Anderson Lopes is a Brazilian striker playing in the Japanese League who became famous over the weekend for a goal celebration. The 25 years old had just scored his second goal on his debut for Consadole Sapporo in Japan. In celebration, he jumped over a barrier, only to discover it was a large drop.

Anderson Lopes celebrates a goal by jumping over a barrier – only to discover a large drop.

The video clip of the accident went viral and Lopes became famous. When I first watched the video, I thought “wow! That’s horrible” but I quickly learnt that he didn’t get injured. In fact, he went ahead to score two more goals.
I bet you, next time Lopes would not attempt to jump over a barrier without knowing for sure what awaits him at the other side of the barrier.

Cause of Major Public Speaking Failures

Like Lopes a lot of people make the mistake of jumping over or into something without knowing what to expect at the other side of the jump.
This is also evident in public speaking, were people jump into giving speeches without knowing what awaits them the moment they land at the stage, facing their audience.

Years back when I was undergoing a diploma programme in Civil Engineering Technology. The school normally held an Annual Inter-departmental oratorical contest. That year I was representing my department in the competition.
During the first round, the participant representing the department of Mechanical Engineering Technology took the spot light for an unfortunate reason like Lopes.
He had walked his way to the stage looking confident, dressed smart and came off as one of those participants that really knew what they would be doing and saying.
Beginning his speech, he started off, frankly, really good but few minutes into his speech he got stuck. It felt like he was reading out his speech from a giant screen and suddenly the screen just disappeared.

For two to three minutes he stood before an audience of 500+ lost, embarrassed and his self-esteem shattered. Although, he tried on numerous attempts to continue with his speech, but failed embarrassingly. He must have memorized his speech and his memory failed him just when he needed it.
At the end he gave up, looking embarrassed he dropped the microphone and walked off the stage with head bowed in share.

Lesson was Learnt

Later that day, I learnt that he was a bright student, in fact, as a result of his grades he was the best in his department. To go out that way must have delivered a bit blow to his ego.
When he came to congratulate me on advancing to the next round, he had not come to terms with the fact that what happened, actually happened in reality. He thought it was just a dream.

It was like he was trying to find out exactly why what happened, happened. He must have thought public speaking was just another jump over a relatively short barrier and he took the jump without knowing for sure what to expect at the other side of the jump.
After taking the jump he then discovered that the jump over the barrier into public speaking (even if it was only in a competition were much was not at stake) was a large drop and he crashed down in embarrassment.

In the end of our conversation that day he surmised that if he had another opportunity at public speaking he would really prepare for it and try to know as much as possible all he need to know before taking the jump again.

What Could Go Wrong?

A lot could go wrong when we jump into giving a speech without being thoroughly prepared. The consequence could be as small as the wounding of our ego or as grave as the tarnishing of our image/reputation.

“I recently attended a conference on matters high tech in the UK. Good conference overall, but one speaker was so awesomely bad that the experience nearly killed me and the audience. I find bad speaking depressing. But insincere bad speaking is execrable”

Nick Morgan “How to give a horrible speech

When people jump into public speaking without knowing and preparing for what lays at the other side of the jump failure in landing is inevitable. In the jump into public speaking, failure in landing is the delivering of a bad speech. Whether it implies that you walk up to the stage only to forget what you intend saying or that you delivered your speech in a manner that is execrable to your audience: a bad speech is a bad speech.

Phil Davison and One of the Worst Speech of All Time

Public speaking is very critical for career, leadership and entrepreneurial success. Take a look around, who are the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders and how good are they in public speaking? Majority of them, if not all are really good at public speaking because public speaking was critical for their success. The likes of Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, King Jnr., JFK among others were and are excellent public speakers.
It is important to note that all these successful entrepreneurs and great leaders didn’t start out as excellent speakers. They acquired the skill of public speaking because they understand it is critical for their success.

Bad Public Speaking Preventable

What happened to Anderson Lopes was of course an accident; he didn’t know that the drop at the other side of the barrier was a large drop. It’s not that he was stupid or blind. After all, it was his first game in that stadium.
It’s easy to sit back and say what he should have or shouldn’t have done but the fact still remain, if he had known he wouldn’t have at least jump in the manner he did.

Therefore, knowing the ins and outs of public speaking and “preparing well” for every speech prevents a speaker from giving her audience an execrable experience. It could potentially open ways for promotion and boost the chances at success for leaders and entrepreneurs.
Like the Participant for the oratorical competition surmised; next time if you want to jump into delivering a speech do yourself a favor; know exactly what you are jumping into. And be prepared thoroughly before taking the jump.

Recommended Resources

  1. Article: Tips on ‘How to Prepare for an Outstanding Speech
  2. Article: How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking
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