Things You’re Doing That Your Audience Dislike
Date: January 20, 2016
If only you could tap into your audience’s minds and see what they’re thinking about you. If you could, you would. But for those of us who aren’t telepathic, the only thing we can do is guess what our listeners are thinking about us.
We’re all guilty of bad habits, but when your career depends on people liking you, you can’t afford to exploit these to strangers.
You can become a better public speaker if you never give up on yourself and continuously work hard.
There are plenty of public speaking habits to avoid, and not everyone will be aware that they’re doing them in the first place. Take a read so see if any of them seem familiar.
Here are some reasons why people leave your speeches early, or look like they’re bored out of their minds…
1. You Walk Around Too Much
Nobody wants to pay to feel dizzy, so stop walking around the stage so much. Allow people to focus on your words than watch you dance around the stage.
This usually happens when speakers aren’t familiar with the stage, or haven’t planned their movements out. Everything you do has to have a purpose.
Always start in the middle of the stage to have all eyes on you. As you finish your introduction and move onto your first important point, move to the left and walk closer to your audience.
Just take a few steps and walk at a comfortable walking pace. Speeding around to your next spot isn’t fun to watch.
Don’t forget about the other side of the room, so move over to your right spot for your next point. Walk and talk at the same time as to avoid awkwardness and silences.
You should only have these three positions in mind, or you’ll find that you’re walking all over the place and there’s no organisation to your speech.
2. You Talk Too Fast
We know you’re excited, and you just can’t wait for people to hear what you have to say. It’s not always excitement though, as some speakers get so nervous that their adrenaline makes them talk faster than usual.
To avoid this, on your notes, put a clear mark that means to be silent for a moment. Pauses can be more important than noise, because it gives your audience time to reflect on what you just addressed.
How you write your speech can influence the speed you read it at. Use short sentences and paragraphs to keep people’s attention.
3. They Don’t See Your Personality
If you only use facts and everything is so serious, people won’t like it. Don’t be afraid to show your audience the real you; that’s what they want to see.
Everything you say should be honest and true to you, so only speak from the heart. Not only is it entertaining to hear a few jokes, sarcasm or personal stories, but adds something to your speech that nobody else can give.
If you don’t use your personality in your moments on stage, what makes it so significant that you’re delivering it? We’re all unique, so show your unique qualities.
Bring passion! If that means tears… even better! (Obviously nobody wants to see you sad, but people like raw emotion!).
4. You Use Lots of Slides
We still can’t believe how many people create lots of Powerpoint slides and expect people to enjoy it. It’s boring! Slides can be highly effective in focusing on key words and figures in your speech.
But if you use them as a script and read word for word from them, people will not like that at all. Don’t use more than five, or they’ll become a distraction for you and the audience.
It’s a good habit to ask the audience to guess something and then put the answer on the screen afterwards. This dramatises your content and helps it to stick in people’s minds.
5. You’re Not Friendly
No thank you, hello or goodbye are all ways to be sure that nobody will like you. Treating your audience as if they’re not there is disrespectful and rude.
You don’t have to thank people for coming for 10 minutes, but as soon as you’re on stage, express your appreciation for them coming out, and be polite at all times. Never be offensive to someone – even if they are to you! You’re a professional, so don’t let them affect your presentation.
A smile, regular eye contact and calm tone are all ways to get people to like you. If you come across as moody and too serious, your listeners will dislike that.
6. You Don’t Seem To Care
If you’re passionate, it doesn’t matter if you forget your line or slip on stage, because people appreciate others who are serious about their craft.
If it’s just plain obvious that you haven’t prepared your lines or it’s not coming from the heart, then people won’t like it. Your story has to be personal, and printing off some information and writing a speech on it isn’t good enough.
Stand up tall, dress accordingly and be confident. Nerves are natural, and they can be excused, but it’s not good enough if you read from a piece of paper the entire time and talk in a low, boring voice.
Put your heart and soul into your presentation, and as long as you’re not sloppy or offensive, then you can’t really go wrong. Always tailor your content to your audience, otherwise you’re wasting your time.
Rehearse your content well in advance of your day and get a good night’s sleep before. Never use any excuses for a poor presentation – even if they are legitimate.
There are consequences for a bad performance, so never rush writing a speech and hope you can get away with it. Speak slower and clearly on stage and use your notes to guide you through the pace to speak at.
Respect your audience and be appreciative for them taking the time to come and watch you. Use your time to inspire them by using emotive language and scenarios. Then they’ll love you and never want to see you leave!