You have to present important results at work soon? Or give a casual speech at your sister's wedding?
There are many occasions when it is important to convey a certain message to an audience. As authentic, relaxed and self-confident as possible. Best of all with the right pinch of humour. Because that way you have your audience right on your side... Right?
Unfortunately, the bitter truth is that a speech can turn into an embarrassing disaster more quickly than you would like... Just a few little things not thought through and the spontaneous interlude turns into a catastrophe. Of course nobody wants that! Neither the speaker nor his audience.
We would like to prevent you from becoming the laughing stock of your colleagues, friends or family during your next presentation and therefore show you in this article which mistakes you should never make.
Please be careful not to follow in Uncle Erwin's footsteps on Grandma's last birthday. Man, that was awkward...
By the way: If you want to skip the "No Gos" and directly know the "Must Dos", just download our free checklist "Perform safely & present successfully". In it you will find 9 ultimate tips for preparing, structuring and presenting your next speech. Your next performance will be a blast!
Talk: If you avoid those 12 mistakes, you'll wow your audience!
1. start boring
Please do not distribute acoustic sleeping pills to your listeners at the beginning. If you do not surprise your audience in the first 10 seconds of your speech, you have lost it. They won't listen to you for the rest of your speech and will drift away in their thoughts.
2. communicate too much information
Don't bombard your listeners with too much input. Even your number-crazy boss can only remember two or three points at the end of your presentation. So leave out everything that doesn't support your core message or can lead to confusion. And don't forget to summarize the essence of your presentation at the end.
3. do not install entertaining elements
If your presentation lacks exciting details, interesting quotes, funny pictures, bizarre facts or similar, the interest of your audience will immediately vanish. If you only tell dry facts without incorporating them into stories, you will quickly lose your attention to Instagram, Whatsapp and Facebook on your listeners' mobile phones.
Fourth speech: Do not make eye contact
You want to create trust and credibility? Then do not underestimate the importance of eye contact! If you do not consciously look your listeners in the eyes, they will not feel addressed. But beware: Do not exaggerate! If you fixate on a person for too long, they may feel harassed.
5. too few pauses in speech
Many of us do not like to speak in front of larger groups. Please realize that it is not a good solution to want to finish as soon as possible. If you don't give space to what you are saying by pausing after important information or changes of thought, your audience will hardly be able to remember anything. The same applies, by the way, to speaking too fast.
6. not bad body language when giving a speech
We could write a whole "No Go" book on this point. Let's limit ourselves to the most important ones:
Hand movements below the waist create a negative effect on the audience. So please avoid it at all costs!
Overturned legs lead to an unstable, tilted position. This makes you seem clumsy and insecure.
Wandering around with no destination: Unless you are heading for a specific destination like a flipchart, your wandering around looks like an awkward evasive maneuver.
Too much gesticulation is as bad as your typical "shock-induced paralysis." Moving is good and loosens up, but please not too extreme.
Hide: Please do not use the lectern, your notes or your crossed arms to hide from your audience. Even if this behaviour gives you a feeling of security, it will be perceived by your audience as insecurity.
7. do not hold too crowded slides during the speech
For example, if you work with Powerpoint, please do not pack your slides too full! If your listeners have to concentrate on your speech and reading a desert of texts at the same time, you've already lost them.
8. "Thank you for your attention"
Yawn! This final phrase, which is used far too often, gives rise to the suspicion that the speaker himself is aware that his words were actually an imposition. If you end your presentation with a sentence that is rich in content, it will echo in the minds of your audience as the last thought. Isn't that much better?
Nine. Holding speech: Don't handout too long.
Many speakers make the mistake of creating a handout that reflects 1 to 1 their presentation. This is bullshit! A handout, unlike your presentation, should be self-explanatory. So for the handout you will probably still have to add a few elements.
10. do not practice
No time is no excuse. A presentation that has not been practiced immediately attracts negative attention from the audience. If you don't at least take the time to talk through the beginning and the end of your presentation out loud - and preferably in front of a test audience - you are wasting a lot of potential.
11. too little self-confidence
You shiver at the mere thought of a speech in front of more than 10 people? Sweaty hands and racing pulse included? Don't make yourself crazy. Nobody expects you to give a Martin Luther King speech the first time. And every person who wants to give creative speeches and present them in an exciting way can learn the necessary skills to do so. I promise!
12. taking yourself too seriously
This point does NOT mean that you should not take your lecture seriously. BUT: If you make a mistake, get lost or have a blackout - don't see it as the end of the world! Take a deep breath, laugh at yourself and go on.
FAIL: Twelve biggest No Gos making a speech!
In this article we have presented you a total of 12 presentations No Gos, which you should definitely avoid in your next speech. If you use this advice carefully, you will avoid embarrassing moments in the future. Promise!
Which tip helped you the most? What was new to you? And did you perhaps even catch yourself in some No Gos?
Share your opinion with us in the comments. We are also very happy to receive further suggestions.
If you are just about to give a presentation at school, university or at work... Or if you are due to give a speech at a family celebration, you can download our free checklist "Perform confidently & present successfully" here.
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