In one of the thousands of books on Public Speaking, the author stated that 90% of all presentations, speeches, and meetings being held every day in North America are bad. I don’t know about the accuracy of such a statistic; however, it might not be that far off. I know I have sat through hundreds of bad presentations.
The majority of Speakers (maybe 90%) think they are excellent speakers! Clearly, there is a disconnect if most speakers think they are good and most audiences think the speaker is bad. Are you one of those? How do you know?
I watch 2-3 speeches a day on the Internet and attend 10-15 per month. I analyze every one through the eyes of an audience member, the speaker, and in context of the occasion. There are many of excellent speakers out there; unfortunately, there are a lot of bad ones too. I am not critical of the bad ones because as someone much smarter than me pointed out, all good speakers were bad speakers at one point. The danger is being bad and thinking you are good.
If so, how can you ever get better? In my observations, the disconnect is rooted in the following: often the speaker thinks that if he/she entertained, then he/she is good. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Just because the audience likes you doesn’t mean you communicated your message. Maybe your style is entertaining; however, does the audience walk out of there knowing what you intended them to know?
Are you approaching Public Speaking as a Communication Event or a Performance? What does the occasion require? If you didn’t ask those questions, you may be one of the bad presenters. The good news is you can be an excellent presenter, and not only in your own mind—really.