"mistakes"Half of the battle of speaking in public is avoiding pitfalls. Unfortunately, however, may people get trapped by these pitfalls because they are extremely nervous, or because they have never been taught how to successfully speak in front of an audience.

In an effort to make the best public speaking presentation possible, today, I want to share with you some of the most common mistakes that people make and why you should avoid them.

Looking Down. I see it all too often; people get up in front of an audience and immediately look down at the podium and don’t raise their heads even one time throughout their entire presentation. It’s almost as if they think that by looking down, their audience isn’t there. Well, I have new for you; your audience is still there and they are looking at you, and by looking down, you are making them completely disinterested in your speech. So, look up. Make eye contact. You don’t have to look at each and every person in the eye, but make it look like you are. Move your head, drift your eyes over the crowd. When you lift up your head and make eye contact, you will instantly engage your audience and make a connection with them, which will lead to a much more successful presentation.

Reading. Another mistake that is all too commonly made is reading. People read off of their note cards, making their speech a read aloud, rather than a speech. It sounds unprofessional and cold when you do this. In order to avoid reading your speech, don’t write the whole thing down! Jot down a few key points on some note cards and use those key points as references. If you don’t have your whole speech written out, you won’t be tempted to read it. Easy enough.

Too Much Gesturing. Another mistake that people make is too much gesturing. Perhaps it’s because they are nervous, or maybe it’s because they don’t know what to do with their hands; whatever the reason, too much gesturing distracts the audience and makes you look, well, silly. To avoid this mistake, keep your hands on the podium in front of you. You may certainly make gestures here and there throughout your speech, but be mindful of how often you are making them. Too many gestures and you may look like you are waving at your audience or casting a spell.


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