Public Speaking Tips: Common Presentation Mistakes

January 12, 2017

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.

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Category: Presentation Skills, Public Speaking Tips, Video

"Free Tips for Successful Public Speaking" by Jim Key, 2003 World Champion of Public Speaking

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