Fatal Public Speaking Mistakes

Here is a long list about public speaking sins.

I don`t want to repeat last year`s list, so I`ve come up with a new list … 40 Fatal Public Speaking Mistakes. It`s not that the mistakes will kill you, but they will definitely hurt your presentation.

1.) Don`t practice. Just wing it and hope everything falls into place.

2.) Drink ice water and dairy products before your presentation. Who doesn`t want to produce more phlegm and clear their throat a lot during a speech?

3.) Apologize in advance for being boring/nervous.

4.) Create your slides before you`ve nailed down your content.

5.) Skip audience analysis.

6.) Tell a lot of irrelevant stories about your kids, spouse, nephews, etc …

7.) Keep walking from one side of the room to the other for the entire presentation.

8.) Try to sound motivational by speaking loudly the entire time.

9.) Insult politicians, businesses, and other easy targets so you can get a quick laugh. Just hope they don`t have supporters or employees in the audience.

10.) Dress inappropriately for the event.

11.) Speak quickly so you can get more information into your speech in half the time.

12.) Stand in one spot while rocking back and forth from heel to toe (like a rocking chair).

13.) Stand in one spot while swaying from side to side (like a pendulum).

14.) Start the speech by telling the audience you haven`t done this presentation in a long time and will probably get lost along the way.

15.) Use slides that say the exact same thing you`re telling the audience.

16.) Keep turning your back to the audience and speaking to the screen.

17.) Don`t arrive early to set up your room. Show up a few minutes before and expect everything to be set up perfectly.

18.) If you`re using a microphone, skip the sound check. Just ask people if they can hear you when you start your speech.

19.) Start your speech by reading the „Starfish” story from „Chicken Soup for the Soul”.

20.) Use a lot of acronyms your audience won`t be able to remember.

21.) Use a lot of big words to show off your vocabulary. Who cares if no one knows what you`re saying?

22.) If your audience disagrees with you, try to convince them by being extra passionate about your position.

23.) Go over the time you`ve been given to deliver your speech. This works well just before lunch.

24.) Don`t research the statistics you use in your speech. Just assume they`re correct because you heard someone else use them.

25.) Steal stories from other speakers and make yourself the main character.

26.) When reading a speech, hold onto the lectern for dear life and don`t look up.

27.) Ask the audience to share their deepest feelings with people they`re meeting for the first time.

28.) Ignore the mood in the room and jump straight into your presentation. It will show the audience how tuned in you are.

29.) When using statistics, let the audience figure out how those statistics apply to them.

30.) Say „um” a lot so you`ll sound more „authentic”.

31.) Keep checking your wristwatch every few minutes. The audience will be curious about where you have to be after the speech?

32.) Assume the professor pose (one arm across your body and one hand holding your chin) so no one questions your knowledge.

33.) Give an infomercial on your product or service instead of a speech that provides useful information.

34.) Forget vocal variety. Just use the same tone of voice and volume regardless of what you`re speaking about.

35.) Start your speech by complaining about the weather, your hotel, breakfast, aches, pains and anything else you can think of. Everyone loves a whiner.

36.) Mispronounce the names of the VIPs in your audience. Better yet, call them a different name altogether!

37.) Since body language is supposed to make up 55% of your message, use a sparkling smile and huge gestures to cover up your lack of preparation.

38.) Insult people in the audience because they`re not as enthusiastic about your topic as you are.

39.) Use examples that are sexist and racist generalizations.

40.) Don`t practice. I know this was #1, but it`s important enough to repeat again. Failing to prepare for your speech is the most fatal public speaking mistake you can make.

by John Watkis (www.wellwrittenwellsaid.com)

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