Mistakes to Avoid When Speaking Publicly

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In Singapore, there actually are institutions to learn and improve in public speaking. But, many people get scared of it, and for understandable reasons. If you’re having difficulty with speech, you might be making some mistakes that you fail to notice too.

Inadequate preparation

Preparing your presentation or speech just before the event can be a recipe for disaster. Even though you think you’re good enough a speaker, it most likely won’t work very well. You might forget important points in your speech and even disorganize the whole presentation. 

Having enough preparation also extends to knowing your audience. Even if you’re well-prepared, it will not matter if you fail to connect with your audience.

Poor posture and body language

Good posture and body language can affect your voice, presence on stage, and your credibility as a speaker. Also, actions like fidgeting with your fingers, keeping your hands in your pockets, standing only in one place or not moving at all, and etc. can be very distracting. Of course, all this is warranted only if you have a purpose for doing these actions and you’re not doing them repeatedly.

Using too many jokes

Using humor to break the ice can be a great way to engage with your audience early on. But, you don’t want to use jokes too much throughout your presentation (especially with profound topics) as you’ll only look less serious. It’s hard to gauge the right timing and how much humor to use in a presentation. The only thing to remember is to be natural, humor will surely follow through.

Problems with our voice

  • Low/soft voice: If you think this isn’t much of a problem because there are microphones, not so fast. Having a soft voice can display a lack of influence and authority when speaking publicly. This can easily affect the audience’s attention and response to you as the speaker. If, for example, the audience gets bored and begin to chatter among themselves, chances are you’ll get overpowered by the noise and lose control.
  • Fast speech:Most people also don’t notice how fast they are speaking. Fast speech makes it difficult for the audience to understand you and only shows you’re nervous. A good tip to get fight against this is to practice your speech as slowly as possible, reading the words exaggeratingly slow. This may feel alienating at first, but it can definitely help. After a few rounds of slow reading, try increasing the pace but still focusing on your enunciation.
  • The case of fillers: In case you’re asking, examples of fillers are “um”, “like”, “ok”, and “uh”. Now, many people would say that for an effective presentation, you should completely get rid of these fillers to sound confident and scholarly.

There’s a big BUT here though. Try listening to a speech without any fillers and you’ll find that the voice is monotone, almost robotic. That simply means, completely abandoning the use of fillers isn’t really a good idea.

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