5 Common Mistakes That Can Derail Your Speaking Success

Excellent presentation skills are critical to every entrepreneur's and experts' success. At least the ones that want to share their message effectively in front of an audience.


At its most basic level, effective speaking is about communicating your message with clarity and persuasion.


Whether your audience is one person in a meeting, ten people in a boardroom, or 100 in an auditorium, connecting and being compelling with your presentations are your chance to solidify your expertise with an audience and your relationship with the host of the events you speak at.


So why do so many good people give so many bad presentations? What are some of the mistakes and pitfalls that we need to stay away from and how can they be avoided or fixed?


This is what I want to highlight this week: teaching you the mistakes that can derail your speaking success, and how to fix this so you can become more effective in sharing your ideas on a stage in front of an audience.


Mistake #1: Not Being Choosy


When I first started out as a speaker I spoke on any and all stages that would have me. I created speeches on any topics people wanted me to speak on.


There were two problems with this approach:

  1. People didn’t know what my expertise was. They were confused about my message. They didn’t understand what I stood for.
  2. As a result, while my speeches were engaging and entertaining, they were not connecting or converting.


If your goal is to practice speaking in front of an audience then speaking to any and all audiences is not necessarily a bad thing. However, if as an expert or entrepreneur you want to showcase your authority on a subject matter and move your audience into your paid services and programs, I suggest you not make the same mistake I made.


The fix:

Be laser-focused when deciding whose platform you’ll speak on. Be choosy about the stages you pitch yourself to and the invitations you say yes to.


The clearer you are on who is in your audience the easier it will be to find the places they hang out in. Start building a relationship and reach out to the host or event planner that hosts the podcast, virtual summit, or in-person event your ideal client would pay attention to. 


The magic of this is that you don’t need a large audience to have high conversion. When you are speaking on the right stage to the right audience.


Mistake #2: Not doing your research


I have seen this happen many times. The speaker shows up on stage and you can tell they are clueless as to who is sitting in the audience; they have not done thorough research on the host of the platform and its audience.


There was an event I attended where the speaker kept referring to the audience as corporate professionals. 99% of the audience was made up of female entrepreneurs.


Saying he missed the mark would be a gross understatement.


I’ve also seen speakers who step on stage and it’s clear that they don’t know much about the host or event organizer.


Not cool.


When somebody is giving you an opportunity to speak to an audience they most likely spent years building and nurturing, take the time to get to know them.


The fix: 

Do your research. Make sure you dig a little and learn some things about the person that invited you to their stage. Learn about their audience and what they need help with.


The more you know about the host the more value you can deliver to them and their audience. Always make sure you make your host look like a rock star in front of their audience.


That not only earns you extra points with them but will make you look great in front of the audience as well.


Mistake #3: Not using stories strategically


If you’ve been around for a while you know how much I talk about the importance of stories. There are several articles where I talk about how to use stories in your business. So, we already established the importance of stories, especially in a presentation.


However, it’s not enough to just tell stories. You want to use the right stories and use them strategically.


The fix: 

Always share relevant stories. In my Speak To Scale Academy, there’s a framework I teach called the “Signature Story Map”. In that framework, I teach my students not only how to craft and create their signature stories but also what other types of stories need to show up in their presentation and how to place those strategically.


Here’s one helpful point: any time you use a concept to support your thesis, also use stories to help people understand the data or ideas you just shared. This will help people remember more easily the concept you are sharing.


Mistake #4: Making it all about you


While many people don’t make this mistake consciously, they still make the mistake. In the process of showing up and speaking in front of an audience, it’s easy to make the presentation all speaker-focused.


We make this mistake in several ways: we either prepare a topic that our audience doesn’t really understand or want to hear about or we make our business the highlight of the presentation.


Either one misses the mark.


The fix: 

Make the presentation audience-focused. One of the easiest places to start in order to make this happen is to know what your audience needs! Having a clear understanding of what they struggle with, what they are interested in learning and what simple solutions they need. 


When you understand your audience better it also makes your preparation process much easier.


Keep in mind, you are here to serve your audience. You can never go wrong with approaching your presentation efforts from that angle.


Mistake #5: Winging it


There is a massive difference between speaking for entertainment and speaking for high impact. If you want to speak in a way that moves people into action and decision-making, you can’t just wing your presentation. 


Perhaps you’ve experienced this on your own skin. 


Maybe you’ve had several opportunities to speak on a variety of stages. And you felt like your natural speaking ability carried you through. 


But after you stepped off the stage (or away from your computer screen) you … started to second guess your presentation. Maybe you forgot to share KEY points and stories. Perhaps you got a lot of claps but no clients. There’s a reason for that.


You were not following a proven framework.


You don't need to wonder if your next talk will be a homerun ...


The fix: 

Follow a proven structure. What you really need is a simple and repeatable structure for how to build a highly entertaining and converting talk.  You want to use your words, expressions and body language with intention. They all have to work together in harmony. 


When you have a good flow to your presentation, with one piece building on another, your speech suddenly becomes effortless as well as it will feel like a home run every single time.


Do you want to ensure your success any time you get a chance to speak in front of an audience?



When you are ready to take your presentation to a higher level, I would love to guide you in building momentum towards your speaking career by joining my mini-workshop with my good friend, Jenaye Merida, a Marketing & PR Strategist.


In this mini-workshop you’ll learn how to turn every speaking opportunity - whether it’s on a physical or virtual stage, Facebook or Instagram live, or a guest appearance on a podcast or media outlet - into a lead-generating superpower for your business.


For only $57, The Strategic Speaker Workshop includes everything you need to 

  • gain more leads
  • build your audience and ultimately
  • sell out your signature offers


In just 90 minutes we help you:

  • Learn the presentation formula that WOWs any audience
  • Use a proven method for getting people in the audience on your email list (with one simple step)
  • Know exactly how to pitch yourself to the "best for you" stages and in the RIGHT way


Register and get instant access, watch the 90-minute workshop, and walk away with your money-making presentation strategies completely planned!






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