The 10 Most Common Public Speaking Mistakes That You Need To Avoid At All Costs

Public Speaking Mistakes

It’s no secret that public speaking can be a daunting task, especially for those with glossophobia or a fear of public speaking. All those eyes focus on you as you present over a webinar platform or in a lecture hall. It’s nerve-wracking. 

To get through the presentation, many people adopt bad public speaking habits that actually harm your presentation and make your overall message unclear and poorly received by your target audience. 

Below are the 10 most common public mistakes you need to watch out for when giving your next online meeting presentation. 

10 most common public mistakes

1. Memorising a script

When you are giving a presentation, whether in person or over the internet via online platforms, no one wants to listen to you reel off a script you memorised. It’s boring to listen to and seems impersonal and like you didn’t really care about the message you are trying to convey. Not only that, but you are more likely to forget a sentence or important point.

Instead, use the time preparing to focus on your nonverbal communication and presentation skills, which will make for a much better presentation.

2. Lack of preparation and practise

One of the biggest rookie mistakes is not preparing adequately for any public speaking engagement. It takes time to write a good presentation. If you don’t leave adequate time to rehearse and prepare, you waste your listener’s time, and you become disorganised and unprofessional. So, if you want to make a good impression and make your ideas known verbally, prepare and practise beforehand.

3. Reading aloud

Just reading your speech or presentation aloud is never good for your audience. You are not engaged with them. When you read from your cards only, no eye contact is made, and the speaker tends to mumble and can’t be heard. In short, it leaves your audience bored and uninterested in what you have to say. You want the audience to feel your passion for your presentation through the computer screen. 

4. Having no visual aids or using them incorrectly.

When you’re giving a presentation, it’s important to have a few slides that convey important information about your topic to the audience. Not having any is a big mistake as it can mean that your audience could miss key points. 

Also, making your slides too busy, having too little or too many slides, filling them with too much information, and looking at your slides, not your audience, are other common pitfalls that speakers make. Be sure to use your visual aids appropriately.

5. Speaking in a monotone

Lack of inflexion in your tone will make you come across as bored with your own material and bore your listeners to death. Audiences will have a hard time paying attention when your voice is flat. So make sure you practise speaking with enthusiasm and adding inflexion when talking. 

6. Poor eye contact

When you are giving a presentation or a speech, you need your audience to see you as an authority and connect with you. It’s tough to do this when the speaker refuses to make any eye contact with the audience. So, even if it makes you nervous, it’s best to learn to do it and overcome that fear.

Look at one or two people for about 3-5 seconds and then move on to someone else and keep doing this so that you can connect with everyone attending.

7. Not speaking clearly

It’s not just about using the right inflexions. Speaking too fast or slow, speaking too loudly or softly, all of these can drag your presentation down. People need to be able to hear you as well as understand you clearly at all times, and this is not possible if you are speaking at the wrong volume or at the wrong speed. Practising your speech or presentation will help you get everything exactly right. 

Read also: Public Speaking Online: How to Give Amazing Talks 

8. Distracting Mannerisms

Standing statue-still while speaking at an event or giving a work presentation online is bad, but so is fidgeting and pacing too much. It’s common to use fidgeting and pacing to control your nerves, but you need to do it in ways that don’t take away from what you are trying to say. There is a happy balance that needs to be achieved. 

It’s ok to be nervous and use some repetitive actions, but try to make them small enough that the audience doesn’t necessarily notice you are doing it.

9. Lack of energy and excitement

If you come across as tired and lacking focus and energy, you will most likely lose your audience’s interest. Not having enough energy drains your vitality presentation, and people are less likely to engage with your message. It’s a big mistake not to bring your own enthusiasm to your public speaking. It’s contagious when you are excited, and your audience will be more receptive to your overall message. 

10. Oversharing too much information

Data dumping is an all too common problem for public speakers. For example, you have a really interesting topic, so you want to tell your audience everything about it. Sharing your knowledge about a subject is fine, but sharing too much of your knowledge will just damage the message of your presentation. 

Your audience will become overwhelmed with the extra information. So you have to strike the right balance, making sure you look like an authority on the subject at hand without giving too much extra information so your audience can take the important lessons away for later use. 

Whether teaching an online course or lecturing to a room full of employees, public speaking can feel daunting and makes many people nervous. However, avoiding these 10 common public speaking mistakes will help make your next public speaking event a lot more enjoyable for you and your audience.

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