In speaking, whenever we make mistakes or break the 7 non-negotiable rules, there are going to be consequences. However, falling into the trap of doing one of the seven deadly sins of public speaking could kill your career as a speaker.

Referencing the Bible, we will review the seven deadly sins and show you how they apply to the world of speaking.

1. Pride

Pride is the desire to be more important or attractive to others or to have and express excessive love of ourselves.

When a speaker is full of pride, which means placing too much focus on oneself and not the audience, it results in the speaker being unable to build rapport and connect with the audience.

Unfortunately, when a speaker thinks they are so good that they do not need any training, they end up ignorant, arrogant, and conceited about their speaking ability. When a speaker is full of pride they cannot see how to improve, and they continually justify how great a speaker they are. But it is a trap. Pride can actually be a sign of low self-esteem instead of confidence.

The major consequence of the deadly sin of pride is an ineffective speech that can turn off your audience instead of inspiring them. Be aware of pride and do not let it sneak in your presentation. Stay humble.

2. Envy (Jealousy)

Envy or jealousy is hating other people for what they have. This sin occurs when one thinks he/she should have more even if it means someone else should have less.

Envy comes into play when a speaker is jealous of another speaker to the point where they want the other speaker’s speaking spot. They may even try to steal a spot or undermine another from speaking so that they can speak.

For example, if a speaker comments to an event organizer, “Oh, that speaker is no good, why don’t you let me speak instead,” that statement could very well come from jealousy instead of fact.” Speaking badly about another speaker to make oneself look better in the eye of the listener is an act of jealousy. It is hurtful and destructive.

We want to lift each other up as speakers and encourage each other. Give other speakers a “bravo” or “excellent job” when you hear them speak even if it’s a two-minute speech. Not only will that lift them up, but it will lift you up too. We always get what we give.

Consequently, when a person tries to destroy another person, it destroys oneself.

Always remember that you have a message to share that only you can share, and it has nothing to do with anyone else. Stay focused. Put blinders on if find yourself getting distracted by jealous thoughts. Get your job done, in your space, and get to your finish line.

3. Wrath

Wrath is having inappropriate feelings of hatred, revenge, or even denial.

If a speaker deliberately leaves out people, or information with a mean intention, this is a sample of wrath (or punishment). When you see this kind of ruthlessness going on from the stage, get up and leave.

You do not need to be beaten up, bullied, or put down. If you see this going on or experience this, know that you are in the wrong place with the wrong people. Instead, surround yourself with people who love you, want you, and nurture you. This is the antidote to wrath.

If someone cheated you out of speaking time, what are you going to do? When another speaker goes overtime, or an event is running late, and/or when an organizer comes to you and says, “I’m sorry, but we have to cut your time,” how are you going to respond?

Humble, kind, and gracious. Chances are the organizer will make it up to you or some good will come from somewhere else. You will get what is rightfully yours if you stay in love, kindness, and grace.

4. Gluttony

Gluttony is wasting food either through eating too much food, drink, or drugs, misplaced desire for food for it taste, or not giving food to the needy. It is a form of selfishness and hoarding.

A speaker who takes more time than they are given demonstrates the sin of gluttony. Also, wasting time while speaking by not giving useful content is another example of speaker gluttony. Hoarding their own content does not serve the audience and it will not serve the speaker either. Give your knowledge freely.

5. Lust

Lust is unlawful sexual desire such as desiring sex with a person outside marriage.

Translating the sin of lust to a speaker it would look like wanting something that is not yours and acting on it. When male speakers call their female audience members honey, darling, sweetie, and touch them too much or lean on them is a great demonstration of the sin of lust.

Another example of speaker lust is when a speaker desires what another speaker has like their audience, talents, looks, or engagements. This can play out when a speaker goes after these desires by copying another speaker’s lines, signature moves, or even going after their assistant or booking agent are all an act of lust. Lust does not look good on anyone.

6. Sloth

Sloth is laziness, idleness, and wastefulness of time a person has.

Relating this sin to speaking is when a speaker does not put in the appropriate time to practice their presentation. A speaker cannot grow in their craft if they are not doing the work like practicing enough and spending time developing their speech. If a speaker is lazy about preparing and wings their speech, it will show and so will their results.

Professional speakers plan, prepare, and practice. Honor thy gifts, do the work, and it will pay off.

7. Greed

Greed is when somebody wants more than the person needs or can use. A good example is too much love of money and power.

A speaker might be acting out of greed when they find themselves accepting more and more speaking engagements than is manageable just because they feel they want more. The speaker who takes those engagements may not even care about the audience, topic, or event. This results in taking away an opportunity for someone who would have really loved it and been more grateful for the opportunity. Greed can make a speaker too preoccupied with accumulating speaking engagements and less concerned with giving a great speech. To avoid falling into this sin, evaluate what speaking opportunities are in alignment with you and your topic. Let others have those that are not a good fit for you.

Bottom line: Be clear, kind, generous, grateful, productive, and avoid these seven deadly sins of public speaking.

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