5 presentation habits you must unlearn

Preparing to deliver a speech? Steer clear of these common errors that will preclude you from engaging with your audience and landing your message.

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College students come into my classroom not only with a flurry of fears and insecurities, but also with bad presentation habits they have developed.

My students’ bad habits didn’t happen overnight. These habits develop through years and years of watching terrible presentations. Though most of us can recognize a terrible presentation, we don’t yet have the tools to make our own presentations great.

In a class called Professional Communication and Presentation, I teach my students how to break their bad habits. These lessons apply to all presenters: teachers, conference presenters, business executives—anyone who has a speech to deliver.

Read on to see how you can unlearn these habits:

1. Turning the lights off during presentations.

The first presentation day in my classroom can be scary. Students are expected to weave together the material they’ve learned in an engaging, dynamic way, and those public speaking fears often rear their ugly heads at the last second. Students will sometimes ask right before they start speaking, “Can I turn off the lights?

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