5 Top list of Keynote Speaking mistakes

Avoid These Costly Speaking Mistakes

If you are a motivational speaker, then you certainly would like to avoid costly mistakes over the phase where you are attempting to secure a booking, but most importantly during the presentation.

The excellent news for aspiring speakers is that everyone has stories to share. The not so good news is that some people need coaching in order to share those stories.

Once you have found your inspirational speaking coach and invested time and money into figuring out how to do a good presentation, you want to avoid the major pitfalls of being a speaker.

So in no particular order, listed here are the 5 key mistakes you should avoid if you are getting in to a speaking career.

1.    Not researching your audience.
Either gearing up your talk for a well educated audience in your area of expertise or dumbing it down often times will be the primary difference between success and failure. Be sure to know what is at stake before you go into the room. 

2.    An early connection is vital.
Frankly if you have not put the audience on the edge of their seat in the first minute they already responding to texts. More to the point the organizer just left the room! 

3.    Lead them to water…. I know we can’t make them drink. So you had a great point, and it may have worked in your own life, but how does it help your audience – tell them what and how it’ll make a difference in their lives. 

4.    Don’t use lots of slides and don’t read slides. Lets face it, people came to hear you not look at you reciting lives of drivel on a slide. Most speakers could have at most a photo on a slide. Their point is to engage the audience with their talk not kill them with a slick power point presentation 

5.    Go out with a bang. You may have just delivered the best keynote an audience has ever seen, but if you do not close leaving them gasping for more, you killed the proverbial goose.  

Positive Motivational Speaking Tips

Many canadian speakers that I know have the process of designing a keynote down to a fine art in order that they easily coverthe above points. 

The important take away is the an ounce or prevention is worth a pound of cure if you don’t get it right…

For  me, I like to at least have a conference call with the even organizers to get a read on their expectations for the speaker. 

Secondly I will arrive early and meet the delegates and again take the opportunity to interview them and find out what makes the difference between a good speaker and a bad one from their perspective.

Finally, it is deemed an art to read the audience from the stage. You have to learn to think on your feet, figure out how to wake an audience up and be dynamic.

Don’t structure your keynote in such a way that you cannot pivot when needed.
One of my events was a booking for an automobile club. The drivers had been out all day racing their cars and by the end of the day they simply wanted to socialize and drink. 

I was scheduled to be on stage at 7pm. By 9:30pm after many apologies the organizer asked me to take the stage. I looked at my wife and said “There is no way I can do my keynote, they are way too loud”. 

I took the stage and indicated I was simply going to share some stories of how I had nearly died 5 times on adventures. The viewers immediately quietened and listened intently as I regaled some silly stories of mis-adventure. At the end of the night it was probably the greatest applause I have ever received!

Why constitutes a successful keynote speaker?

It is very often the case a lot of people believe keynote speaking is a deluxe and prestigious profession.

It is obvious as an entertainer or keynote speaker you can generate a significant amount of income and become very much sought after. However, most successful speakers or entertainers spend a long time in airports around the world or hotels in various cities.

In order to have a career in speaking or to become a motivational speaker, you need to first be or at least be perceived as being an expert in some subject.

What we most commonly see as a successful keynote speaker is somebody who has achieved a very high standing in their profession or sport. It is not however the only way to turn into a very successful motivational speaker.

The art of speaking or indeed being a trainer is centred around your capability to retain the focus of your audience. It is what most speakers refer to as the capability to get your audience to lean in.

Perhaps the revolution in the speaking industry has been the evolution of TED talks. While a great many keynote speakers and entertainers focus on delivering content over a 45 minute to one hour period, TED forces you to deliver an impactful message inside of 18 minutes.

The lesson for any speaker relates to the skills for the audience to focus over a longer period of time.

It must be noted that while each TED talk is of a shorter duration, the target is able to maintain focus over several sessions in the same evening.

The lesson therefore to anybody desiring to be a trainer or speaker essentially must learn to keep your audience engaged over larger spans of time using various tools like humour, audience participation or emotion. Essentially you’ll want to learn to be a number of different personalities in the same talk.

Many organizations which include toastmasters consentrate on training people to become speakers, however in most all cases the training is somewhat old school. While it is valuable to know the tools of the trade, as with many professions, times have changed and we haven’t necessarily responded to the change. 

A prime example is with the writing industry. Where books were once a minimum of 80,000 words, the evolution of the eBook industry has ended in a demand for 8000 word ebooks. 

The same holds true in speaking where today we worry less in regards to the “umm’s, err’s or “like’s” in a sentence plus much more concerning the ability for the speaker to entertain us and hold us captive to their narrative. 

Canada is one country that produces many top quality entertainers and speakers. Becoming a Canadian speaker you have access to not only the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (which has membership requirements in regards to your experience) but also several high quality speaker agencies.

Even though the desire to become a speaker may focus you on a path of writing a keynote and preparing yourself for the big day, you should also be prepared to be multi-talented.

Most motivational speakers derive a significant portion of their income from selling books at their events. Additionally they deliver workshops to the same audience to include value to their service.

In this circumstance the skills to create a book or host a workshop need to be acquired or purchased to assist you in your career progression.

If you are thinking about a career in speaking in North America, I would recommend you look to either the National Speakers Association in the USA or the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers in Canada. 

Once you have opened enough doors to start to get bookings, it is an extremely rewarding career and one that can be very profitable also.