Oops she did it again, Diane Abbott’s Public Speaking Gaffe

top tips on public speaking

Oops she did it again, Diane Abbott makes the wrong impression!

Public Speaking is a skill – here are some tips on how to get it right.

I couldn’t resist the opportunity to chuckle once again at the latest gaffe from Diane Abbott – let’s face it, her appearances are becoming a bit of a comedy sketch.

By no means am I an expert at public speaking, but Ms Abbott couldn’t really have done any worse at her latest speech at the Police Federation Conference this week.  After her first blunder on LBC, talking about police salaries, you’d think she would have done some serious preparation and tried a bit harder to win her audience over – as she was speaking at the Police Federation conference.

Not only did she deliver a pre-written speech in the most rigid, cardboard and uninspiring way – she got lost on stage! If you thought the LBC interview was cringe worthy – Ms Abbott’s speech to the police federation conference is most certainly up there in the cringe stakes – and is a great example for us on how NOT to present yourself.

If you haven’t yet seen her speech, you can watch the best bits here:
Diane Abbott’s Police Federation gaffe

After stumbling around Nick Ferrari’s questions, this time she stumbled around on the stage, got laughs at the wrong moments; and the dreaded jeers – when she refused to endorse the spit hoods that the police are being kitted out with.

Ironically, she was cheered at the Police Federation Conference after walking the wrong way, she accidentally walked towards a wall, and then had to turn back. Having to face the laughs she hadn’t planned in her speech!

Her speech had tried to get a chuckle earlier on, by making a reference to her LBC interview, “She said: “Some of you are saying, ‘If she knows so much how come she fumbled the Nick Ferrari interview?’
“I would only ask which is more newsworthy – Diane Abbott fluffs a line in a radio interview or the fact that homicide is rising and continues to rise?…”

We can now add to that, Diane Abbott gets lost on stage!

A key figure in the Labour campaign, she is trying to rally support for an election win – this is pretty much the biggest job interview she’s going to have – she should be prepared.

So, Diane, can we please give you a few pointers on making a good impression? See below for our top tips on public speaking, engaging your audience and planning your route! :0)

Top tips on successful public speaking

  1. Plan, Plan & Plan
    Plan, plan and plan some more. Not only do you need to know what you’re talking about, you need to make sure your presentation flows logically. Try to bring it to life with stories, examples, and even props, such as images.
    Prepare an outline for your speech to refer to, with key points and reminders, in case you have a mind blank.For inspiration, try watching other great, yet relatable, speakers on video.
    Here are some examples of great public speakers you can learn from.
  2. Accentuate the positive
    Know your strengths and maximise these when you’re presenting, whether it’s making people laugh, you can tell a good story, or you know how clearly break down and explain complex ideas. Focus on the good bits and ramp them up for maximum engagement.
  3. Learn who your audience is
    What do they need from you as a speaker? What can you offer them and why should they listen to you? In your opening remarks strive to relate to them and focus on communicating not just your message, but the reasons why they need and should want to know about it.
  4. Get your ‘presenting head’ on.
    Public speaking is a bit of an act and you’ve got to put on a performance. Practice projecting your voice, think about how you move around the stage, where you look, at someone in the audience, or a point you can focus on easily near the back of the room.. and in the process you might discover some hidden talents.
  5. Get comfortable with the environment
    Something Ms Abbott didn’t do is check out the lay of the land before she arrived! Know where you’re going, where you’re standing, try and get on the stage or in the room before hand just to get a feel for it – and know your surroundings. Make sure you know where to go when you’ve finished. With her frosty reception, I think she wanted to make a run for it and walked into a wall!
  6. Look the part
    When you’re busy preparing what to say, don’t forget how you look! How do you want to be perceived? What impression do you want to make on your audience?
    See our ‘
    fashion in the workplace’ article
  7.  Take a breath & smile
    See Simon’s first tip below – pause. Take a breath – there’s no rush and time does strange things – you’ll start talking more quickly than usual if you’re not careful, and won’t realise your speed talking & Smile – it makes us feel good, and relaxed as well as those around us!
  8. Start with a story
    A bit like a best man’s speech at a wedding, start with a story. It breaks the ice, hopefully sparks people’s interest, and adds another angle to your presentation. A story to refer back to at various points, especially the end also provides a nice circularity to your presentation.
  9. Invite your audience to participate
    If you’re feeling brave – inviting your audience to ask questions, get involved, and give their own examples and even ask you questions – opens out the presentation, and holds people’s interest.
  10. Plan in some recovery time!
    Public speaking can be draining, a bit like an interview, or an exam – after all that preparation and planning – you need some down time. Try and plan it in.See his top tips below for public speaking, Diane – are you listening?!

For further advice, learn from the Professionals – Simon Sinek, is the 3rd most watched public speaker on TED Talks and entrepreneur.com  wrote an article a while back.

Simon Sinek’s tips on how to get public speaking right:

1. Don’t talk right away.

Sinek says you should never talk as you walk out on stage. “A lot of people start talking right away, and it’s out of nerves,” Sinek says. “That communicates a little bit of insecurity and fear.”

Instead, quietly walk out on stage. Then take a deep breath, find your place, wait a few seconds and begin. “I know it sounds long and tedious and it feels excruciatingly awkward when you do it,” Sinek says, “but it shows the audience you’re totally confident and in charge of the situation.”

  1. Show up to give, not to take.

Often people give presentations to sell products or ideas, to get people to follow them on social media, buy their books or even just to like them. Sinek calls these kinds of speakers “takers,” and he says audiences can see through these people right away. And, when they do, they disengage.

“We are highly social animals,” says Sinek. “Even at a distance on stage, we can tell if you’re a giver or a taker, and people are more likely to trust a giver — a speaker that gives them value, that teaches them something new, that inspires them — than a taker.”

  1. Make eye contact with audience members one by one.

Scanning and panning is your worst enemy, says Sinek. “While it looks like you’re looking at everyone, it actually disconnects you from your audience.”

It’s much easier and effective, he says, if you directly look at specific audience members throughout your speech. If you can, give each person that you intently look at an entire sentence or thought, without breaking your gaze. When you finish a sentence, move on to another person and keep connecting with individual people until you’re done speaking.

“It’s like you’re having a conversation with your audience,” says Sinek. “You’re not speaking at them, you’re speaking with them.”

This tactic not only creates a deeper connection with individuals but the entire audience can feel it.

  1. Speak unusually slowly.

When you get nervous, it’s not just your heart beat that quickens. Your words also tend to speed up. Luckily Sinek says audiences are more patient and forgiving than we know.

“They want you to succeed up there, but the more you rush, the more you turn them off,” he says. “If you just go quiet for a moment and take a long, deep breath, they’ll wait for you. It’s kind of amazing.”

Sinek believes it’s impossible to speak

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