Publications & Products
Volume 7, Issue 22

These Myths Ruin Your Presentations

You need more than charisma to deliver a successful speech, writes one communications expert.

There are many misconceptions of how to give an effective presentation, writes Anett Grant for Fast Company. "So the next time you hear a piece of conventional wisdom about what it takes to be a great speaker, pause for a second to think about whether it's really wise—or just conventional."

Grant describes four common myths about public speaking and how to avoid falling into their trap.

  1. Personality is key. You cannot rely on charisma alone to become a great speaker, writes Grant. "Speaking is one of those skills where talent helps, but practice helps more," she adds. "While some people may have more natural speaking ability than others, nobody can become a great speaker with talent or personality alone. It takes practice and effort over time."
  2. Memorize your speech. While you can't rely on your personality to carry a presentation, just preparing a script to memorize won't save your speech either. You'll end up sounding flat. "Instead, you need to focus on speaking spontaneously—just with a little structure," writes Grant. "This means having a rough outline in your head of what you're going to talk about, but not a word-for-word script."
  3. Play up the emotion. There may be moments in your presentation that can be enhanced by some inspiration and emotional speaking. But Grant argues that great speakers take their presentations very seriously and are deliberate about all parts of it. "You need to practice, and you need to be thoughtful about what you're doing. Spontaneity, energy and emotion are all great—but they should never be an excuse to wing it," she writes.
  4. Know your audience. "When you're speaking, don't worry so much about how your audience is reacting," writes Grant. "If you try to do and say whatever you think will elicit a response, you're bound to lose your rhythm and fail." Instead, focus on yourself while you're speaking, and take notes of your own habits and behaviors.

This article is from the Advancement Weekly, May 22, 2017 issue.

Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) © 1996 - 2018