With public speaking being one of American's #1 fears (even more than death), it is no surprise that presenters can develop some nervous ticks in from of an audience. While these habits can go unnoticed within ourselves, they can be incredibly distracting to audience members. In order to present most effectively and do your cause justice, these 5 habits need to be dropped, pronto.
1. Reading from Your Slides
Presentation slides are meant accompany your presentation, not be your presentation. Reading off your slides will only help you come off as lazy, not as knowledgable.
2. Using Filler Words
While we are all guilty of using the occasional "um" and "yeah" in our presentations, excessive usage of these terms takes away from the effectiveness of your message.
3. Monotone Vocals
Everyone can remember one class from high school where the teacher's voice did not change from sentence to sentence. That class is also probably one that they were not excited to attend; voice fluctuations are a tool to articulate key points within your sentences.
4. Speaking Too Quickly
When our nerves go up, our talking speed accelerates. Unfortunately, this practice makes our presentation much less effective (and understandable)! Remember to take a breath and articulate your words when presenting to any audience.
Fidgeting is difficult to catch, as we are often immune to our behaviors. To squash this distracting behavior, try recording yourself presenting and see if any ticks come up.
Looking for more presentation tips and tricks? Check out the Dog and Pony Show blog post on how to improve your presentation body language!