OK, so your speech has been written and rehearsed. You know the demographic of the audience, you’ve studied their interests and understand their expectations. You have performed your voice warm-up exercises and have made sure that a glass of water has been placed within your reach and you are ready to deliver your presentation.
So what could possibly go wrong? Why is the audience so distracted as you deliver your speech faultlessly? It could only be – your irritating mannerisms.
Surely not! After all, you don’t have any mannerisms! Do you?
So many speakers spoil their carefully prepared speeches by being totally unaware of their mannerisms – distracting habits that will divert an audiences’ attention away from your words and concentrate their focus on nothing else but your affectations.
Are you guilty of any of the following habits? Be truthful with yourself or, if that proves to be too difficult, ask a trusted friend to honestly lay bare your most irritating habits.
1. Are you a Leaner and Swayer? Many speakers continually shift their weight from one foot to the other, swaying first one way, then another. Others will rock forward and backwards from heel to toe as they deliver their speech. These movements are always performed unconsciously but can make an audience truly giddy. Make an effort to become aware of your movement and balance when speaking and work towards remaining upright.
2. Are you a Scratcher or Ear Puller? Some speakers feel that a thoughtful scratch of the head or pull of the ear will convey the impression that they are giving deep consideration to the matter in hand. Unfortunately, these mannerisms can so easily become habit forming as they give some form of sub-conscious comfort to the speaker. Always remember though, scratching is catching and before long you’ll have the whole audience scratching too!
3. Are You an N.B. & C.? This is an abbreviation for a Nose Blower and Cougher. Speakers with these mannerisms appear to be suffering from a heavy cold but in reality their frequent clearing of the throat and wiping of the nose is merely a nervous habit they have developed. This is most irritating to the audience and most frightening to any hypochondriac who may be sitting in the front row!
If you find yourself constantly needing to clear your throat, practice swallowing instead and always make sure that you have a glass of room-temperature water to hand during your speech.
Mannerisms affect us all and in any other walk of life they generally won’t matter at all. However, if you are delivering a speech to an audience, your mannerisms – or lack of them – may make the difference between being remembered as an excellent public speaker, or an extremely irritating one.
Which one would you prefer to be?
To discover how you too can deliver a successful speech every time without fail, be sure to get your complimentary copy of Jane Thomas’s 7-part video eCourse showing you exactly how to become a Superstar Speaker. You’ll also be able to find many more public speaking tips simply by following the highlighted links.
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