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Why You'll Never Succeed at Public Speaking

Okay, okay, the headline is a bit rude, and obviously, I don't know you personally BUT - there's some reasons why I think you might never succeed at public speaking. Here's the 9 reasons you why you'll never succeed at public speaking if you don't sort of these problems.


Everyone is busy, but if you haven't worked out a story for your presentation, no one is going to listen. People like stories. People like to be drawn in by something they can relate to or get lost in. Stories grab attention and hold it. People love a bit of drama, a surprise, a bit of suspense - not knowing where it's going to go.

A story has a beginning, middle and an end. A proper structure. If your presentation doesn't have a proper structure, you'll leave people very bored indeed. In a good story, a character has a problem that they are trying to resolve. They work throughout to overcome that problem and then they resolve it before the end. You can do the same with the structure of your presentation.

Or you can tell a real story too. That works just as well.

But if you don't have a story, you're not going to succeed in public speaking.


If you want the audience's attention, you need to write for them. For that specific audience. For those specific people. A message crafted for that audience will influence and impact that audience strongly. A general message, vaguely crafted for a general audience will only speak to them generally. Do you want a specific result or a general one?

Always play to the audience's self interest. You see, an audience cares about answering just one question:

What's in this for me?

If you keep the focus of your presentation on answering this question, you will hold their attention of the length of your presentation.


You may fail to succeed in presentations because you are under the mistaken belief that presentations are the transfer of information or data from one person to another group of people.

Nobody cares about the information. They care about how it's delivered and what it means to them. The heavy focus on the logical element of supplying enough data to interest the audience is flawed.

Your job is to inspire, to influence, to transform and to lead them. You can't do this by just dumping a load of information on them.


You may fail to succeed in delivering your presentation because you rush it and refuse to pause. Too many speakers just rush through their presentation, hurtling towards the end as fast as possible.

Well done, you've completely missed your chance to connect with and influence the audience.

Now, I do understand, one you get hit by nerves and a bit of adrenaline, the chances are, you'll sprint to the finish.

Take your time. Use pauses, and silences. You'll seem more confident in your delivery and your entire message will have greater affect on the audience.


If you're really going to mess up all your public speaking opportunities, you should read. Read your notes, read the slides - read anything but the room. If you really want to avoiding success at public speaking, you should read.

First, start with your head down. Don't make eye contact. And preferably read with the most monotonous voice you can muster. Don't pause too much either. They like it if you sound like a work bee droning on.

Without eye contact or a connection to the audience, I doubt they'll even care about what you're speaking about, so read as fast as you can to get it over and done with.

Voila! No one is interested in your presentation at all!


It looks like a pretty safe place, hiding behind that lectern. And it's true, you can hide a bit there. But successful, confident speakers roam their stage area with purpose. There's nothing wrong with standing still, it can be quite powerful and focusing.

However, if you're going to hide behind the lectern, you're going to look like you have something to hide. Body language sends powerful signals during a presentation, so hiding behind some object will massively reduce this helpful form of subliminal communication.

To fail at public speaking, hide yourself away.


Now that I've said that, if you really want the audience to lose focus, wander around the stage without purpose. Rather than standing still and helping the audience to focus, please amble about as if you don't know where to stand. This will guarantee a lack of success in public speaking!


So you want to perform very bad in your public speaking presentation and you want the audience and all of the organisers to really detest you?

I've got a simple solution.

Go over your allotted time. If possible - go WAY over, without adding anything new.

Now if the audience was totally wrapped in what you were saying, they would happily stay a bit longer, but if you're still droning on with your prepared speech and another joyless example in your monotonous voice, then running over will serve to ensure that everyone in the building hates you.

If you want to avoid public speaking success, run over the time you were given.


A friend of mine was recently at a massive global event. Politicians, business leaders, thought leaders from all over the world had gathered to try to make the world a better place.

Her clients decided that they didn't really need to plan their talk.

At a global event.

They want to improvise it.

At a global event.

In front of thousands.

Streamed to more.

At a global event.

Now some speakers can use a very rough outline to present, but they need to know their stuff backwards. And even then you don't do it...

At a



If you want to appear like a clueless nitwit, yes please go to a global event and try to improvise.

By the way, people who do TEDTalks practise for days and days. No one improvises. Well, not unless they want to fail at public speaking.


So if you're desperate to ruin your career as a public speaker before you've begun. If you're sick of influencing and impacting audiences. If you simply hate the idea of people buying your products and services, investing in your company - or voting for you - then yes, you too can work hard to never succeed at public speaking.

Or of course, you can avoid these mistakes and make a massive success of your next opportunity to present. If I can help - get in touch.


AUTHOR: MARK WESTBROOK - Public Speaking Coach Glasgow - Scotland.



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