Common Mistakes in Public Speaking

As a trusted financial expert, you will be presented with many opportunities where you are going to need to speak in public. Not only do these opportunities help you further your career, but they also help in giving your more visibility within your industry. Therefore, you are going to need to brush up on your speaking abilities if you want things to go well when you finally get on stage.

If you have to give a presentation, remember that you are an intelligent person. You’re bright and well educated and have spent a considerable amount of time on knowing your craft. You can handle a board room or a shared stage at an industry conference, so when you speak, don’t leave your audience bored. Speaking in public is a skill that improves with practice. Speaking to the public the right way, can do a world of good if you know what you’re doing. Here are a few common mistakes or “wrongs” when giving a speech provided by, and how you can do it “right.”

  • WRONG: Starting with a boring introduction like thanking whoever gave your introduction.
  • RIGHT: Ask the audience a question or give them a startling statistic, an interesting quote, something powerful that will make them take notice and get them interested right away.
  • WRONG: Not being yourself. Trying to imitate another speaker only makes you look weak.
  • RIGHT: Be confident in who you are and what you have to say, and do it your way. According to business coach Chris Stevens from The Coaching Institute, it’s important you project confidence as soon as you are in front of your audience.
  • WRONG: Not working the room. Standing behind the podium doesn’t connect you with the audience.
  • RIGHT: Let your audience meet you. Work your way through the crowd. It helps you seem more confident and credible.
  • WRONG: Being too anxious and nervous.
  • RIGHT: Relax! Before you get ready to speak, do breathing exercises, listen to an encouraging or relaxing song, do whatever it is that makes you relax.
  • WRONG: Stand there and just reading a speech word for word. That is boring and can send your audience to Snoresville!
  • RIGHT: Use an outline of some kind that lists your main points. Glance at it if you need to, but eye contact is important to connect with your audience.
  • WRONG: Using stories that aren’t their own. Quotes are OK, but keep them brief.
  • RIGHT: If you want to connect with your audience, you should use stories from your own life.
  • WRONG: Not being passionate about their subject matter.
  • RIGHT: Speak about subjects you’re passionate about and let it show. The audience will be more likely to connect and feel the value of what you’re speaking about.
  • WRONG: Don’t end your speech with a question. They’re there to get answers from you.
  • RIGHT: Have a question and answer time at the end and then summarize your speech or tell a story that relates. End with something strong that they will remember.
  • WRONG: Being unprepared. Preparation is the key to a good speech.
  • RIGHT: Know your material and rehearse so that you can ensure the audience will understand what you’re saying and absorb it.
  • WRONG: Thinking that the ability to speak is inherited. It is not something you’re born with.
  • RIGHT: Public speaking is something you work at. You learn how to present. Anyone can do it if they are willing to work to acquire the skill.

Remember these simple facts when you give a speech at your next financial meeting or conference and you’ll get things “right” not “wrong!”