Speaking & Presentation Skills
The Biggest Mistake Speakers Make

by Brenda C Smith
Have you ever wondered why some of the most intelligent people step up to the platform and never get the audience fully engaged and excited about their talk? Here is the single most important factor that can prove to be differentiator between make or break. 
One of the biggest mistakes that speakers make while delivering their presentation is the pace of speaking. Your speech rate needs to be adjusted to suit an oral presentation to an audience that is listening, not reading your information.

The audience must have time to hear and picture what you are saying before you move on to your next point. When you speak too quickly the audience will only get about 10% of what you say. Your point needs to be heard clearly; then it needs to make an impact on your listeners' thoughts mentally, visually, and emotionally.

Mumbling is the result of speaking too quickly, so that listeners need to strain to figure out what you've just said. This can be corrected physically by opening your mouth wide enough to let the sounds exit your mouth better. Daily practice of tongue twisters or enunciating exactly sections of your speech will help to clarify each word and slow your speech accordingly. Rehearse reading aloud a newspaper paragraph; then, repeat without reading it, as if you are telling the listener the information over the telephone, being careful to enunciate and slow your pace.

Your speaking pace must allow for pauses. These pauses are at the ends of sentences to allow the completed thought to finish; or to allow you to catch your breath to not appear anxious, or rush through your material. Pauses are also used to create emphasis on key words or phrases to allow your message to be thought about and felt by the listener. Your pace should reflect your emotional intention of your speech. If you rush it, your audience will not feel your passion or empathize with your thoughts. Your performance is not a rush through the express checkout; it is the moment that you need to connect with your audience's intellect and heart.

Remember it takes longer for the listener to hear your message than it takes to read your message. Using pauses and controlling your pace are what make the difference between a good speaker and an amazing speaker. Slow down, enunciate, and make your pauses count.

Written by Brenda C. Smith

Did you find this article helpful? Brenda C. Smith is a personal Speech and Drama coach who helps professionals with oral presentations and communication training. Go now to http://VoicePowerTraining.com. to advance your career and enhance your voice for your success with our online training courses, self-help books, and personal coaching. Brenda is the author of "Ten Steps to Unlocking Your Voice" Please contact her for personal presentation and performance coaching.

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