Public speaking is something everyone is initially nervous about, but it’s an art that can be learned and perfected. And the only way to overcome discomfort with public speaking is to deliver presentations or lectures on a regular basis. Still, even the most experienced public speakers are prone to certain errors that can hinder or ruin their presentations. Following are four common mistakes you can make as a public speaker and how to correct them.
When giving a speech or presentation, you must rehearse it to deliver it in an effective manner. Rehearsing can ensure that you remain within specified time parameters, which often falls in the 10 -to- 20-minute range. It also enables you to better organize your thoughts and visual aids. To ensure that you properly prepare for you next speaking engagement, run through your speech at least once and rehearse the opening and closing three or more times each, according to Inc.
Failing to Tailor Message to Audience
In the business or academic worlds, it’s likely that you will present to different target groups within your company. If that’s the case, tailor your message to fit your audience. For example, while marketing professionals may be interested in your methodology if you’re delivering a market research presentation, executives will be more interested in how they can use your findings to formulate business strategies. To deliver the right message, think about the people who will attend your meeting. Create a message that addresses key issues for your audience, then end your speech by focusing on how to solve these pertinent issues.
Lack of Composure
An inexperienced speaker often darts her eyes around, shifts her weight from one leg to another and speaks at a rapid pace and low volume. All of these mannerisms cause distractions and make presenters appear weak, according to Harvard Business Review. When delivering your message, look audience members in the eyes and keep your body still. Look at one person for awhile, then lock eyes with someone else. Instead of shifting around, stand still and use hand gestures to point to slides or emphasize key points. This type of composure exudes strength and will make your audience more confident in your message.
Ending With Q&A
You should allow at least five minutes toward the end of your presentation to answer questions. But don’t just end your speech after answering them. Summarize what you’ve presented and emphasize the key points that members should know. That way your audience will have something useful to walk away with from your speech. They’re also be more likely to remember what you said.
Start practicing some of these techniques with family members or friends. Better yet, attend some seminars on public speaking and start honing your skills today.