1. “Can you hear me?” as you start your speech.
Do your microphone check BEFORE your audience arrives. You should already know that your listeners CAN hear you!
2. You open with, “My name is John Clark and I’m the project manager for this multi-use building development.”
Open with a question, a startling statistic, a story, a quote. THEN introduce who you are. Starting with your self-introduction is boringly predictable. Plus we don’t care who you are until you tell us something compelling enough to want to know.
3. “I’m nervous.”
Most everyone is nervous when giving a speech. I work with many top executives on nervousness control. You are not alone here. BUT do NOT tell us you are nervous. Just go forth and conquer – or buy my book about this (shameless self-marketing here).
4. “I’m sorry that this slide is hard to see,” as you click through your deck.
Apologizing for a complicated slide is lame. Don’t make your visuals so complex and hard to decipher! Use at least 32-font size for words. BUT – how about NOT using words at all? Visuals should be visual. Watch a news show. The news anchor has a picture augmenting the content. This anchor is not reading bullet points off the visual!
5. You close with, “That’s all the time we have. Thank you.”
Conclude your message with power. A great ending can even salvage a mediocre speech. Don’t let the clock end you. You control your timing. Summarize quickly, make your audience feel good for having attended your presentation, and do a call for action: what do you want your listeners to do, think, or feel as a result of your speech?
Avoid these five annoying habits!