If you’re new to public speaking, you realize just how daunting of a task it can be, particularly if you’re not the best at talking directly to an audience. But even those who have done a considerable amount of public speaking still will tell you that mistakes will happen.
Even ones that you’d call “rookie mistakes.”
Those types of speaking missteps have to do with common public speaking miscues that are overlooked by men and women who aren’t necessarily as accustomed to doing it, and thus use their public speaking opportunity and subsequent forum to find their niche on how to speak properly in public.
The easiest mistake surprisingly has nothing to do with practice but is more about research. You should know your topic, but more importantly you have to gear what you’re saying to your audience, so if you don’t know who you’re talking to, that’s a sign you haven’t done proper homework and thus are destined to fail, or at the very least struggle mightily.
Whether you’re a writer or a speaker, you have to consider your audience and write or speak on that level. If you’re in a work situation, and you’re talking to new interns, you probably need to speak overall about what the job expectations are, not go over the 3rd and 4th quarter financials.
Another easy mistake to make also has nothing to do with practicing how to speak in front of a mirror but rather how you look that day. You have to sure that you look the part. You’re in the front of a room, talking most likely to peers or management, and if you’re dressed like casual Friday, the whole experience for the audience is going to lose a ton of credibility. Dress for success also means that you’re going to be expected to wear clothing for this presentation or speech that is proper and fits the tone of the engagement.
Of course, even the best dressed and most adept person at understanding their audience won’t make it very far on overconfidence and being devoid of practicing. Practice when it comes to public speaking does make perfect and those who are really good at it understand completely that you can’t become an expert or even comfortable with it, if you’re not doing it all the time or prepping for that speech by rehearsing it.
If you think that sounds silly, don’t. The best in the business practice and read that speech until they can recite it from memory. That isn’t the goal for you, but the more you review it, the more comfortably you’ll look and feel in front of the room.