Avoid A Public Speaking Nightmare This Halloween

By Andrew Ivey | Public Speaking

Oct 29

Everyone wants to avoid a public speaking nightmare this Halloween. In fact it's a good plan to avoid a speech meltdown at any time of year. Because they aren't fun. But, it doesn't have to happen. Because with a few techniques you can overcome most fears of public speaking.

Public speaking nightmare

Avoid A Public Speaking Nightmare This Halloween

Most of us with some experience of giving a conference speech have considered the matter of the backdrop. The staging or the screens on display. Since they really aren't always as strong and resilient as you might expect. It's amazing what you can do with Velcro and double-sided sticky tape. Unfortunately President Obama had a problem with the very same Velcro strips when he gave a speech in 2010.

Fortune Magazine's Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington was the venue for the Obama speech in which the Presidential Seal went missing. Of course he handled it impeccably. But it could have been a real horror…for all the production staff at the conference event.

Conference Public Speaking Nightmare For Prime Minister

Prime Minister Theresa May had a real public speaking nightmare with her conference speech at the Conservative Party Conference in 2017. On that occasion she was hit with a nightmarish triple whammy. First, she lost her voice. Then part of the back staging fell down and there was an intruder in the auditorium. All in all, it was quite a conference ordeal for the Prime Minister.

Beware The Perils Of Autocue Or Teleprompter

As a conference speaker you might also want to have a plan B for autocue. Because it can go wrong. And, when it does, then you should have some notes or a script. A teleprompter freeze really did send this Sarah Palin speech off in all sorts of directions in 2015.

Having the wrong notes or incorrect script is also a bizarre, yet not uncommon, public speaking nightmare. This 2013 communications speech from Vixtoria Hammah in Ghana went totally off the rails when she realised that she had the wrong speech. 

The Wrong Speech Nightmare

But poor Victoria isn't the only one who's had this speech nightmare. India's External Affairs Minister SM Krishna tried to deliver the wrong speech at the United Nations in New York. And, yes, it took a while to work out the problem. Also at the United Nations this 2010 Farsi speech by President Ahmadinejad also suffered a translation nightmare.

However let's hope that all these instances of public speaking nightmares don't put you off. Because everyone involved got through them. And that's more than can be said for the former Mayor of Toronto whose fear of public speaking appeared to help him avoid a speech…when he got stuck in an elevator.

But you can, of course, simply follow these five points to help you avoid a public speaking nightmare this Halloween or at your next conference speech.

Make sure that you are in the best shape for your conference speech. Because it really doesn't take much and you'll avoid a public speaking nightmare.

  • Plan your conference speech well ahead of time
  • Prepare all your materials, slides and videos
  • Practise and keep on practising
  • Speak slowly and don't rush yourself
  • Remember to pause frequently

You can always discover plenty of tips for public speakers with our regular series of tip, hints, podcasts and videos. And, with more than a hundred top tips from which to choose, you should find something just right. Plus, when you are ready to brave the perils of more public speaking, then please don't hesitate to get in touch. Because a well-timed public speaking course or coaching session should be just the ticket.

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About the Author

The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK.

  • […] No doubt you've heard enough speeches to know that you should be fully prepared before a speech. That's why we write out our speeches beforehand, practise those speeches and prepare for the conference venue itself. But, still it can all go horribly wrong. Because public speaking problems do happen. Therefore you want to be prepared and avoid a public speaking nightmare. […]

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