12 most basic speaking mistakes that crumble seasoned presenters

The best way to ensure you nail a presentation is to show audience members you understand them and their needs. What’s the best way to bomb a presentation? Read on.

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When I’m not giving seminars on interpersonal communication skills, I officiate non-denominational wedding ceremonies. (That’s a long story for another kind of post.)

Recently, I attended a networking event for wedding professionals. The keynote speaker, Jack (name changed), introduced a website aimed at the millennial bridal market.

Within minutes of Jack’s talk I began to wonder, “Does this guy know who we are?” Because I coach nervous professionals on how to present in smart, strategic ways, I’m used to dealing with jittery neophytes. However, it had been a long time since I attended a presentation by a supposed seasoned pro who truly bombed.

It happens to the best of us. In reflecting on Jack’s talk, I was most struck by how he made the most basic speaking mistakes. He reminded me why those mistakes are so basic.

Here are the 12 most basic speaking blunders that will turn off an audience:

1. Fail to establish credibility.

Jack was not introduced by anyone in the wedding industry. He introduced himself by giving us his resume—which didn’t contain a connection to the wedding industry. He had no story that could assure us he knew who we were as a professional group.

2. Dress inappropriately.

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