Public Speaking is something everyone wants to learn, but only a few end up doing it right. Over the years, there have been many great speakers be it, Martin Luther King or Michelle Obama. But they all have one thing in common – they cover all the bases of a good public speaking engagement, including high-quality content and immersive delivery. Apart from the eventual ‘ah’ and ‘um’, they avoid committing any of the 7 deadly sins of public speaking. If you are unknown to them, keep reading to know all about the seven deadly sins of public speaking and how you can avoid them.
Following are the 7 Deadly Sins of Public Speaking that you must avoid at all costs:
Have you heard of that saying – if you fail to prepare, you must prepare to fail? It’s true in the case of public speaking as well. If you don’t prioritize preparing for your public speaking engagement, you can’t expect much success because even the biggest public speakers go on the stage prepared and practice till they know their material forward and backward.
Not preparing enough is the single biggest mistake of amateur public speakers and the first of 7 deadly sins of public speaking. So, strive to put more effort and prepare on all fronts beforehand.
If you tried to learn public speaking, you must have come across the notion of using facts to back up your statements. However, some speakers tend to overdo this part and Not preparing enough is the single biggest mistake of amateur public speakers
What they fail to understand is that if someone wanted a great dose of numbers, they could have read a few Wikipedia pages. But if you have people in your audience, you have to connect with them on a human level and value feelings over facts. In the short time slot, you should move your audience emotionally in some way to make them engage.
The third one on our list of 7 deadly sins of public speaking is apologizing unnecessarily. The speakers who start their speech with an apology for being nervous, or taking their time to deliver a speech are at a huge fault. By apologizing in the beginning, you’re making the audience lose confidence in you.
Public speaking is mostly about the fake it till you make it. To make it as a public speaker you must put a curtain over your nervousness and perform your part. By shining a spotlight on your nervousness, you’re reducing your value in front of a huge crowd.
Even the most amazing speeches in the history of humankind have been only a few minutes long. Because you see, humans have a short span of attention and a limited capability to retain information. If you exceed that limit, you’ll lose your audience’s attention and bore them, too. It’s one of the 7 deadly sins of public speaking to speak for longer than it’s required. Remember: the impact of what you say is inversely proportional to the length of time it takes for you to say it. So the longer your speech is, the less effective your words are.
Short speeches don’t mean that you can just fit in a ton of words in a limited time by talking at lightning-fast speed. By speaking too quickly, you’re giving your audience less time to process your words and more reasons to get distracted from your speech.
As a public speaker, you should recognize and harness the power of the pause. It’s an underrated tool in the arsenal of any speechmaker that makes all the difference. If you time your pauses and place them accurately, you can deliver your words with a greater sense of authority and gravitas.
If you don’t know why you are speaking about a particular matter or why it matters to your audience, you are committing one of the 7 deadly sins of public speaking. A speech without purpose is a waste of your and your audience’s time. A pointless speech is the worst thing you can do to your audience. It goes out to say that you don’t value their time enough to make it worthwhile to listen to you. It’s better to figure out the purpose of your speech and your target audience for it before inviting people to hear you.
This is perhaps the biggest one in the line of the 7 deadly sins of public speaking. Making an impression is utterly important in today’s world. Failing to do so can make you lose your brand value. It’s not shallow to consider your appearance, what you’re going to wear, and how you’re going to walk around before you deliver your speech. Instead, it’s necessary.
Dressing conservatively is one of the best ways to make a good first impression when you speak in front of an audience for the first time. The aim of your attire should be to not distract the audience from your words. So, any overstated jewelry, perfumes, hairstyle, or outrageous footwear should be avoided. If you want to be remembered for your awesome presentation and business skills rather than what you wore during the speech, your focus should be on dressing culture appropriately. If you are unsure of what to wear, you can take a picture and give yourself an honest appraisal. You can also ask a friend or family for feedback.
Now that you know the 7 deadly sins of public speaking, your mind must be buzzing with the question of how to avoid them. Our online public speaking course can help you and that teaches you all the dos and don’ts of this public speaking.
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Public speaking is a fundamental skill if you wish to make an impact on the crowd or sway people with your words. The greatest public speakers in history who managed to perform this art well had their distinct styles. So, it’s true that there’s no one right way of doing it, but there are definitely some wrongs.
These wrongdoings are called the 7 deadly sins of public speaking. Commit them, and you’ll tarnish your brand forever. Read this article to know all about the 7 deadly sins of public speaking and how to avoid them.
Jeremiah O’Brian is a faculty member at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. His exceptionally diverse background – from gritty nuts-and-bolts firefighting to film and theatre credits and accolades – is bolstered by his several graduate degrees.