Top Ten Public Speaking Myths

1. If I cover ALL the data, no one can criticize me for leaving anything out or appearing dumb. (Yes, but they will be criticizing you for being mind-numbingly boring and forgettable)

2. The shorter and more concise my speech is, the better. (NO. If your speech is only one minute long, but you are uninteresting and unmemorable, you have accomplished nothing positive. Your first goal in any presentation should be to make important ideas understood and memorable, not to be concise.)

3. I should start my presentation by going over my background to get people to see that I am qualified to speak to them. (Horrible idea. Instead, give your audience information that is valuable to them and then they will conclude you are qualified.)

4. I’d love to tell stories like great speakers do, but there is no time because of all the data I must present. (False. Stores aren’t an extra. Stories are essential if you want people to remember your points. If there isn’t time to tell a story for a particular data point, then don’t cover the point in your presentation.)

5. I’d love to tell stories, but I’m not a natural story teller and I don’t know any stories. (This is B.S. everyone tells stories all day long. If you’ve ever had one conversation with one customer, client or colleague about a problem and how it was resolved, then you have a story for your presentation.)

6. I should ask people to hold all questions until the end of my speech so that I don’t have my organization and flow disrupted. (Wrong! It’s not your speech. It is your audience’s speech. They should be encouraged to ask questions at anytime, provided the audience has 100 or fewer people in it.)

7. My PowerPoint Deck is the presentation. (Wrong! You actually speaking is the presentation. Slides may or may not be an important enhancement, but they aren’t the presentation.)

8. Writing, re-editing, re-sizing the bullet points on a PowerPoint slide is an absolute necessity. Rehearsing the presentation is a luxury, if and only if, a lot of extra time falls into my lap. (Wrong. Rehearsing a speech (on video) is a necessity. Changing bullet point/font sizes is a luxury.)

9. I’m not a naturally gifted speaker the way other people are. (No one is a naturally gifted speaker. It is all learned behavior. No one was born naturally knowing how to write. Great writers all had daily instruction from writing teachers for years. Anyone can become an excellent public speaker; there are no necessary genetic talents required.)

10. It’s better not to rehearse in order to seem spontaneous and avoid sounding canned. (This is as idiotic as the typical 50-pound overweight, obese American worrying about becoming ‘muscle bound’ after going to the gym once every 4 years. Memorization is always bad, but good rehearsal will always help.)

If you are looking for private public speaking training, public workshops, Skype training or online public speaking courses, please call me to discuss. 212.764.4955 TJ Walker

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