The Top Ten Things a Good Public Speaker Must Never Do

By: Tony Hall

There is lots of advice you can gain about how to become a confident and successful public speaker. You can learn all about preparation, style, and content and how to get the audience on your side. These are all vital aspects of becoming a great speech maker. But there are equally some important things you simply must never do.

Here's a quick guide to some of them:

#1

Don't Be Late

Make sure you know the timings of the event and arrive in plenty of time to set up and prepare. Ensure that you know where you are going and how long it will take to get there. Be sure to establish the program of events and when it is that you are scheduled to talk.

#2

Don't Overrun

Know what the time-frame is and stick as close to it as you can. It is better to finish a little early, perhaps allowing time for questions which you can politely bring to a halt when your allotted time is up, rather than going on for too long.

#3

Don't Drink Alcohol

Certainly never drink alcohol during your speech but also avoid it prior to speaking. You may think it will calm your nerves but in fact it can have adverse effects on your speech. And your audience doesn't want to be breathing in your alcohol fumes.

#4

Don't Slouch

Be careful how you stand and never stand with your hands in your pockets as you speak.

#5

Don't Act Like a Statue

It is not necessary or desirable for you to stand still throughout your talk. In fact many accomplished speakers tend to walk around the stage or presentation area to good effect. However don't wander too far and certainly don't stand behind any member of your audience. And be sure not to continually shuffle from one foot to the other or keep taking a step forward and a step back.

#6

Don't Use Your Mouth For Anything But Talking

It's perfectly acceptable to take the occasional sip of water during your talk. In fact you can sometimes use it as a means of pausing to give your audience chance to digest a point. But that apart, don't eat or drink during your speech, and certainly never smoke or chew gum!

#7

Don't Use Offensive Language or Terms

Never curse or swear or use any other terms or language that could offend your audience. Even if you are addressing a group of people you know well keep to correct language, after all there are thousands of perfectly good words in the English Language you can use without descending to gutter-speak!

#8

Don't Be Critical Of Other People

As part of your preparation you should find out who is likely to be in your audience. But beware, because you are unlikely to know who all of them are. So never criticize other people, such as colleagues or bosses, and if it is a business presentation do not be critical of your competitors or even your customers. You never know who might be watching and listening!

#9

Don't Be Negative

People really do not want to come and listen to someone have a good old moan. Always use positive language and seek to inspire.

#10

Don't Be Miserable

Don't mumble or be miserable, it's a certain way to turn your audience off. Always remember the value of eye contact and a smile!

Your success as a public speaker depends upon you learning the necessary skills and practicing them. But you will also benefit by knowing just what not to do.



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