Public Speaking Articles

7 Common Mistakes in Public Speaking to Avoid

7 Common Mistakes in Public Speaking to Avoid

There’s a common misconception that some people are natural-born public speakers and others aren’t. However, public speaking is never that black and white.

According to some estimates, 75% of the general population has a fear of speaking in public. For some, it can be some butterflies in their stomach, while others may truly shut down in fear. No matter the case, if you get nervous about public speaking, you’re not alone.

Luckily, public speaking is a skill that can be improved with practice. And one of the best ways to hone your presentation skills is to know the common mistakes to avoid.

Here are seven common public speaking mistakes people often make, with tips so you can take steps to overcome them.

Female public speaker smiling at podium

1. Not Making Eye Contact

This is one of the most common presentation mistakes, especially when you’re giving a speech or presentation with visual aids. It can be easy (and feel safe) to simply read from a slide or look at the ground when you’re speaking, but these are bad habits.

Eye contact is one of the best ways to engage with your audience and makes your speech feel more like a conversation rather than a monologue. Plus, maintaining eye contact throughout the presentation can make you appear more confident, no matter how you’re feeling inside.

Pro Tip: Try to keep eye contact with different audience members for at least two to three seconds or as long as it takes you to complete a phrase or sentence.

2. Talking Too Fast

Many bad examples of public speaking include a presenter talking too fast. The pace at which you speak is critical for getting your message across. The experts at LinkedIn explain that when you talk too fast, you can come across as nervous, “salesy” or impatient. Your audience may miss key points of your presentation or tune you out.

Pauses are the key to a good presentation. Pay attention to your pacing and use pauses to your advantage to emphasize your main points.

3. Sounding Monotone

Another example of poor public speaking is lacking energy or sounding monotone. No one wants to sit through a boring presentation, and your mannerisms and tone of voice can make or break your speech.

Using engaging and appropriate body language and facial expressions can help put you and your audience at ease. Similarly, make sure to speak conversationally and not in a rehearsed, monotone voice.

4. Distracting Mannerisms

While it’s important to move around during your speech and use gestures, you don’t want your mannerisms to be distracting. According to Inc., there are at least 20 common bad public speaking mannerisms to avoid. Here are a few:

  • Pacing back and forth
  • Clenching or wringing hands
  • Keeping your hand in your pockets
  • Licking your lips
  • Touching your hair or clothes
  • Fidgeting with a pen or other item

Most of the time, these common mistakes in oral presentations happen subconsciously because you’re nervous. You may not realize you fidget with your ring while you give a presentation until you watch it back. That’s why it’s important to rehearse and record your speech, watch yourself back, and nip these bad habits in the bud.

5. Using Filler Words

Presenting in front of a crowd can be nerve-wracking, and in an effort to not leave any empty space, you may use filler words like “ah,” “um,” “like,” and “you know.” Using filler words can make you appear uncertain or not confident.

Rehearsing your speech and practicing when you’ll pause can help you use every word wisely. Remember, pauses are a good thing!

6. Misusing Visual Aids

The experts at Entrepreneur explain that visual aids are a great way to bring your presentation to life. However, you never want to rely on them to get you through your speech.

For example, many speakers will create a PowerPoint slide with images, graphs, or key talking points to use. But these slides should never have too much text or design elements that you talk through verbatim.

If your visual aids are distracting or boring, you’re hurting your presentation.

7. Speaking too Softly

Finally, we can’t overlook how volume is another common mistake in public speaking. It’s important to find a sweet spot, so you’re not speaking too quietly or too loudly. You want to sound confident and relaxed to get your point across to your audience.

Now that you know the most common mistakes in public speaking, you can make sure to avoid them. Browse the eSpeakers Marketplace today to learn more public speaking tips from the best!

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How to Overcome Challenges of Public Speaking: Tips and Tricks

Let’s face it: Public speaking can be a difficult feat. Whether you’re presenting a project in a college lecture or you’re interested in pursuing a career that involves getting in front of large groups of people, there are hurdles to overcome before you can speak with poise and confidence. 

So what exactly are the most common challenges, and how can you overcome them? Let’s take a closer look.

Common Challenges of Public Speaking

For some, public speaking comes easy. For others, it can feel overwhelming – like the hardest thing in the world to achieve. People who lack public speaking skills may relate to one or more of the following challenges:

  • Anxiety and fear of speaking in front of a crowd. Some have a fight-or-flight response when it comes to public speaking. This can have a big impact on confidence and make it difficult to deliver a speech without the audience noticing the anxiety. 
  • Little to no structure in the presentation. If you go into a speech without a plan, you may be more likely to fumble over your words or miss the point of the presentation altogether. 
  • Having no credibility with your audience. Establishing credibility and trust before you give a speech is essential. Without it, the audience may walk away feeling like they’ve wasted their time. 
  • Displaying poor body language. Bad body language can also impact how the audience feels about your presentation. If your audience can tell that you don’t want to be there, they might be able to find value, depth, or meaning in your words. 
  • Delivering a speech without a clear message. Getting tangled in your own thoughts while delivering your speech can result in confusing the audience. 

With more awareness of these common challenges, you can work through them and make public speaking a more exciting and enjoyable experience for yourself and your audience. 

Woman standing at podium covering her face with her presentation notes

Tips for Learning How to Speak in Public

Want to overcome your fear of performance anxiety? Here are a few tips for overcoming those common challenges. 

1. Establish Trust with Your Audience

Learning how to establish credibility in a speech ensures that you can connect with your audience and deliver a strong message. 

