1. Lack of preparation
If you’re unprepared as a speaker, it shows. You must take the time to know your topic and to rehearse your presentation until you’re comfortable with it. Practice your speech out loud, time it, and be prepared for questions afterward.
2. Speaking too long
Starting and ending your presentation late shows a lack of respect for the audience. People have busy schedules. Allow time to get to the presentation early, and know how to cut and summarize the presentation if you sense you’re running out of time.
3. Not knowing the audience
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a presenter is not meeting the need of your audience. If you’re giving the same speech to different groups, tailor it for each audience.
4. Projecting the wrong image
This is an instant credibility killer, and it’s related to mistake. A flashy outfit will not work if you’re speaking to bankers. A slick, “big city” style doesn’t do it for farmers. Study the audience ahead of time and dress and present appropriately.
5. Using visual aids ineffectively
If you fumble with visual aids, you’ll eventually lose credibility. Visuals should support and enhance the presentation, not take it over. Similarly, equipment that malfunctions can be disastrous to the speech. Check out all of our equipment before you speak, and have a backup plan in case the equipment fails.
6. Including too much material/Starting with detail
More is better, right? Not really. You can overwhelm the audience with too much data. People can’t digest information if you give them too much to chew on, so give them the condensed version. If you do, you’ll make your points more easily and be more memorable.
7. Using inappropriate humour
Audiences are politically sensitive. All it takes is one questionable joke or statement to turn people off. Never tell off-colour jokes. The best bet is to make fun of yourself-or avoid jokes altogether.
8. Speaking in a monotone
Audience members will be bored if you’re a monotone speaker. Too many speakers fail to realise the importance voice modulation has on the success of their presentation.
9. Speaker-centred/No relationship with the audience
To be effective as a speaker, you must connect with your audience. If you’re self-absorbed and you simply recite a speech, you’ll soon be talking in a vacuum. No one will be listening. Too many presenters start with their agenda and then wonder why they don’t get the desired response from the audience. Begin your presentation from the listener’s point of view and continue to address what’s important to them.
10. Offering weak evidence
Some speakers don’t support ideas without solid data or evidence. After you made a point give some evidence to support your point. How? By including statistics, personal stories, examples, analogies, demonstrations, pictures, testimonials, conceptual models, and historical data.
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