5 terrible pieces of public speaking advice

Are you standing in front of the mirror, practicing your opening joke for your naked audience? You might want to reconsider. Oh, and forget about the grass skirt, too.

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Once I gave a speech about leaving a great job in paradise to pursue personal happiness, and a piece of feedback I got was, “You should wear a grass skirt and coconut bra when you give this speech.”

There’s about a million reasons why I didn’t take that advice, but it shows that not all public speaking advice is created equal.

The Internet is full of horrible tips that won’t improve your speaking. Here are my top five bad speaking tips and what you should do instead:

Picture your audience naked.

Unless your audience is filled with Channing Tatum or Angelina Jolie types, doing this will unnerve you (or if the audience is filled with beautiful people, it’s going to be highly distracting).

Picturing your audience naked is supposed to help you feel that the audience is as vulnerable as you are. It’s intended to ease your nerves, but it doesn’t help. It just makes you feel weird.

If you want to picture anything, visualize your presentation. Visualize stepping on the stage with your nerves working for you and giving a great presentation.

Practice in front of a mirror.

Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?

Not you. Now, stop practicing in front of the mirror.

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