4 actions that public speakers should avoid

Doing certain things can undermine the authority you command as you step up to the lectern. You needn’t be haughty; simply sidestep these common pitfalls.

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Public speaking has certain taboos.

I once watched a governor deliver a State of the State speech, trying to shore up citizens during a difficult time for the state and the country.

The address itself was mostly on target, addressing important issues and allowing the governor to showcase leadership and poise.

That is, until a member of the audience sneezed. The sneeze itself wasn’t remarkable, but the “Bless you,” that followed was. Why? Because it came from the podium.

Though the intention may have been to appear folksy or approachable or even just considerate, the effect went far, far beyond that. Instantly, the governor shattered any aura of leadership, reducing our esteemed dignitary to the status of, well, everyone else.

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