Procrastination can be deadly to your career no matter which field you are in. In fact, it can literally be deadly in some cases. So why do so many people procrastinate? Well, there are two common reasons: 1. they associate some sort of discomfort towards the thing they have to do & 2. they have other things they’d rather be doing. So given that so many folks feel discomfort just at the thought of speaking to groups, it should come as no surprise that not adequately preparing for a speech is the most common (and most harmful) public speaking mistake.
Preparing for a talk is a lot of work. You need to research your topic, write your speech and then practice and tweak it. So it’s very easy for this task to either slip through the cracks or only get a half-hearted effort. And that half-hearted effort often results in a sub-par talk which just reinforces the speakers’ discomfort with public speaking. So how can you avoid this trap? Simply realize the costs of not preparing and compare them with the benefits of preparing.
The costs of not preparing are immense. You could fall flat on your face (sometimes in the literal sense) and look bad. When you don’t prepare, you open yourself to following potential problems:
- Forgetting parts of your talk.
- Inability to answer questions.
- Coming across as lazy or unintelligent.
- Technical problems.
As you can see, these can all be detrimental to both your career and your reputation. On the flip side, taking the time to properly prepare yields the following benefits:
- Increased confidence in your presentation and your material.
- A much smoother flow to your talk and better overall presentation performance.
- The ability to shine and connect with the audience.
- The ability to deal with unexpected technical issues.
While it does take time and effort to properly prepare for a speech, as you can see the benefits definitely outweigh the potential problems. Not sure how to properly prepare for a talk, then contact me — I’d be happy to help you.
James Feudo owns the Boston Web Design Agency JVF Solutions and loves blogging about personal development and communication in his spare time.