3 deadly sins of public speaking

Speaking in public is not everybody’s cup of tea. Nevertheless, it is important to avoid the worst mistakes.

1. Provocation
Even when subject to a personal attack, e.g. during a company meeting, you must react confidently and objectively, choosing your words carefully. People in leadership roles must avoid fits of rage.

2. Controversies and insults
There is nothing wrong with a heated discussion as long as specific rules are observed. One of these rules states: “Be hard but fair towards others”. Belittling other people does not make you bigger. In fact, the opposite is true. Inspiring others to become great makes you greater still.

3. Polarizing instead of assimilating
Good speakers help the other side to save face. They listen, show understanding and emphasize areas of common ground. As Indira Gandhi rightly said: “You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” You should avoid highlighting disagreements and making your differences even clearer as a result. All this does is split your audience.

Gerhard Reichel

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