“Most of us attend more presentations than we give. Even if you’re not a public speaking professional, you can probably make a good assessment of whether someone you’re watching is doing a good job or not. However, you might not know exactly what it is they’re doing that turns you off – or perhaps you hone in on one particular thing that’s painfully obvious.
It takes a combination of qualities to make a good public speaker. Likewise, it takes several things – sometimes one big standout thing – to make a bad public speaker. Some of the most common public speaking mistakes are hard to spot, and many are difficult to overcome. See if you’ve noticed any of these – and whether you might be making them without realizing it.”
1. Speaking Too Softly
2. Stuttering or Saying “Um”
3. Stiff Body Movements
4. Poor Eye Contact
5. Lack of Facial Expressions
6. Poor Organization
7. Low Energy
8. Bad Timing
9. Reading (too much) from Notes
10. Using Space Inappropriately
Practice is the key to helping you improve in public speaking.
Join Toastmasters and find a club that you like to practise your speaking skills. You are welcome to visit our Kampong Ubi Toastmasters Club if you are living in Singapore.
“According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a whopping 74% of people suffer from speech anxiety.
And, as most people know, when we’re nervous or anxious, our minds and bodies tend to do weird things that we can’t always control.
However, if you make a conscious effort, you may be able to avoid some of the common mistakes public speakers make.
Here are some habits you’ll want to avoid…”
1. Not tailoring your message to your audience.
2. Eye dart.
3. Distracting mannerisms.
4. Low energy.
5. Not rehearsing.
6. Data dumping.
7. Not inspiring.
8. Lack of pauses.
9. Not crafting a powerful opening.
10. Using too much (or not enough) humor.
11. Reading from your slides.
12. Making an excuse or an apology.
13. Ending with Q&A.
The 5 Biggest Mistakes in Public Speaking
I recently had the opportunity to hear a world-renowned public speaker and was surprised as well as disappointed by his delivery. While his message was excellent, his means of delivering that message would have gotten him a C- in my college public speaking class. Without a doubt, content is important in any form of public speaking; however, if your entire script is written out word-for-word in your PowerPoint presentation, why bother? It would be a better use of the audience’s time if you would Xerox it, pass it out, and then everyone can go home!
1. Memorizing or reading your entire presentation is a grave mistake. Your audience came to hear you speak to them – not read or deliver a rote, memorized performance. Your responsibility is to communicate with your audience, not at them. By treating your audience as if you were having a conversation in your living room, you will find that you are much more comfortable and in better control of your nervousness.
2. Not knowing your material is another serious blunder. If you are not familiar with your words or how your speech or presentation flows, then you are likely to make more errors. Making a mistake or two is not the issue – making a lot of them is!
3. Speaking too fast. Controlling your speed is extremely important if you expect your audience to be able to understand what you are saying. Listening to someone move at 100 mph takes much more energy than listening to them at 75! Incidentally, talking at a furious pace saps the energy of you, the speaker, as well.
4. Staring at an object on the wall. By no means should you focus your attention on a spot on the wall or above the heads of your audience. Look them in the eye. Make the contact with your listeners and you will then be aware of their reaction to you. Remember, public speaking is a form of communication. If you are not making eye contact, then you are not communicating.
5. Running Out of Air. Breathlessness on the podium is one of the most common mistakes made because many novices – and even some professional – speakers do not think to breathe. If you wait until you are totally out of air, you will then be required to inhale a huge amount in order to fill your lungs. In doing so, you will experience breathlessness and a tightness in your chest. My advice is to learn to breathe with the support of your diaphragm – truly the best means of controlling nervousness – and then practice supplementing your air supply before you are depleted.
These 5 common mistakes can be easily rectified if you know your material, converse with your audience, learn how to control your speed, make eye contact with your listeners and remember to breathe.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To see how voice training can improve your life, both professionally and personally, visit Voice Dynamic or watch a brief video as The Voice Lady describes Dynamic Public Speaking.