Avoid 5 of The Biggest Public Speaking Mistakes

Don’t Be That Speaker

fire up your public speaking skills
© Can Stock Photo / AndreyPopov

Conferences, workshops, company meetings.  We’ve all been to public speaking presentations that did not fulfill expectations.  The speaker doesn’t deliver, his content falls flat, and everyone is disappointed, feeling like they wasted their time.

When you’re asked to present for whatever reason, don’t be that speaker.

Here are the key mistakes to avoid in public speaking

  1. Being Boring.  There’s nothing worse than a dry, monotone speaker who has zero enthusiasm.  Avoid that by getting excited about your content, by varying your pitch, speech rate, volume and vocal tone.  Your energy and passion is contagious: show it and fire up your audience.

2. Relying on AV.  “Death by Powerpoint,” means standing there and reading your slides.  If you must use slides, have big photos and very few words.  Use funny slides. Videos are great, but audio can fail. Let your material stand on its own.

3. Letting Anxiety Win  Everyone gets nervous; good speakers convert that adrenaline into enthusiasm. Shaking, high pitched voices, pacing or licking your lips are all signs of anxiety.

Instead of giving into the nerves, do this:
• Breathe deeply from the belly
• Swallow rather than clearing your throat
• Shrug your shoulder and roll your neck
• Smile and realize everyone wants you to succeed
• Practice and “own” your message
• Visualize a successful outcome – Believe in the value you offer

4. No eye contact and no smiles.  Audiences don’t trust speakers who won’t look them in the eye.  Smiling at people shows you’re confident.

5. No audience involvement.  Today’s audiences have very short attention spans, and if they can look at their phones while you’re speaking, they will.  Engage them every 10 minutes.  Use dyads, small groups, ask questions, do surveys, play games. Get them on their feet engaging with your material.

Sooner or later, almost every professional has to do public speaking.  Know your content well, practice, get the nerves out before you go on, and smile.  Get everyone involved, having fun, and they are sure to remember you and your message – in a good way.


A 25 year professional speaker, Snowden provides private coaching on presentation skills. Contact her at 904-200-6995 or email her at orders@firedupnow.com to schedule your session.

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The 1 Key to Great Presentations

Do This and You Cannot Fail

AYP4LRSo many people ask me as a professional speaker how to overcome nervousness and anxiety about public speaking.

And the answer is really simple: PREPARATION.  The more you prepare in 4 ways, the more likely you will be confident, relaxes and effective in your speaking.

#1 Prepare your material
Know what you are going to say inside and out.  Research it, cite  sources, know your facts, and most of all, have great stories. People love stories and they remember them.

#2 Prepare your audience.  Get to know them in advance.  What are they worried about?  How you can help them with your material?  What are their victories and can you share about them?  Can you make them heroes? Ask questions, get their participation, enroll them in using social media, if appropriate, with hashtags, etc.

# 3 Prepare your space.  Know where you will be presenting and if possible, control the room set.  Make it easy for everyone to see you, and if you use AV, make sure it works. I don’t encourage people to use Powerpoint® because it can be so boring.  Instead, give action worksheets and get your audience involved with your speech.

#4 Prepare yourself. Practice what you are going to say in front of friends and get their feedback.  Don’t memorize- it’s fine to have notes.  Tell stories and demonstrate a sense of humor. Have lines ready for when you flub up.  Your ability to laugh at yourself shows confidence and relaxes the audience.  They want you to succeed. Pick professional clothes that show off your best features.  Be polished and ready.  Smile and be yourself.

Now go fire them up!


For more information about how to present , check out my latest new audio CD and mp3.

Fire Up! Your Presentation Skills!
(especially helpful for Introverts)

HAPPINESS CD1 artMost everyone gets nervous when they have to give a presentation. In this comprehensive audio, you’ll learn:

• how to overcome fear, no matter who you have to speak to
• the most important things to know as you prepare
• the best tools to relax while you are speaking
• how to harness the power of body language
• the winning formula for a good speech
• how even introverts can become excellent speakers

Only  $20.00 mp3



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Fire Up Your Presentations

Whenever you stand up to speak, whether it’s for a 30 second self-introduction or a 2 hour sales presentation, remember to finish with Fired Up! enthusiasm. The close to your talk is critical.

Presentation Tip: Finish with Enthusiasm

Whenever you stand up to speak, whether it’s for a 30 second self-introduction or a 2 hour sales presentation, remember to finish with Fired Up! enthusiasm. The close to your talk is critical.

Fired Up presenterI recently watched a speaker do a nice job on their presentation, using props and true life stories. (Stories are an excellent way to grab an audience’s attention and share a message.)

At the end, however, their voice trailed off like they were tired and the audience missed their final point. They sounded like they no longer were interested.

You want to leave a positive impression on the listener; that’s what they’ll take with them. Finish with an upbeat, confident tone of voice and relevant story, quote or question. Close with some benefit to them, and do so sincerely and with energy. People never forget genuine Fired Up! enthusiasm; don’t let them forget you!


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 ©2011 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication 
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