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  • Writer's pictureBryan Emerson

TOP TEN MISTAKES OF PUBLIC SPEAKERS


The speech is poorly prepared:

1. Too long for designated time, resulting in skipping information or rushing.

2. Unsuitable for audience: too simplistic or too advanced or different than what audience was lead to expect by organizers or publicity.

3. Is unfamiliar with audio-visual equipment, resulting in problems with volume, visual display, timing, CDs or disks that can’t play on equipment, etc.

4. Poorly organized- flow is illogical, points are not supported with evidence or examples, it has no introduction or conclusion.

5. Too detailed. People can only remember a few points.

The speaker’s delivery is unintelligible:

6. Spoken to the screen or to the podium.

7. Too fast or too quiet.

The visuals are indiscernible:

8. Too small to read.

9. Too busy.

10. Indiscriminantly colored: dark on dark, light on light, or clashing.


TOP TEN WAYS TO ENSURE A GOOD PRESENTATION

Prepare for the audience:

1. Be respectful of your audience: their level of knowledge, interest, and time.

2. Send descriptive information to your organizer for introductions and publicity.

3. Answer a “what’s in it for me” question for the audience.

Prepare for the location:

4. Know the audio-visual equipment, lighting, room size, number of people, location.

5. Bring a back up, like a printed copy of your speech, in case the AV fails.

6. Have a contact person’s name and phone number. Give that person your cell phone number.


Plan a clear, easy-to-remember structure for the speech

7. Introduction, a few points with supporting evidence, Conclusion of main points.


Plan visuals

8. Create simple visuals that reinforce, rather than compete with your verbal delivery. Humor is usually an effective mnemonic device. 10% of men are color blind, and colors are not consistent from screen to screen. Favor patterns rather than color to differentiate in graphs.

Practice the speech

9. With a timer and an outline, in the car, with the slides, with the written speech.

10. Find holes in your speech and prepare for logical questions by asking yourself “who, what, when, where, why, how” questions. Do you answer in one paragraph a question posed earlier? If not, you will lose your audience.

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