Category Archives: Presentation Skills

Presentation Skills

17 Effective Public Speaking Tips to Improve Your Speaking Skills

17 Effective Public Speaking Tips and Tricks
public speaking

When you think of impressive public speakers, they have their passion for their topic.

So the most important thing you can do is to get fired up about your topic. Find an angle that excites you, and the rest will come.

Here are the 17 Effective Public Speaking Tips that can help you get much better for your next presentation:

  1. Define Your End Goal
    The first thing to do when preparing a speech is to define your end goal. What do you want the audience to do after they leave the room? What information should they walk away with?
  2. Be a Giver, Not a Taker
    Once you’ve defined your end goal, build a presentation that offers real value to your audience, regardless of whether they pursue your product or service. Make any business pitches subtle and at the end of your presentation.
  3. Make Slides an Aid, Not a Crutch
    The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association recommends using keywords, instead of sentences or paragraphs on your slides. This helps your audience focus on your message.
    PowerPoint Do’s and Don’ts
    Use legible type size.
    Be brief.
    Use key words to help audience focus on your message.
    Enhance readability.
    Make every word and image count.
    Limit the number of slides.
    Don’t overuse special effects.
    Don’t use more than eight words per line or eight lines per slide.
    Don’t use too many words or include non-essential information.
    Avoid hard-to-read color combinations.
  4. Practice (But Really, Practice)
    Maybe you’ve rehearsed your presentation by yourself, but haven’t run it by anyone else.
    Make sure you’re practicing your presentation in front of several groups of people.
    Ask for honest, critical feedback on the good, the bad, and the ugly of your presentation.
  5. Eat Well & Burn Cortisol
    Eating a protein-packed snack before a public speaking engagement boosts your energy, focus, and mood. Exercise one to three hours before you speak. You’ll feel less stressed and your audience will benefit from your focus.
  6. Meet Audience Members First
    It’s always a good idea to meet a few of your audience members before taking the stage.
    This is a great way to calm pre-presentation jitters.
  7. Give Yourself Time to Acclimate
    Many speakers begin talking immediately after being introduced or walking onstage. Instead, try approaching the stage in silence. This gives you time to gather your thoughts, take a deep breath, and get used to being in front of the audience.
  8. Don’t Open with an Excuse
    Don’t begin your presentation with an excuse. That makes the time about you, when it should be about your audience and how you can provide value to them.
  9. Be Conversational
    How do you make the most of that first few seconds of your presentation? First, be conversational. Use inflection in your voice and engage in natural, friendly body language.
  10. Rejoice in the First Mistake
    I wouldn’t recommend calling out the first mistake you make in front of your audience. Simply acknowledge your first mistake and view it as permission to relax and move on with your presentation.
  11. Tell Stories & Make It Personal
    Your audience is more likely to remember and share the stories you tell than the stats and figures you pack your slides with. Make your presentation personal, and remind them that you’re human.
  12. Channel Nervous Energy into Positive Energy
    If you’re not excited about your presentation, why would your audience be? One way to channel excitement into your public speaking is to transform nervous energy into positive energy.
  13. Speak Slowly & Pause Often
    Speaking slowly make it easier for your audience to understand. Routinely pause during your presentation can allow you to refocus and get attention from the audience.
  14. Repeat Audience Questions
    Try to repeat audience questions. It gives everyone a chance to hear what was asked. Repeating audience questions unsure that you’ve understood what the question is and give you an extra few moments to gather your thoughts.
  15. Reinforce Key Points
    Repeating key points at multiple times throughout your presentation helps your audience retain what’s most important.
  16. Use Video & GIFs Sparingly
    When appropriate, throw in a GIF or video. But make sure it aids in your storytelling, instead of distracting from it. A truly engaging public speaker will be able to present impactfully without gimmicks.
  17. Always End Early & Say Thanks
    Whether your audience gave you five minutes of their attention or an hour, end early and say, “Thank you.” Be respectful and always end early especially if you’re expecting a longer Q&A period.

Check here to download the shorter version of 17 Effective Public Speaking Tips and Tricks in pdf format for your easy reference.

Public speaking is an art, and one that can take years to perfect. Join Toastmasters and find a club that you like to practise your speeches in a friendly environments. You are welcome to visit our Kampong Ubi Toastmasters Club if you are living in Singapore.



Public Speaking Tips: Common Presentation Mistakes

Public Speaking Tips: Common Presentation Mistakes You Should Avoid

Public Speaking

Public speaking can be daunting.

Public speaking is the number one fear for a large majority of people. To share the message you desire to get out there you need to be good in your presentation.

Do you rely too heavily on notes when speaking?
Do you avoid eye contact?
Learn how to steer clear of some common speaking mistakes that might alienate an audience…

Here are some common presentation mistakes that you should avoid when speaking:

7 common mistakes to avoid when giving a presentation

Public Speaking Mistake #1 – Being Unprepared
Preparation is key for an effective presentation.

Public Speaking Mistake #2 – Not Knowing Your Audience
Tailor your presentation for relevance to your audience.

Public Speaking Mistake #3 – Not Having Clear Points
Give your audience a simple take away from your message by breaking it up into smaller points.

Public Speaking Mistake #4 – Over Dependence On Visuals
Don’t let your audience be victims of death by powerpoint!

Public Speaking Mistake #5 – Not Getting Honest Feedback
The simplest method to improve your presentation skills is to ask for feedback.

Bonus Tip #1: Not Having Your Timing Right
Comedians will tell you that the perfect joke relies more on timing than content.

