Nine Public-Speaking Mistakes You Need to Stop Making NOW


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Folks may forget what your slides looked like or what you even look like, but they won't forget a crummy delivery. Find out what public-speaking mistakes can ruin your presentation.

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Nine Public-Speaking Mistakes You Need to Stop Making NOW

  1. 9 Public-SpeakingMistakesYou Need toStop Making
  2. a presentation fromwritten by Matt Snodgrass
  3. 1. Reading a speech word for wordWhy it’s a mistake: No one likes being talked down to.Your listeners can read. Listening to you readthe obvious is mind-numbing.
  4. Tip: Don’t numb people’s minds. Instead, use akeyword outline to prompt your thoughts,address your audience, then get rolling.
  5. 2. Winging it Why it’s a mistake: Winging it is good…if it’s your 8th grade history presentation on the French-Indian war. We’re in the business world now, though. People have invested time (and money) to come hear you speak.
  6. Tip: Respect your audience bygiving them a well-rehearsedpresentation that deliverswhat was promised.
  7. 3. Using boring technical languageWhy it’s a mistake:OK, so you’re smart. (If youweren’t, you probably wouldn’thave been asked to present.) Butyou don’t have to show offthose smarts by babblingin complex language about,say, the binary language ofmoisture vaporators.
  8. Tip: Give your speech in everyday language…unless audience members really do want to hearabout moisture vaporators.
  9. 4. Focusing solely on what you wantto talk aboutWhy it’s a mistake: Your presentationneeds to focus on what your audiencehas come to hear you discuss.The presentationaudience isn’tyou, you, you.
  10. Tip: Remember that you’re not forcinginformation on your audience. You want yourpresentation to be connecting and inspiring.
  11. 5. Not having a point Why it’s a mistake: Failure to have at least one point for folks to mull about will doom your presentation to mediocrity (or worse).
  12. Tip: Make sure you spend some timeresearching your audience. Why are theyhere listening to you? What motivates them?What are their pains?Know your audience.Know your purpose.Know your presentation.
  13. 6. Thinking your slides are everything Why it’s a mistake: Your slides might rock, but your delivery (if you don’t work on it) may not. Think of it this way: Great sheet music doesn’t make a great musician. You have to know how to play it.
  14. Tip: Keep the focus on you, not your slides.Your slides should serveas ancillary information,not be the primarysource of it.
  15. 7. Opening with a joke. Why it’s a mistake: Sadly, in this day and age, chances are a joke that you find amusing will offend someone.
  16. Tip: Humor is good.Jokes are (typically) not.Don’t alienate a portionof your audience withpotentially offensivematerial.
  17. 8. Having too much nervous energyWhy it’s a mistake: Rampantbouncing, incessant pacing,and excited shouting cancertainly make a presentationmore interesting…but they can also scare ordistract your audience.
  18. Tip: Feel free to move around alittle bit, but try to staysomewhere between“winning the lotto” excitedand “heading to a doctor’sappointment” excited.
  19. 9. Going overboard on your slidesWhy it’s a mistake: You’re assaulting people’seyeballs. You may have a phenomenalgraphics design team, but they don’t have totouch every single slide.
  20. Tip: Clean slides are nearly always better.
  21. To find out more presentation gaffes(and the remedies for them), join us for Presentations Unleashed starting February 14. Use code INSPIRE and save $200.