The more you speak and communicate the better you can get at doing it. But on the flip side, the more ingrained bad habits of communication can become. If you speak for a living, which I do (larger crowds, small groups and one to one), you need to always be working on your speaking skills. Maybe you video tape yourself to watch it, or record yourself to listen to, but a good communicator is always looking to improve. Here are 5 of the biggest bad habits that a communicator can have. These aren't the only habits, but these are the most egregious.
Bad Habit #1 - Reading From The Script
This is also one of the top five mistakes that CEOs around the world commit. The main culprit is comfort. A script gives the speaker a false sense of security. They think that with a script, they won’t have to memorize anything. And even better, they won’t have to engage their audience since they are busy listening to him read.
Unfortunately, we all know that that’s not the case. When you read from a script, you are forced to sound monotone. You will scare the audience with your bobbing head and worse, you give people the feeling that you are reading someone else words.
So what’s the solution?
Stop reading your script! But that doesn’t mean you should not have a script. In fact, I strongly recommend you to have one but it should be written like you are speaking. So instead of formal writing like “Scientists from the Harvard University have discovered that when a speaker incorporates emotive words into their speeches, they have a 90% chance of influencing the audience to their way of thinking”, you can make it more conversational like “I was just reading this scientific article and I learnt that if you use emotive words to communicate, you will have a higher chance of influencing your audience to your way of thinking… how cool is that!”
But I don’t have a very good memory, how will I be able to remember everything? Well, you don’t have to. With a clear structure, there isn’t really a need to memorize word for word. All you need to do is to remember your key points and how to flow from one point to another. This will give you room to improvise and engage the audience as well.
And if you really have to read from the script, here’s how you should do it to ensure you still engage your audience.
It’s call the See, Stop, Say approach recommended by James C Hume. author of Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln.
Here’s the rule of thumb - never ever speak when your eyes are on your script.
First, look down and take a snapshot of your script. Memorize a chunk of words. Bring your head up and then pause for a second. When you are ready, say what you have memorized in your own words. It’s a three-step process: see, stop and say. It is very important that you pause. Yes, it may be weird for you but in reality, the pause helps make your speech conversational. It also creates anticipation, which further deepen the impact.
Here are the other bad habits...
Bad Habit #2 - Winging It
Bad Habit #3 - Beating Around The Bush
Bad Habit #4 - Failing To Do Your Research
Bad Habit #5 - Too Many Uhh and Urms
Read the full post here:The Public Speaking Blog
(HT: The Public Speaking Blog )