Your voice: Are you making these public speaking mistakes?
Use this checklist to determine if you are making mistakes with your voice when you speak in public:
1. Are you mumbling?
If you mumble, you may be perceived as not credible and not competent (plus, you’ll frustrate your audience).
The fix: Practice enunciating every word you say.
2. Are you talking too softly?
Young leaders who talk too softly may come across as not confident. As people strain to determine what you might have said, they’re missing what you’re saying right now. And before you know it? They’re completely lost! So they stop paying attention altogether.
The fix: Practice projecting your voice with confidence.
3. Are you racing through your content?
If you talk too fast, you’re not giving the audience enough time to hear and then process what you just said. The audience may feel disregarded and conclude that you really don’t want to speak to them in the first place (you just want it to be over). Speaking too fast leaves a negative impression and is one of the most common public speaking mistakes made by young leaders.
The fix: Practice speaking deliberately – at a natural, conversational pace – with intentional pauses at points of emphasis, reflection and transition.
4. Are you speaking to your notes instead of to your audience?
Since people have gathered to hear you speak, you need to speak to them by looking at them. If you speak to your notes, the audience may conclude that you are disorganized and unprepared – traits that won’t help you further your career.
The fix: Rehearse! Never go into a scheduled speaking role without rehearsing what you will say.