Top 5 Public Speaking Mistakes Beginners Make

Public speaking is no easy feat, but it can be especially difficult for beginners.  The last thing you want to do is stand on stage and appear as a “newbie.”  Rather, you want to appear confident and earn the respect of your audience.  The truth is, even the most business-savvy and intelligent people can end up botching a presentation if they are inexperienced.  Here are the top 5 public speaking mistakes every beginner should avoid. 

They Don’t Prepare Enough

Many rookie presenters are unaware of how to effectively prepare for a presentation.  They tend to jot down a few notes, make sure their media is working properly, and assume they can just wing it on stage.  Wrong! Nothing is more detrimental to a presentation than lack of preparation.  Seasoned presenters do mounds of research prior to their presentation to ensure they are experts on the subject and can answer any question that comes their way.  They make multiple drafts of their presentation and practice it in its entirety in front of a mock audience.  Furthermore, they have a backup plan in case there are technical difficulties or challenging audience members.  Preparation is key when it comes to delivering a powerful presentation.

Data Focused Presentation

Another common mistake made by rookie presenters is overloading the audience with facts and figures.  Beginners believe that throwing stats at the audience will make them appear knowledgeable on the topic.  In reality, it will come across as boring and confusing.  Expert presenters understand the need to create a connection between the audience and the information being presented.  They make it a point to use stories, narratives, and images to make the information more meaningful to the audience.

Rushing Through the Material

Nothing screams ‘beginner’ quite like a presenter who rushes through the material.  It is expected to be nervous when giving your first presentation, but it is important to learn how to channel your nerves.  Nervousness can lead to a faster heartbeat and can cause presenters to talk more quickly.  Presenters who speak slowly, however, appear far more poised and confident than those who talk fast.  Not to mention, slowing down gives you more time to formulate your thoughts and allows your audience to process the information.

They are Too Serious

Undoubtedly, a beginner is going to be nervous about giving their first presentation.  As a result, they tend to be very serious and formal during their presentation.  The stiff and rigid formality can actually make the audience feel uncomfortable and cause them to lose interest.  If you want your audience to connect with you, try appearing more natural and informal.  This will help you to appear more authentic and you are more likely to engage your audience.

Awkward Gestures and Movements

You can always spot an amateur presenter by paying attention to their body language.  Nervous speakers tend to show their inexperience by crossing their arms, fidgeting with their hands, standing still, pacing back and forth, or failing to maintain eye contact.  All of these are common mistakes made by beginners because they let their nerves get the best of them.  Instead, be aware of the distracting mannerisms and avoid using them during your presentation.