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Common Mistakes of Inexperienced Speakers

Even if you're enrolled in an online degree program where you type to your instructors and classmates, you'll need to brush up on your public speaking skills if you expect to thrive in the workplace. Public speaking classes were once a fundamental part of the general education curriculum.

Perhaps you're not enrolled in a business program. But the chances are outstanding that you're going to have to speak with co-workers, to recruiters at job interviews, or to a captive audience in delivering business presentations once you spark up your career.

Here are some common mistakes that most untrained public speakers make once they stand in front of an audience:

Poor Preparation
Before you take your work out into the public, have you looked it over for typos and poor spelling? Have you read through your remarks so that they're familiar to you? Do you know your material? In rehearsing, have you found spots that need clarification or depth? Have you organized your notes in a way that you can improvise from prepared remarks and still return to the materials without losing your place (or your mind)?

Speaking Like a Coffee Addict
Most inexperienced speakers deliver their presentations as if a bomb were ticking and they had to get out of the building. Slow down, turbo! If you're going too fast, chances are your mouth is dry. Stop a second, breathe, take a sip of water. You won't lose your audience.

Ignoring Your Audience
Have you made eye contact? At least find the one person in the audience who's already nodding in approval. Remember to vary your pitch and delivery. Monotone talking is the death knell to any speech or presentation. Open with something interesting, not, "Today I am going to talk about��."

Last: short and succinct is better than tedious and long. Leave your audience wanting more. And give it to them through questions and answers at the end.

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