More Mistakes When Speaking – 6 to 10

6. Ending with question time – never end with questions. Take questions before you conclude, wrap up question time and then conclude strongly and stop talking. You want to leave them with your powerful take home message, not some contentious or irrelevant question asked by an audience member.

7. Speaking to your PowerPoint Slides – the PowerPoint slides are to add value to your message for your audience. They are not there to act as a prompt for you to talk to. The slides should have very little text and mostly images, graphs, photos or cartoons that amplify your spoken message.

8. Fiddling with things as you speak – I have seen many speakers fiddle with their fingers, jewelry and rings. They play with their spectacles and my pet hate; take up a pen and click it up and down while talking. All of these activities can potentially distract the audience’s attention away from your message.

9. Extraneous filler words – worse than uhm’s and ah’s. I recently heard a politician speak and in the first 5 minutes I counted 25 “actually’s”. If you think about it actually doesn’t really say anything at all actually and it could actually be done away with totally actually. Get my point. Over use of phrases “you know” and “etc etc” are other examples.

10. Preening while on the platform – preening refers to arranging your hair, straightening your jacket, adjusting your tie and so on. Preening is important, but you should do it before you take the stage. Preening on stage shows nerves and means that you are focusing on yourself, rather than focusing on the audience. So try not to preen while on stage, just be present and focused purely for the audience. If you are focused on the audience, then they will accept you regardless of you tie being slightly crooked.

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