5 Public Speaking Mistakes to Avoid

By: Michael Folgers


Speaking in public is a daunting task. You can find a lot of people who enjoy being the center of attention in small groups, but not all of them can imagine themselves talking to a huge crowd without getting an urgent feeling to use the restroom. Those who manage to muster the courage to speak in public often end up just talking to themselves and not necessarily speaking to their audience. To prevent this and pave the way for a good public speaking career, you need to learn some of the most common public speaking mistakes.

1. Opening With the Speech
When you reach the podium, don't go directly to your speech. Not only will it seem like you're neglecting your audience, but your speech will feel out of place. Start with some ice-breakers. Tell a joke. Talk to the audience, engage in some banter, and squeeze your speech when it's appropriate and when you and your audience have each other's attention. Having experience or training in improvisation will work really well here.

2. Reading/Memorizing Speeches
If you're a newcomer to the industry, avoid reading or memorizing your speeches. Public speaking is about talking to the audience, not narrating them a story. You may notice that some of the most notable orators bring their notes, but they never read them verbatim. Organize your thoughts with mind maps and notes. Write down a few good lines that you feel you'll be quoted on and mention them in your speech. Glance at your notes but keep eye contact with your audience.

3. Not Maintaining Eye Contact
Whenever you're in the spotlight, it's mandatory that you face and look at your audience. Imagine a band with a vocalist that constantly turns his back on the audience or staring at the floor. No matter how good his voice is, he's not connecting with his audience and the latter loses interest. This is the same with public speaking. There are a lot of techniques for "maintaining eye contact." You can look at a few friendly faces. You can deliberately blur your vision so you see the audience as a single entity and not as a set of eyes staring back at you. You can look at the far side of the audience. It's up to you.

4. Not Rehearsing
Never attempt to "wing it" in a public speaking event. A stage presentation always calls for a rehearsal. Even if you have notes, scripts, and whatnot you have to rehearse your delivery. With stand-up comics, rehearsal makes the punch line even funnier. Besides, you may pick up new ideas while rehearsing.

5. Not Smiling
Customer service representatives are trained to smile when they answer calls from irate customers. This is because a smile can be heard in your voice, and hearing this smile has a positive effect on the listener. When you smile during appropriate parts of your speeches, your audience will hear it and smile with you.

Your first public speech will be nerve-wracking, and once you overcome that initial fear, it's time to hone your craft further. What better way to do so than by eliminating the chances of committing the more common public speaking mistakes? If you want to know more about how a master of ceremonies works, visit platinumspeakers.com.au website for various speaker profiles.

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To hasten your progress as a public speaker, study some of the best speakers and learn from them. To find a master of ceremonies, visit platinumspeakers.com.au website.

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