What NOT To Do When Giving A Public Speech


I want to show you ten things you should never do when giving a public speech.

​There are so many things that you should not do during a public speech, and for new speakers it is very hard to know what you should, and should not do when you are on stage and speaking to an audience.

​What I wanted to create for you is a checklist of ten things that you need to make sure that you do not do when you are giving a presentation, or a public speech.

​These are the most common mistakes that I see people make, and they are guaranteed to disengage your audience, and make your public speech less effective than it could be otherwise.

1. Do Not Read Off Your Slides

​If you are using a PowerPoint presentation, or a Keynote presentation, it is very important that you do not read from your slides.

Your slides should not be cues for you on how you should present your public speech, and you should never turn your back to the audience to read the slide.

You have just completely disengaged yourself, because they can no longer see you. They cannot see your face. They cannot see your mouth moving. All they can see is your back.

So, what we do not want to do is be reading from our slides.

​One of the best presenters of the latest era was Steve Jobs, and he never read from his slides, he used them to emphasize what he was saying, and as a supplement to his speech. Not to direct his speech.

2. Do Not Put Your Hands In Your Pockets

​Do not put your hands in your pocket, or keep them stationary anywhere else on your body. A lot of people will put their hands in their pocket, and fiddle with keys in their pocket, or put their hands clasped together in front of their groin. You are drawing attention to the wrong part of your body, okay?

This is not something that you want to be doing.

You need to make sure that when you are using your hands, you need to have natural gestures, and again, gestures that supplement what you are saying, and what your message is all about.

​When you are using your hands in such a way that it is actually taking away from your presentation – that is something that we do not want to be doing.

​So, stay natural, stay positive, use gestures in a way that compliments what you say and try not to do awkward things with your hands during your speech.

3. Do Not Embarrass Anyone In The Room

​You do not want to call out anyone, or embarrass anyone, or make a fool of anyone when you are giving a public speech (unless it is a best man speech).

This is a public arena, you want to be careful to be completely respectful of the podium that you have, and the platform that you have, and by calling someone out and embarrassing someone, that can backfire on you. So, avoid doing that.

4. Do Not Spend The Whole Time Looking At The Floor

​Do not spend the whole time looking at the floor, or excessively looking at your notes. You want to engage with the audience.

You want to use eye-contact. You want to know your topic, know your speech, and be able to engage with the audience, and to draw them into what you are saying.

If you are looking at the floor, looking at your feet, looking at your notes excessively. People are going to notice that, and people are going to stop engaging with you, because you are not engaging with them.

So, do not look at the floor throughout your entire presentation, look at people within the crowd.

5. Do Not Say Your Are Nervous or Not Good at Public Speaking

​Do not call yourself out and say that you are not as good as you actually are, because people want you to succeed.

People do not want to sit down and listen to someone who is going to completely fail. People are giving away their precious attention, and they want to give it to someone who is confident, and someone who can deliver meaning into their life.

​So, by saying that you are nervous, or saying that you are not very good at this, you are downgrading yourself, and making people less likely to engage with you. So, never call yourself out on those certain things.

6. Do Not Try And Be Someone Else

Always try and be yourself. If you are not a completely funny person do not try and be a stand-up comedian.

You do not need to be Tony Robins, do not need to be a Motivational Speaker if you are not. People will engage with you much more easily if you are honest, and act like yourself.

Let your personality shine through.

People want to listen to people, they do not want to listen to monotone robots. So, be yourself, let your personality show.

7. Do Not Use Big Words

​Do not use big words unless absolutely necessary.

On many occasions people talk in a language that their audience does not understand.

They may be deep within an industry, and understand all the lingo, and with their colleagues they use a certain lingo because they can communicate faster that way.

But, when you are talking to a crowd you need to think about who is in that crowd and what will they understand. And, if you absolutely have to use big words because there is no other way to explain your point, then make sure you define what that word means before you continue on during your speech.

So, say the big word, define it, and then move on.

8. Do Not Pace Back and Forth Habitually

​We do not want to draw attention to things that do not complement our message. And, pacing back and forth like you are in a marching band, or something like that will distract people.

People will start to think, “Why is he doing that? Why is she doing that? Why are they pacing back and forth?” And, it will get them off side.

So, do not pace back and forth – be natural in your movements. Move around, be natural.

9. Do Not Fidget With Things

Do not fidget with a pen, do not fidget with the pointer, do not fidget with rings on your fingers, do not fidget with your keys.

If you have to hold nothing.

Try and be natural, as if you are having a conversation with your friend.

10. Do Not Hold Onto The Pulpit For Dear Life – It Won’t Save You

​Do not hold onto the pulpit for dear life, but move around the stage.

I see so many people when they are giving a speech is that they are just glued to one spot. They refuse to move, either out of fear, or just they are too busy concentrating on delivering their speech that they are – they forget to move around the stage.

And, no matter how long your speech is, if you are standing in one spot, you will lose people’s interest a lot more than if you are moving around.

Moving makes things more interesting, as well it changes the sound in the room that that person is hearing because all of a sudden you are on the left side of their body, and then you are on the right side of their body. It helps to keep people engaged.

​So there are the ten things that you should never do when giving a public speech.

I hope this list of what not to do when speaking in public has been really helpful to you.

Take these concepts, take these tips, review your own public speaking either on video or audio, and see whether you are doing any of these things. And, if you are make a mental note of it and try not to do it next time.

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