10 most common mistakes when speaking in public

We share a list of things that people usually do when they stand in front of an audience and the solution for each of these failures.

Speaking in front of a number of people is not easy. Even if you are not aware of it, your audience evaluates you all the time. He will have no compassion for you and will decide in seconds if he wants to listen to you or not.

An inappropriate image, avoiding eye contact or bad diction can make your audience lose interest, so to avoid that your presentations when speaking in public are a bad experience, I share with you the 10 most common mistakes and how to correct them.

10 most common mistakes when speaking in public
10 most common mistakes when speaking in public

1. Take a shy or discouraged stance
The first impression you make is determined by your posture. Does it show that you know what you are going to talk about? Your body language reflects it. The security of your posture is in your torso, but don't think that raising your shoulders solves it.

What you should do: Place your feet in parallel (shoulder width), with the left foot take a small step back and place the hands in the shape of a triangle (bringing the fingertips and palms together), then shortly slowly move your hands as your message requires.

2. Not having a structure
Every unstructured message collapses. Speaking for speaking can be done by anyone, but catching the audience from the moment you open your mouth you do it by never forgetting that every story has an introduction, development and conclusion or closure, the latter is the most important of your message.

What you should do: Never improvise if you do n't have a structure and, above all, if you don't know where you want to take the audience with your song. In your introduction, speak in the past tense; in your development, in the present; in closing, in future.

3. Losing eye contact
Eye contact is so important in non-verbal communication that, when you speak in public, if you omit it, you will say without words “I am nervous” and also the audience will stop paying attention, because they will feel that you are not talking to them.

What you should do: Strengthen your eye contact before small audiences, in which it is very important to offer eye contact to each of the members of your audience while you speak. If you master this, large audiences will be easier.

4. Abuse the use of gestures or lack them
Your body expression is energy. If you speak with little energy the public responds to you in the same way, however if you exaggerate your energy the audience could reject you for perceiving that you are not authentic. Gestures are the adjectives of your words, therefore, they must be dosed, but never be conspicuous by their absence.

What you should do: I share with you a very useful exercise. In a short sentence, choose the word with the greatest force and give it a specific gesture.
If I say the phrase “quality is essential to our service”, the word “quality” can be represented with the gesture that indicates perfection (your thumb and index finger together forming a circle and the other fingers vertical). Be very careful not to make a gesture for each word of the sentence or you will kill its effect.

5. Talk at a low volume
Three out of four speakers speak at a low volume. This generates a poor impact. It is not about shouting but about projecting security with your voice. There are two crucial times to speak at a higher volume: the start and the end.

What you must do: Imagine that your voice is an energy device and that at the beginning of your message it is at its maximum capacity and that at the end it is also. Give strength to your words and security to your image.

6. Neglecting intonation
This is one of the most disastrous mistakes. Every time I give a training, I empower my clients to dare to speak with emotions, not only with logic. You should not confuse intonation with volume, they are two totally different things. Intonation is the specific emotion that you convey when saying something, for example, imagine that you say hello with a “good morning” with a different emotion each time: happy, angry, serious, insecure, surprised, fearful. Isn't it the same every time? That is the power of intonation. Connect emotionally.

What you must do: Say any phrase with a different emotion and each time mark a goal.

7. Speak at an inappropriate pace
Rhythm is speed when speaking. There are people who speak very fast, and others who speak very slowly. Which is better? None. The ideal is to learn to speak at different speeds as it suits you to achieve the objective of your message. When you want to wake up to action, say a phrase faster, instead, when you want to relax the audience or arouse their curiosity, speak slower.

What you must do: Write your message and decide where it is important to say a sentence faster or slower. Say your speech and watch the control that you achieve consciously of the strategic speed that you choose at any moment.

8. Speaking with bad diction
Once you know the importance of rhythm when speaking your diction must be perfect. If the audience does not clearly understand what you are saying, it is useless to know the previous techniques. In my experience as a coach for public speaking, I have found that sometimes the words with diphthongs or triptongs (augur, bat, neurolinguistics) are the ones that are more difficult to say. Why does this happen? Because we are not used to vocalizing or adopting the mouth opening correctly when saying each vowel.

What you should do: There is nothing better than practicing tongue twisters. It does not matter the speed, but that each word is understood. You can use a wooden stick, but place it right where you feel the most effort to speak. Although it makes you laugh at how you hear yourself speaking, do it.

9. Project that you do not know the subject
In image matters what the public perceives, not what you know. When you ramble or doubt it will seem that you do not know or are not sure what you are talking about. Many fall into this error. They trust that since they have a professional title and the subject they are going to talk about they know it, the audience will be excited by their wisdom and will stand up. You can master a theme but what counts is the “connection” you achieve with your ideas and emotions. Nerves in public speaking have shattered the strongest of character.

What you should do: Practice your message as many times as possible. Practice makes perfect, not luck. For every minute you speak you should practice seven more minutes.

10. Reflect little leadership and security
How is leadership and safety reflected in public speaking? When you have corrected all the previous points, your sense of control gives you security. You will not be able to avoid the nerves by magic.

What you should do: I recommend saying your message many times, and each time focus on improving one mistake at a time. If you intend to improve everything at once it will be very difficult for you.

By @DaavidNavarro

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