On some level, speaking is easy. You get in front of a group and start talking. However, being a great speaker requires some information, practice, and work. Speaking is a skill like any other. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can be improved.
In my experience, one of the biggest mistakes speakers make is to focus exclusively on their content.
Content is important. Let’s get that out right up front. Content matters, and in most cases, it matters more than delivery. You can have the greatest speaking skills in the world, but if you are not delivering good, valuable content to your audience, then you will get nowhere.
However, this is not to say that you can ignore your delivery skills. The best content in the world will fall on deaf ears if you can’t deliver it well.
Unfortunately, when most people prepare speeches they focus 99% of their time on their content. They give very little, if any consideration to how they will deliver that content. This is a huge mistake.
Make sure your content is great, but spend some time thinking about how you will deliver that content. Work on your tone, movement, and connection with your audience. If you happen to be in an environment where you can’t get up and practice out loud (if you are on a plane on the way to a presentation, for example) then run through your presentation in your head, but pay particular attention to the deliver.
A little bit of prep on this area can make sure your great content is actually listened to by your audience, which is the whole reason you are speaking in the first place.