The fear of public speaking has been dubbed to be man’s primary fear, (followed by the fear of death). This fear of speaking to an audience is most times due to external concerns than it is of the content of the speaker’s message.
It may be at a school, at the office, at a religious gathering or any social gathering of any sort, the key to delivering a killer address, speech or lecture all boils down to doing it the right way. If done right, public speaking both boosts the morale and reputation of the speaker and leaves the audience filled to the crown of their head with ideas, wisdom, understanding and even love for the you.
Public speaking is an art and a science, there is a way to do it wrong and a way to do it right. No one is born with the innate gift of talking to an audience and being successful at it, perfection and mastery comes through practice, correction and practice.
What are the don’ts of public speaking, what mistake is everyone making that you must avoid in order to ace your next speaking gig?
Below is a list of public speaking mistakes that everyone makes and that you must avoid, in order to ace your next public speaking gig.
1. Ignoring the audience: a lot of speakers jump right into the stage without prior knowledge of who their audience are.
2. Selling yourself: some speakers go on stage and spend more than half of the time talking about themselves.
3. Not preparing enough: You cannot know a topic too much when it comes to public speaking. Some go on stage with less than 30 minutes of proper study and preparation.
4. Arriving late to venue: arriving late to the venue has two effects; it sends a message of lack of seriousness, and destabilizes both the speaker and the organizer.
5. Talking for too long: The attention span of a normal adult is between 25-30 minutes after which if you are no longer interesting, they’d better stare at their smart phones.
6. Poor visuals: Some speakers use too many power point slides which sometimes only them can see. Using slides with too many words and text clusters.
7. Poor body language: Standing in one spot throughout the presentation, some avoid eye contact with the audience, others prefer to stare at their slides and notes than look at the audience.
8. Imitation and lack of authenticity: A lot of speakers want to speak like Martin Luther King or Barrack Obama.
Before even starting to prepare for a talk, do a proper research on your audience, Terri Trespicio put it simply in her article in Business Insider
“Before I prepare a single line of any talk for any crowd, I ask the organizer ahead of time one question: Why are they here?” (statement modified).
There is no show of expertise in displaying how loosely you prepared for the talk, it only sends a message of how useless you think their time is to you. Remember that the event is not for you to tell them how useful and successful your life is, it is to give them hope, fill them with ideas and enlighten them.
The importance of preparation cannot be overemphasized, take time to prepare your slides, using PowerPoint templates can save you a lot of time and effort, a maximum of 10 slides is advised. Use few words and lines on each slide, using the proper font to allow for visibility.