Bonus Tip #2: Not Having A ‘Plan B’
What if…
… your opening line falls flat, the microphone fails, or you are constantly interrupted?
Create a contingency plan for a few worst case scenarios.
Don’t let your message be muted.

Youtube Video: Common Speaking Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some additional common speaking mistakes that you should avoid when doing your presentations:

1. Hiding from the audience.
2. Reading from your notes.
3. Offending your audience.
4. Not knowing your audience.
5. Obscuring your message.

For details, check out the below video about Speaking Mistakes to Avoid.

13 Additional Public Speaking Mistakes You Never Want to Make from Business Insider

1. Not tailoring your message to your audience
“Talk to a man about himself and he will listen for hours.”
“On the other hand, if you don’t talk to your audience about themselves, they most likely won’t listen.”

2. Eye dart
“From beginners to veterans, the majority of speakers fail to maintain meaningful, sustained eye contact with their listeners.
To visually connect, maintain eye contact for at least two to three seconds per person, or long enough to complete a full phrase or sentence.”

3. Distracting mannerisms
“There are at least 20 common tics to tackle, including: clenching or wringing your hands, pacing back and forth, keeping your hands in pockets, jingling change or keys, twisting your ring, gripping the lectern, licking your lips, adjusting your hair or clothing, fidgeting with a pen, bobbing your head, placing your arms behind your back, and touching your face.
As a remedy, record yourself speaking and watch the playback.”

4. Low energy
“A boring delivery — evidenced by a low monotone voice, dull facial expressions, and overall lethargy — is their most disliked trait.”
“To avoid losing your audience in a New York minute, crank up the energy level,” says Price. “Speak expressively, smile sincerely, move naturally, and enjoy the moment.”

5. Not rehearsing
Most proficient presenters prepare. “That is, they know the topic, organize their content, design a slide deck, and study their notes,” Price says.
“This bad habit results in the audience seeing and hearing the unrefined run-through, versus the finessed final performance.”

6. Data dumping
“Ditch the habit of data dumping. It loses the audience and undermines your innate ability to inspire, connect, and persuade.”

7. Not inspiring
“An engaging, memorable, and persuasive presentation is balanced with both information and inspiration.”
“It speaks to the head and the heart, leveraging both facts and feelings.”

8. Lack of pauses
“Many speakers have the bad habit of rushing through their content.”
“The three times you definitely want to pause include: before and after you say something very important which you want your audience to remember; before and after you transition from one key talking point to the next; and between your opening, main body, and closing.”

9. Not crafting a powerful opening
“The beginning is the most important part of the work.
So, open with a bang. Invest the thought, time and effort to craft and memorize the most important part of the work.”

10. Using too much (or not enough) humor
“You don’t want your presentation to be dry and boring, but you also don’t want to come off like you’re trying too hard to be a stand-up comedian.
A good rule of thumb is to be yourself, and infuse a bit of humor when appropriate.”

11. Reading from your slides
“The people watching your presentation can read, so giving them the exact same information verbally and visually can be boring and insulting.
Use slides as visual signposts for the points you’re making rather than a written version or summary of those points.”

12. Making an excuse or an apology
“Making an excuse or an apology sets a negative tone and gives people a reason to think your presentation was underwhelming.”

13. Ending with Q&A
“It’s fine to invite the audience’s comments and questions; however, be sure to end strong.”
“Craft an effective three-part closing where you deliver a strong summary; present a call-to-action; and conclude with a powerful closing statement.”

Need more public speaking mistakes to avoid?

Here are the Top 10 Presentation Mistakes mentioned in the below videos:

1. Little, if any, advanced planning and practice.

2. “Me” focused.

3. Lack of clarity and structure.

4. Too much information.

5. Lack of creativity or a Big idea.

6. Little client interaction.

7. Visuals: Too much, too many or none at all.

8. Reading slides or speech.

9. “Ums,” “so” and “you know”.

10. Weak opening/ closing or call to action.

Have you made any of the above mistakes in your presentations?

For details, check out the below videos for tips on top 10 public speaking presentation mistakes created by Marc Corsini…

We all make mistakes, even for professionals.

Here are the 10 public speaking mistakes successful people don’t make:

1. Feeling nervous about speaking in front of groups
“Arrive 15 to 20 minutes early to make sure the technology is working. Practice your opening so you will feel more comfortable. Turn your audience from strangers to friends by saying hi. Focus on serving the audience.”

2. Not telling great stories

3. Having a voice that shakes
“Warm up your voice before speaking. Breathe in through your nose, fill up your tummy.”

4. Avoiding humor

5. Picturing the audience “in their underwear”
Stop doing that. Picture talking to your friends in the living room instead.

6. Worrying about what to say during the Q&A
“Write down the possible questions people may ask you during the presentation. Practice answering these questions.”

7. Making a PowerPoint bullet-point data dump
“People want to listen to you, not your slides.
Storyboard your ideas with sticky notes. Find powerful images. Create engaging slides.”

8. Opening with “Good morning, everyone. Today I will talk about … “
“B-O-R-I-N-G. You only have seven seconds to grab your audience’s attention.
A great way is to ask a rhetorical question.”

9. Believing “practice makes perfect”
“Practice doesn’t make perfect; practice with feedback makes great improvement.”

10. Having a weak closing
“To inspire action, summarize your key points. Repeat your message. Give a specific action step.”

Avoid making the above mentioned presentation mistakes and get over your fear of public speaking.

If you want to overcome stage fright and learn to speak with confidence, join a toastmasters club.
You are welcome to visit our Kampong Ubi Toastmasters Club if you are living in Singapore.