Yale graduate and energy industry professional David Lawrence is the former executive vice president of exploration and commercial for Shell Upstream Americas in Houston, Texas. Recently, David Lawrence of Shell delivered a well received keynote speech and panel discussion on the energy transition at a multi-day event hosted by the University of Wyoming.
Speaking to a large audience at an organized event requires skill in order to do well, and those who are inexperienced or unpracticed tend to make certain common but avoidable mistakes. One of the easiest yet most preventable mistakes that speakers make is delivering a speech that has not been rehearsed. Reciting the speech several times prior to a speaking engagement can help individuals reduce anxiety by feeling better prepared and therefore sounding more confident.
Another common mistake that inexperienced speakers make is reading a speech verbatim, rather than using keyword prompts to drive the speech forward. Reading text not only makes a speech sound less sincere and more monotone, but also limits the amount of eye contact that a speaker can make with the audience. Eye contact is an especially important component of delivering a great speech, as it helps audience members feel more engaged with the speaker and inspires a feeling similar to that experienced during a two-way conversation.