Public speaking is a skill that people have to master in order to succeed in their careers or education institutes. But public speaking can be challenging and often it can go wrong. So here are 8 common public speaking mistakes that many people make when they’re presenting and what you can do to avoid them.
Public Speaking Mistake #1: Not Preparing Enough Material
A presentation is something that you should prepare for very thoroughly, especially if it’s your first. It is not possible to be prepared for every possible scenario, but one thing is certain – you should prepare enough material.
One of the most important things to always have with you is a presentation outline template. A template will make sure that you don’t forget any part of your presentation and will help you organize the content in a logical order.
Public Speaking Mistake #2: Not Reading a Speech Aloud Before Giving It Live
Some people give presentations without reading them aloud to themselves first. This is very dangerous because there are many errors that can be caught before the presentation starts.
It saves time and effort if you read it aloud to yourself before giving it live. That way you can hear what you have written, aloud.
Public Speaking Mistake #3: Not Getting Enough Sleep, Rest or Eating Well Before Your Speech
Getting enough sleep and eating well before a speech is very important.
Sleep plays a huge role in our health and well-being. The need for sleep varies from person to person, but in general it’s recommended to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Sleep deprivation can lead to various health issues such as weight gain, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Eating right before speaking can also play a big part in how you deliver your speech. If you’re not giving your body the fuel it needs ahead of time then you will have less energy for the task at hand. Make sure to eat something about an hour or so before you speak so you have plenty of time for your food to digest and give yourself a boost!
Public Speaking Mistake #4: Focusing on Yourself Instead of Your Audience
Many people think that public speaking is about getting your audience to like you. But, this is not true. Public speaking is about getting your message to the audience or a call to action for the audience to achieve something as a result of what you say – whether it be inspire, buy, donate, or vote for something.
Public Speaking Mistake #5 Not Knowing Your Audience
Knowing who your audience is will help you devise ways to better create content for them. It’s important to know the demographics, psychographics, and affinities of your audience because that will help you plan how to best communicate with them.
Knowing your audience will also help you come up with a strategy for creating content that resonates with their needs and interests.
Public Speaking Mistake #6 Announcing Your Topic Too Early or Too Late in the Speech
When it comes to the structure of a speech, there are two schools of thought. The first is that you should introduce your topic as early as possible in your speech for maximum impact. However, the second school of thought is that you should not introduce your topic until the end of your speech so that it can have maximum impact.
Some people believe that there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to when to reveal or introduce your topic in a speech. In my opinion, the right way is you should use whichever one feels most natural or suitable for you depending on what kind of message you want to deliver with your speech.
Public Speaking Mistake #7 Forcing Yourself to Be Funny Even If You Aren’t Or Trying To Be Interesting All The Time
You have to be yourself when speaking in public, that is the only way you will be successful.
We should not try to act like someone we are not just because we think it will make us more interesting. Instead, we should focus on being ourselves and show our personality.
Public Speaking Mistake #8 Going Off-Script or Making Up Something On Spot that You Have No Idea What You’re Talking About
Sometimes we tend to go off script, especially when we’re asked challenging questions. Even though we may not know the answer or the full answer to the question, we want our speech to be perfect and thus, try to answer the question the best we can. Then, a follow up question comes. *cue dramatic music*.
When faced with this dilemma, it is important to remember that your audience is not expecting perfection but instead looking for authenticity and relatability in their speakers. If you have no idea or expertise in the area, acknowledge it and provide an option for the audience. This usually comes in a redirect to an expert of the topic, such as “I’m not an expert in this area but…you can check out this expert <name>”. You should also keep in mind that your public speaking skills will be sharpened when practicing improvisation.