5 Public Speaking Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Credibility
I am fortunate that I get to attend LOTS of conferences, one day I might be in a small conference room with 50 engineers, the next day I could be on stage in front of 400 real estate agents all fired up like they have just had 10 cans of energy drink (I love the real estate industry for their unstoppable energy and thirst for success).
Attending all these different conferences I get to watch other presenters take the stage, some are professional speakers that have been paid to share their story or expertise, other times it will be industry speakers, who are not professional speakers but are seen as experts or leaders within their industry.
One thing that remains consistent across all industries is when you are asked to speak, people (often your peers), are looking to you as an expert, being asked to speak on stage you are being given instant approval and recommendation, you have been recognised as an authority or influencer in a particular area.
Being asked to deliver a presentation is your opportunity to shine, it is a moment that could be a huge game changer, this is your chance to communicate to a large group at once rather than trying to share an idea one person at a time. Unless you are a professional speaker the chances are the pressure of delivering the presentation will cause nerves (which is completely normal), these nerves may then translate in to actions or behaviours on stage that could damage your credibility.
Before I share with you 5 nervous behaviours I commonly see with internal speakers (and some professionals), I want you to understand that a lack of confidence is one of the biggest killers of trust, so when a speaker shows signs of uncertainty or a lack of confidence, alarm bells will go off in the minds of the audience.
Never say “I’m A Bit Nervous”
I am sure that Robbie Williams felt a bit (very) nervous before walking out to an audience of 375,000 at Knebworth House in 2003, but I am pretty sure he didn’t open with “good evening Knebworth, excuse me if I forget a couple of songs, I’m just a bit nervous”.
Your audience want to feel they are in safe hands, so however nervous you feel please resist the temptation to tell the audience.
Speak In To The Microphone
If you want to lose the audience fast then turn your head away from the microphone as you talk, or better yet hold it so low down its just above your belly button. A HUGE mistake that lots of inexperienced presenters make is not understanding how to use a microphone. If you are using a handheld microphone remember to hold it near your mouth remembering when you turn your head and speak you will go ‘Off Mic’. If you are speaking in to a lectern microphone make sure it's pointing towards you and again be careful of talking with a turned head. If you have a lapel microphone this will normally be fitted by the audio technician so you should be good, my preference is a head microphone, not because I want to look like Madonna, I like to have both hands free, also a head microphone will always be near the mouth.
Stop Pacing Up And Down
Some nervous presenters seem to have a habit of pacing up and down the stage, staring down as they are talking. Moving around the stage can be a good thing as it adds a dynamic edge, but that movement must be deliberate. If you are someone who paces up and down the stage STOP, make a conscious effort to stand still and make eye contact with the audience when delivering content.
Don’t Read Your Slides
Nothing is worse than sitting through a speaker who decides to recite word for word what is written on the slide. People do not attend a conference to be read to, they want stories that compliment what is on the slide. We could do an entire blog just on slide content, but thats a can of worms I am going to keep closed for the minute…. Just don’t read your slides!
Nervous presenters will often speak like they are trying to break the world record for speed talking, smashing your content out faster than Usain Bolt running the 100m sprint is going to make you look nervous and lead to disaster, either you will confuse the audience, or your mouth and brain will go out of sync, leaving you in the awkward situation where you have no idea what you were going to say. Take a breath and slow down.
So there you have it, 5 simple nervous behaviours that will damage your credibility.
If you are a looking to build your public speaking confidence and skillset there are still a couple of spots left for next 2 day public speaking and presenting workshop on the 20th and 21st February 2020.
Click the link below to find out all the details and register your spot.
Spaces are limited to 25 so book now.
Please pass this on to anyone you feel would benefit from the tips.
Thanks for stopping by,
Anthony - Take Action, Create Your Story
Many people in business are not reaching their full potential because they struggle with presentation skills or fear public speaking.
I help professionals, leaders and entrepreneurs deliver confident and impactful presentations, so when they speak people listen.