of them. They don’t look up. They don’t connect. They are clinging to the page like a frightened child. The audience is suffering right along with them. Both the speaker and the audience are ready for the speech to be over!

You want do do better than that. Y
ou want to connect and capture your audience’s imagination
and attention. Your notes should be just a roadmap, with key pointers written out in BIG BOLD PRINT. This way you can quickly glance at them without having to read anything longer than three or four words. An example would be:

Speech: Topic-‘Leaders are Readers’

INTRO: Leaders…Readers ” Quote

1) Historic: MLK, Oprah

2) Personal: My Fav Book

3) ‘Take up the Habit, Change your Life!’

4) Close: Action steps

The main reason to have notes is to jog your memory.You should know your presentation well enough to only need a few words to remember what exactly you want to say and let yourself know where you are in the roadmap.

Take Action Now!

Start taking action now! Pick one area on the above 7 items that you have identified you could work on to some degree. Decide to start with that. Improve that and then go to the next. Write your results in your communication journal. Decide on improving yourself and take action!

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