6 mistakes public speakers should avoid

Though the best of us may stumble at times, pros can perfect their oral presentations by avoiding these gaffes.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Whether you’re talking football, engineering, or acting, you’ve seen the best and brightest make mistakes. Fumbles, crashes, and bloopers—the losses can be minor or tragic.

Likewise, they can be in business presentations. Mistakes can cost a sale, a promotion, or a career. The best business presenters and public speakers never fumble in the following six ways:

1. Make the audience feel small. Speakers, of course, don’t intend to irritate audience members and set their teeth on edge. But let them unintentionally deliver a few lines like these and watch what happens:

“As I travel around the globe each year…”

“In my interactions with Fortune 500 CEOs weekly, they say to me, John, you’ve got to help me solve…”

“So I pulled out a $100 bill, handed it to the bell captain, and told him that package had better be in my room before I was.”

“My spouse and I were at the Ritz Carlton last weekend when….”

Douse people with a few of these comments, and see how fast they shrink emotionally.

2. Demonstrate arrogance. The previous lines may flow from ignorance rather than arrogance. In addition to ego-filled references that the audience can’t relate to, arrogance rears its head in many other ways:

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.