If you’re an avid public speaker, you’ve probably gotten many tips. Here are five tips I think you can avoid:
- “Just Try To Relax” – A recent Harvard study proved that “trying to relax” before you speak doesn’t work so well. It’s a better idea to try to re-frame your pre-speech anxiety as excitement. Try telling yourself “I’m excited to give this presentation” just before you speak.
- “You Have To Have PowerPoint to Present Well” – Nope. The most important part of any presentation is a strong, unconventional premise, and a good story. PowerPoint visuals are a nice aid, but there are many presenters who forgo PowerPoint and still give a great presentation.
- “You Have Too Much Data” – Data is not your enemy. Well-placed statistics can build your argument. The danger is misplaced data. Make sure each statistic builds your argument logically, and don’t add data you don’t need.
- “Speak Quickly To Meet Your Time Limit” – I see this one get many speakers into trouble. You never want to rush when you present. If you feel that your presentation is too long, cut it down, but don’t speed up.
- “It’s Important To Gesture” – It is good to gesture, but the most powerful speaking tool is your voice. Stillness helps the audience pay attention to your words, and your ideas. Too much movement can distract from your speech.