Speak Uneasy: What not to do when speaking publicly

Who hasn’t made a “Do’s” and “Don’ts” list about just about anything?

From relationships to work and everything in between, you always tend to weight the good with the bad.

But have you done that with one of the bigger fears for any human being?

Public speaking ranks as the most fearful and avoided task anyone can possibly partake in, whether you’re giving a presentation at work or asked to be the Best Man or Maid of Honor at a friend or family member’s wedding.

Everyone knows that public speaking is difficult for most, and that you should have a list of things you should be doing when you’re talking in front of and to a group of people: eye contact, for instance comes to mind right away, along with being dressed properly for the speech at hand.

That said, there are a slew of misses that center on what you shouldn’t be doing when you’re giving a speech, and easily the most obvious is not prepping and planning your speech as far as duration is concerned.

How many of you have been privy to a speech that was too long? Or one that was going nowhere fast and seemed as though it was more about being wordy than the actual context of the speech?

Those typically are the result of not knowing your audience or actually going through an editing process when you’re writing your speech. Even if you have a speech that isn’t too long and seems as though it hits all the key points with no problem, then chances are you haven’t practiced it, and the greats at public speaking practice until the speech is perfect.

That practice piece of the puzzle also will lead to you not looking as though you are reading the speech, which is another no no. You want to have notes, note cards or points you have jotted down that you want to touch on, but if you’re up there reading verbatim then you’ve missed the point entirely that public speaking should be engaging and smart, and not come across to the audience like you are struggling or begrudgingly giving this speech.

Finally, one element of a speech that often looks as though little effort was put it or you’re relying too heavily on everything but your voice and non-verbal communication is the overuse of visual aids. Who hasn’t had a speaker who seems less interested in winning us over with their voice versus one power point after another.

Being great at public speaking has to start with being good first, and keeping to the basics of what not to do allows you to skip the trial and error portion of the learning curve.