Common Public Speaking Mistakes

Public Speaking pic

Public Speaking

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.


Upstream and Other Core Business Operations at Shell

Shell pic


A graduate of Yale University, David Lawrence is a geologist with decades of experience, primarily working in the oil and energy industry with Shell. As executive vice president of exploration and commercial, David Lawrence oversaw Shell Upstream Americas’ energy exploration, LNG, wind, gas to transport, gas to liquids, and acquisition and divestment efforts.

Founded in 1907, Royal Dutch Shell is a global oil and energy company that works to meet international energy demand. The organization operates in more than 70 countries, achieving annual revenue of over $260 billion and employing an average of 93,000 employees. Shell operates through four core businesses which include Upstream, Downstream, Integrated Gas and New Energies, and Projects and Technology.

Upstream is the business responsible for efforts to find new energy resources through exploration, the development of new projects and the production of oil and gas. The Downstream business focuses on refining crude oil so that it can be used by consumers. Similarly, the Integrated Gas and New Energies business liquified, distributes, and markets natural gas for consumer use. Lastly, the Projects and Technology business is the research and development arm of Shell, focusing its efforts on innovation and the development of energy-sector projects.

Shell and Southern Liquefaction Co.’s Collaboration on Elba Island

Now leading the Lawrence Energy Group, David Lawrence has significant experience as an executive for Shell Oil’s exploration, development, LNG, Wind, and commercial projects. David Lawrence was Executive Vice President overseeing Shell’s combined development project with Southern Liquefaction Co., a unit of Kinder Morgan, to transport LNG from Elba Island near Savannah, Georgia.

LNG refers to liquefied natural gas, which results when natural gas is supercooled. This process shrinks the volume 600 times, making it easier to transport and store.

Mr. Lawrence was involved in Shell’s plans with Kinder Morgan’s Southern Liquefaction Co. to build a new LNG facility in two phases at Elba Island. The project was designed to enable the transportation of natural gas to the plant and transfer LNG to ships for export.

In phase one, the facility was projected to process some 1.5 million tons per year (tpy) of LNG. The second part of the project would increase that capacity to 2.5 tpy. The terminal’s owners have received permission from the U.S. Department of Energy to increase LNG exports to free trade countries and have submitted an application to export to and non-free trade nations.

In July, 2015 Kinder Morgan, Inc. and Shell announced that they reached an agreement for Kinder Morgan to purchase 100 percent of Shell’s equity interest in Elba Liquefaction Company, LLC (ELC), the owner of the Elba Liquefaction Project.