4 Common Rookie Mistakes in Public Speaking


There’s going to come a time in your career when you have to deliver a presentation or speech in front of a crowd. While public speaking can be a daunting experience for many, when the time comes you’ll need to be able to present your ideas effectively and intrigue the audience. In order to deliver a speech powerfully like Lawrence Mitchell and other famous public speakers, you must avoid these common rookie mistakes.

Mistake #1: Starting a speech with ‘thank you’

The first words of your speech are extremely important. They help the audience decide whether they are going to tune in or tune out. The opening of your speech should be powerful and enticing and make your audience want to know more.

Mistake #2: Sounding robotic

Inexperienced public speakers make the mistake of reading their speech off a laptop or piece of paper. Or, they memorize it word-for-word. Both of these instances make the presenter sound robotic and unengaged. While practicing your speech is essential, you should memorize the main ideas of your speech rather than every single word. To make yourself feel more comfortable in front of the podium you can write the key points on notecards and set them on the podium, where you can occasionally glance at them if need be.

Mistake #3: Using visuals ineffectively

Many inexperienced public speakers also make the mistake of using PowerPoint to display their speech’s content. This is ineffective because the audience cannot listen to your words and read the PowerPoint slides at the same time. You should only use visuals that enforce the content your speech, not take away from it. Only use PowerPoint to display charts, graphs and illustrations that reinforce what you are saying.

Mistake #4: Speaking too quickly or too slowly

Speaking too quickly tells your audience you are nervous and don’t want to be giving your speech. It also makes your presentation difficult to follow. Speaking too slowly, on the other hand, signifies you are unprepared or hesitant. These problems can be resolved with practice and easing your nerves before you come on stage.

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