Take two internationally renowned speakers. One speaker who I will refer to as Mr. X occasionally forgets where he is because he adds anecdotes pertinent to his main points throughout his presentation. In doing so, he sometimes forgets where he was since he is not using any visual aids. He is speaking from both his head and his heart. His delivery is dynamic and exciting. The other individual, Mr. Y, talks perfectly word-for-word. His memorized delivery is very fast and includes no anecdotes as he is saying each word directly from his PowerPoint presentation. Which one is the better speaker?
The one who made the mistakes, Mr. X.
How can that be you might ask? Because the former speaker talks from his heart while using his head. The latter talks from his head, basically spitting out his words with very little heart in his delivery. Yes, his message is solid, of that there is no doubt. However, his style of delivery leaves much to be desired. Some people in the audience believe that Mr. Y is the better speaker and I would beg to differ.
When you speak from your heart, in which you are not reading your script nor delivering a rote, memorized ‘performance,’ you will probably make a mistake or two. It is something that happens to the best of the best; but, they do not allow it to throw them. Watch the evening news or listen to a radio broadcast and you will hear mistakes. It happens. The speaker corrects the error and then moves on. It is normal; it is natural; and, it is unavoidable when you are talking to an audience.
The only time you can speak without error is if you deliver a memorized script. In my opinion, that is acting. Public speaking is not acting – it is not a performance in that sense. Public speaking is the art of oral communication with an audience. Notice that this definition includes the words with an audience. In truth, the best in the business treat their audience as if they were having a conversation with them. That is great public speaking and that means that mistakes will happen.
Stop worrying about a possible mistake – unless your presentation is replete with them in which case you do not know your material. Your audience is not concerned about an error. Why should you be? Instead concentrate on speaking from your heart in which you are guided by your head.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. For more information on upcoming workshops, visit Voice Dynamic.
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