This is part 2 of 2 for Public Speaking Mastery.
Coming Out from Behind the Curtain
The early days in public speaking are likely wrought with fear, half-panic, and that mixed feeling of thrill and dread. Coming out of the curtain means taking that big step into the spotlight. You throw the curtains back and there they are…. all the eyes and eager minds ready to absorb all that you have to share. Are you ready to burst out onto that stage, or are you still hiding behind the curtain? The following are common mistakes that when conquered can help you to glide across that stage with confidence and purpose. Taking appropriate care before you even get near the stage can make a huge impact on your final presentation.
Here are the common mistakes when presenting in front of a live audience, and what you can do to win that stage.
- They Appear Tired– Being tired can have a big affect on your ability to really give your most powerful presentations. You won’t be able to think on your feet very well and your speech could come across as plain or dull. Either could lose the attention of your audience. Make sure that you get plenty of rest so that you can more readily bring that fire to the stage.
- They Don’t Use Visual Aids and Handouts– Especially for smaller presentations supplemental material can be critical. Having something in front of your audience can really help to keep their attention, involvement, and genuine interest. Plus, it helps to have something that they can take home from your presentation to look at again later.
- No Pauses – Talking too fast is a key give-a-way that you’re lacking confidence or that you weren’t properly prepared. If you go too fast, you increase your chances of tripping over yourself or preventing the crowd from being able to keep up with you. Practicing is a great way to build your confidence and to give you the kind of familiarity with your material that will help you in knowing when to slow yourself down.
- Long Connecting Sentences– Similar to going too fast be sure that you are not presenting your information or message in long and drawn out stretches. Be short, clear, and concise when presenting your message to anyone. If you try to give too much information or connect too much together you could lose your audience’s attention and interest.
- Being too Vague– Don’t leave the point of your speech up to your audience’s interpretation. You have control on stage, but you will lose it by being too vague. Without being precise you are ultimately leaving your audience empty handed. They won’t be getting anything of value from you. Come prepared with enough details, examples, and specific support material to really drive your point, and value, home.
- Too Much Reading– If you read your entire presentation word for word from slides, flashcards, or other support materials you are conveying your own lack of knowledge in the area that you are trying to educate others. It’s okay to have tools that help you get through your speeches, but don’t go word-for-word. Have prepared a dialogue that you have rehearsed, memorized, and are able to present alongside your support materials.
- Repeating the Same Thing– Some presenters end up going around in circles, nothing really moves on, and the next string becomes predictable as your audience finds that they’ve heard the point already. Don’t spend too long on one topic or area of a topic. Keep things moving by preparing your materials well in advance so that you can be confident in the overall flow of your speech. Don’t stay on one point too long, keep it flowing from one to the next.
- They Don’t Make a Timeline– Another common pitfall is to simply not create a timeline for your presentation. You really need to put consideration into how long you need to aim to spend on each area as well as a plan on what order you intend to make your different points. Being prepared with a timeline can make a big impact on not just the success of your presentation but also on the ease in which you are able to hold yourself and share your message with others.
Don’t Trip Off the Stage!
“You can avoid the biggest mistakes on stage by the effort you put into your presentation off stage.”
When you are prepared, well practiced, and knowledgeable about what you are bringing to the table you will find that the pieces will come together a lot easier for you. Professional training can also greatly help your team take their speaking skills to the next level.
Do you feel that your team’s speaking skills could use some improvement? Does the task seem too big or too time consuming?
Leave it to Encore Consulting Group to prepare a customized curriculum to maximize the benefit of our courses based on your specific needs. Whether you need individual or team-based training, Encore Consulting has a game plan that is right for you.