Growing up in eastern South Dakota means one thing when it comes to professional sports - we usually follow the Minnesota teams. This is not always the case (I'm actually a Denver Broncos fan) but you will see a lot of purple and gold during the football season and the Minnesota Twins are our adopted baseball franchise.
This means that Sunday was not a good day for eastern South Dakota. My twitter feed was filled with a variety of people commenting on the Vikings and their eventual demise. I am pretty sure that the productivity in this state and in Minnesota is not going to be very high this week.
While checking out the game stats I noticed something - the Vikings actually dominated the game. Let's take a look:
Stat Minn NO
1st Downs 31 15
Total Yards 475 257
Time of possession 36:49 27:56
Inside Red-Zone 6 3
Turnovers 5 1
If you ignore the turnover stat for the moment and just focus on the first four, you would have to say that the Vikings won the game. They dominated in yards gained, first downs, time of possession and had twice as many opportunities in the Red-Zone as the Saints did. If you do that in a football game, 99% of the time you are going to win. However, it is the final stat that brought down the Vikings. If you turn the ball over 4 more times than your opponent, you will lose 99% of the time.
It was when looking at this that I had a thought about public speaking. As public speakers, we can do a lot of things correct. We can work on our speeches for hours, we can practice over and over again and we can have a flawless presentation - however, it is the big mistakes that can cost us. I'm not talking about having to be perfect when giving a speech, but the more mistakes that we make during a presentation, the less likely it will be a success.
All of us make mistakes when speaking. However, it is avoiding huge mistakes (like having to rely on a projector and then having it not work - or having a really horrible slide) that are important. The Vikings made some mistakes - a penalty here and there or a missed opportunity. Those mistakes didn't cost them the game, much like small mistakes won't hurt your speech very much. It is the big mistakes that you want to avoid.
So, the next time you are getting ready to give a speech, make sure you are prepared to avoid the big mistakes: too much text on your slides, having to rely on your slides or not practicing to name a few. If you do this, you can be successful.