Public speaking is easy, right? That may be the case if you’ve got loads of experience standing in front of a live audience and entertaining them as best you can. However, even the most seasoned pro can have an off night. That’s why it is important to keep these mistakes in mind so that you can avoid them at all costs. Stay away from them like the plague and you’ll be fine.
Mistake #1 – The Unprepared Presenter
You’ve probably heard horror stories about this guy. You may have even worked with him on a job or two. He’s the one who shows up at the last minute, looks like he just fell out of bed and hits the stage with a dazed and confused look on his face. After a few feeble attempts at humour and blame shifting accusations he fumbles his way through his show. As unprofessional as he comes across to you and the others who know better, his fans see nothing and still adore the hopeless buffoon. The better prepared you are the smoother things will go. If you are meticulous in your preparation, nothing can derail you or wreck your event. That’s because you’ve got it covered.
Mistake #2 – The Clueless Commentator
Again, this is probably someone you’ve gone to watch because you were interested in the program that they were being a guest speaker at. However, the topic of the evening was quantum physics and the featured presenter couldn’t discuss anything more than the way in which girls looked in wet t-shirts. There was no common thread to his story and obviously he was under the impression that the audience was going to be filled with university students. Big mistake. Not knowing your audience is about as good as not knowing your topic. For example, if your program contains some X-rated material and your next live performance is at a pensioner’s care facility, you may want to edit out some of your more colorful parts. When you know the demographics of those you are speaking to, you will be able to target your presentation directly at them.
Mistake #3 – The Overly Visual Facilitator
We all know what filler is, right? Sometimes it’s your best friend and sometimes it’s your enemy. When putting together your next public presentation, keep this in mind: don’t go overboard on the visuals. Sure, hand puppets and overheads are fun and can help keep the flow of your speech or talk on point but if you use too many visuals (slides, photos, videos, holograms, selfies, cat pictures) it can come across as if you have either run out of good content and need some other form of information to fill time or, you have some kind of illness related to visuals. Besides, if you really know the topic you are presenting, you should be able to pull it off with only visuals used as punctuation as opposed to the main body of the content.
Practice Makes Perfect
Above all, remember that the more public speaking engagements you get booked to appear in, the better you will become. There are also those events where you could just fake your way through and the electricity in the auditorium is such that you can’t lose. But those nights are few and far between. Practice avoiding the mistakes listed here and you’ll impress them at the next Rotary luncheon or awards banquet you are hosting.