But how do you establish credibility with your audience? Start by speaking with an authoritative voice. Work on your body language and keep eye contact. Let the audience know that you know what you’re talking about. 

Speak with honesty, and make it known that you understand your audience as well. The last thing you want to do is undermine their intelligence – your audience deserves the same amount of respect as you expect. 

2. Work on Your Confidence

If you tell yourself you’re a bad public speaker, you’ll never have room to grow and become a great one. Confidence is key when it comes to speaking in front of a large audience, especially if you have stage fright. Work on your public speaking anxiety by practicing deep breathing and keeping positive thoughts in your mind ahead of your presentation. 

3. Get Organized in Advance

Practice, practice, practice. You may start to feel more anxious the closer you get to speak in front of your audience, but getting yourself organized can help you feel more confident and ease your fear of public speaking. 

4. Nail Down the Reason Behind Your Speech

The last thing you want to do is deliver a speech that’s open-ended. Ensure the message behind your presentation is well-established before you get in front of the audience. This may involve scrapping one idea for another and may also involve lots of practicing beforehand, but the time investment will work in your favor. 

5. Learn From the Best 

Learning how to overcome the challenges of public speaking and establishing credibility in your speeches may be difficult at first. If you’re having trouble getting confident and need more exposure to great speeches, check out the eSpeakers marketplace

This is your go-to resource for learning about professional public speakers and how they started before making a career out of presenting to large audiences. This can give you a better idea of how to get started and boost your confidence before you give a presentation.

Browse the eSpeakers marketplace today to learn from the best!

5 Tips on How to Overcome Stage Fright in Public Speaking

Public speaking comes easy for some but is difficult for others. If you find public speaking to be intimidating, you’re not alone. In fact, according to research by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, between 15% and 30% of the general population have social anxiety, which can have a significant impact on the ability to get in front of a large (or small) crowd and give a presentation. 

Of course, there are different ways to manage your social anxieties and overcome your public speaking fear. With the right strategies in place, you can feel more comfortable and confident opening up during meetings at work, presenting in school, or leading a conference for colleagues. 

Whether you need encouragement in the workplace or you’re pursuing your dream of becoming a professional public speaker, there are dozens of ways to settle your nerves and boost your confidence. Here are five tips on how to deal with stage fright public speaking:

Concept of stage fright with blurry image in front of a podium

1. Prepare and Practice, Practice, Practice

One of the easiest ways to fuel your public speaking anxiety is to come to your presentation underprepared. You can help mitigate feelings of nervousness and fear when you approach your audience with confidence, knowledge, and organization. Here are a few different ways to prepare for a public speaking event:

  • Do your research. The last thing you want to do is approach a topic like you’re an expert, then fall flat with the delivery. Set aside time to do thorough research on your speaking topic, so you don’t have to rely on your notes or a script so heavily. 
  • Get organized. Do you have all of your presentation items ready? Make sure you plan out your presentation props, audio, and visuals well in advance, so you don’t have to worry about fumbling around during the presentation. 
  • Practice! If you have a public speaking fear, it’s best not to wing it. Practice in front of a group of people, and practice alone in the mirror as well. Get a few different perspective angles on your presentation before the big day. 

2. Stay Focused on Your Presentation Material 

It’s easy to get on stage and feel overwhelmed by the number of people in the room. And it doesn’t have to be a large audience to feel this way, either. Try your best to pay less attention to the audience and more attention to the information you are presenting to them. 

If the idea of working through moments of silence brings you anxiety, consider this: these silent pauses can be intimidating during a presentation – especially if you’re the one who’s center stage – but they can also be very valuable. This gives you a chance to catch your breath and for the audience to reflect. Plus, when these moments occur, they likely won’t last longer than a few seconds (even if it feels like an eternity.) 

3. Practice Deep Breathing Exercises 

Deep breathing is an anxiety reducer that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Taking slow, deep breaths creates better airflow throughout your body, which can be pertinent to calming nerves, reducing stressors, and mitigating anxiousness. Work on your deep breathing exercises in advance of the presentation so that you understand how to manage your fears and get your breathing under control.

4. Seek Support 

Overcoming stage fright, and public speaking can be made easier with a support system. Reach out to co-workers, friends, and family members about your upcoming event and ask for general support and assistance practicing the presentation. This can help you overcome fears, feel more confident about your delivery, and make your loved ones proud. 

5. Browse eSpeakers Marketplace for Inspiration

Want to learn how to get over stage fright and public speaking from other public speakers? 

If you find yourself struggling to build confidence for an upcoming presentation, find inspiration from the professionals. eSpeakers marketplace is your go-to resource for learning about professional public speakers and how they started before making a career out of presenting to large audiences. This can be an encouraging way to face your fear of public speaking and feel more comfortable getting in front of an audience in the future. 

And once you feel comfortable with your own public speaking skills, you can even join the eSpeakers marketplace yourself! This space offers an opportunity to grow your public speaking business, pursue leads, gain more experience in the industry, and even boost your confidence.

Looking to hire a public speaker? Want to become one on your own? Browse eSpeakers today for more information.

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5 Steps on How to Become a Public Speaker

Are you passionate about speaking in front of large groups of people? Do you have a life-changing story to share that can resonate with others? Becoming a public speaker can give you the platform and opportunity to be a relatable figure with valuable information that can benefit others. Even if you consider yourself shy and want to learn how to get comfortable with amplifying your voice, public speaking is a great way to step outside of your comfort zone and take the leap of faith.

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