Bad public speaking habits can absolutely derail even the most professional speaker. Make sure you’re in the clear by knowing what to avoid.
Here are nine of the biggest public speaking quirks you’ll want to steer clear of during your next presentation.
1. Reading Directly From Your Slides
You were probably able to get away with this during your school days, but you’re a professional now. There’s no reason why you should read directly from your slides.
Not only does it waste your audience’s time, but it makes you come across as if you didn’t bother to prepare.
2. Failing to Properly Message Your Speech
Even if you’ve never delivered a public speech in your life, you probably understand the importance of targeting a speech to one’s audience.
Every speech has an audience, no matter how casual or formal. Establishing your audience helps you establish your tone during the writing process.
3. Over Gesticulating
Pay close attention if you’re someone who tends to speak with their hands. Overly gesticulating is problematic, as it distracts the audience from your speech.
Hand signals in and of themselves aren’t bad, but make sure you don’t let your hands do all the talking.
It’s common to feel nervous before giving a speech, even if you’re only addressing a small number of people.
Nervous quirks like hand-wringing, foot tapping, and pen clicking lessen the impact of your message.
Instead of your great ideas, all the audience will be able to focus on is how nervous you seem.
5. Talking Down to Your Audience
Nobody likes a know-it-all. Ineffective public speaking occurs because a speaker doesn’t understand how to properly address his or her audience.
It’s important that you come across as professional by including data-driven facts but don’t appear pompous. Smile, make eye contact and keep a friendly demeanor.
6. Appearing Too Casual
Certain entrepreneurs, such as Steve Jobs, could get away with wearing something simple like a black turtleneck sweater and jeans.
You’re not quite at that level yet.
It’s important to dress the part of a professional, so skip the casual wear in favor of a nice suit jacket or blazer.
7. Turning Your Back to Your Audience
Turning your back on your audience is just as unforgivable as reading from your slides. Even if you can recite your presentation word for word, turning your back makes you harder to hear.
If this is one of the bad public speaking habits you’re guilty of, keep a copy of your presentation near you at the front of the stage or table.
8. Fluctuating Your Volume and Pacing
A monotone speaker is a surefire way to put your audience to sleep. But don’t get so caught up in your own nervous quirks that you inadvertently raise and lower the volume of your voice every other word.
Try and keep a natural, consistent pace. Think of your speech not as a monologue, but as a conversation.
9. Creating a Lackluster Ending
As you begin to wrap up your speech, make sure you close on a big point. A lackluster ending can be awkward, as the audience may not realize you’ve finished.
Avoid These Public Speaking Quirks to Improve Your Next Speech
What do you think? Did you notice any public speaking quirks on our list that you’re guilty of?
If so, it’s not the end of the world. Keep at it and you’re sure to be a better public speaker in no time.
Looking for more tips on public speaking? I’ve given speeches around the globe and would be happy to talk with you. Get in touch with me today and I’ll return your message as soon as I can.