This morning I read a very concise blog post by Paul Sloane called The Eight Worst Mistakes that Keynote Speakers Make. I attended a dreadful keynote in 2016 by a speaker charging a fee between $ 10,000 and $20,000 and that frustrating experience sparked my speak-the-rainbow blog. So I was curious if my ideas could add insight to the eight mistakes Paul outlined in his post. Below is my view on how a rainbow of emotion, energy, joy, hope, vision, depth, and soul can correct the eight points in Paul’s excellent article.
1. A Weak Start. You can correct this with more YELLOW. Come on stage with the joy of speaking in public firmly in mind. Repeat “great, great, great” until you smile to boost your mindset and belief. Start sunny with a warm “Thank You” for your host or organizer. Use a self-deprecating comment to get a laugh. Make a witty callback to something that has happened during the day or in a previous speech… (purple intuition helps here!) or relate a cheerful personal story that will make the audience relax and like you. Start big; start bold; start like the bright shining yellow star you are!
2. Over-use of PowerPoint. Excessive use of PowerPoint is an overreliance on INDIGO and signals you are ignoring the six other colors in your rainbow. Too much depth can bury your audience under a data dump or avalanche of statistics. You need to step back and think about how you can add all the other colors into both your slides and your speech.
3. No Clear Message. This signals a poor use of INDIGO structure. Your speech will shine better when the structure is clear. Look at your speech and make sure there is a hook and anchor. Also remember to use other colors like red and green to connect and widen your message’s appeal: Green is a call to action for the future; Red is an emotional example which can illustrate the message and make it memorable.
4. No Human Interest. You need more RED. Stories will bring the human element into your speech as will simply speaking about your passion, fears, anger, and any of the other red emotional drivers. As Carmen Simon says, “people don’t act on reason alone; they act on reason and emotion.” Use red emotions and you will connect more colorfully with your audience.
5. Lack of Enthusiasm. Time to have some Vitamin C and bring more ORANGE to your speech, movements, and voice. You cannot inspire without an orange fire. Imagine you are a tiger and command the stage with grace and power; move like a tiger; use your vocal range to roar and purr like one too.
6. Too much Me and not enough You. This means you have too much BLUE and need more GREEN. As Paul says in his post a simple trick is to begin by comparing the number of times you say I or we/you. Remember blue radiates everytime you say “I” and you may be giving your audience too much of this color. Rebalancing your rainbow with “We/you” will signal you care about your audience and they will connect better with you.
7. No Rehearsal. This is an amateur mistake to make. The ONLY CORRECTION for this is Rehearsal with a capital R. And you should bring more YELLOW joy into your are approach to public speaking which should begin well before you speak. ENJOY the process and you will enjoy speaking more. Enjoy all the work/fun that goes into preparing successfully (showing up early to check microphones and projectors etc) and you will enjoy greater connections with your audience.
8. Overrunning on Time. You need to connect with your PURPLE soul and FEEL your audience’s pain when you go over time! A connected speaker can sense when it’s time to finish as the audience will be showing signs and practically yelling for you to stop. Listen! And if you do stop magically before the allotted time, your audience will thank you and connect with you better in the cocktail afterwards. Hogging the limelight signals you lack empathy with your audience’s soul.
Clearly rainbow speaking offers insight into how to address these eight mistakes. Use the rainbow and you will see these errors disappear from your speaking habits. With this excellent advice in mind, I am sure we will make our best speeches ever in 2017!