Not all managers and CEOs have solid public speaking abilities; some are quite terrible at it. Believe it or not, sometimes the smartest people end up having the most boring presentations. They can’t see that public speaking is based on acquired skills that can only be improved through honest feedback and practice. Holding a presentation in front of 50 people is easier said than done. Most managers ignore some of the main rules of public speaking, and they usually fail to grab the attention of their audiences. Here are 10 mistakes that people often make when speaking in public.

1) Failure to convey authenticity

Skilled public speakers convey authenticity. They can gauge attention and keep an audience hooked for as long as their speech lasts. Lack of authenticity makes an audience assume that you have a shallow, superficial personality. To engage your listeners, why not start the presentation with a meaningful story? Share something personal, something that can make people relate to what you’re saying.

2) Bad opening sentence

Nothing sounds shallower than an opening sentence that says – “thank you all for being here”. Of course you’re thankful for them being there, but you don’t have to say it out loud. Rather than bore them with a disagreeable statement, say something interesting, motivational or even funny like – “Mark Twain once said that there are two main types of speakers in this world: the nervous ones and the liars. Guess what? I’m in the first category!”

3) Imitating other speakers

This is one of the worst things speakers can do when starting a presentation. Why would want to imitate someone else? When you’re not being yourself in front of an audience, it’s impossible to appear authentic. You just can’t seem believable no matter how hard you tried.

4) Sharing unoriginal stories

Sharing stories that are not yours is such a rookie move. What will you do if someone from the audience recognizes it from somewhere else? You can’t afford to make a fool of yourself in front of 50-100 people, so you are advised to stories from your own life.

5) Using fillers and too many repetitions

Fillers words are ever-present in our daily speeches. Managers however, should avoid them in the professional environment. Repeating the same thing over and over again is annoying; in addition, adding fillers such as “um”, “ahh” will make things worse. Keep sentences short if you’re nervous and when you don’t know what to say, ask questions to engage the audience.

6) Talking too fast

Speaking too fast in front of an audience indicates clear signs of anxiety and nervousness. Take a deep breath before starting your speech and learn to control your volume of words; find a pace and stick to it.

7) Vocal unawareness

A monotonous vocal tone is unappealing. It doesn’t excite an audience and it doesn’t make people want to hear more. Rather than appear dull and uninteresting in front of your staff, speak with relaxed enthusiasm; let your voice soothe the audience and they’ll certainly want to hear what you have to say.

1909_Tyee_-_Debate_and_Oratory_illustration8) Not answering questions

Managers and company owners who don’t like to answer questions when holding speeches are often seen as the most superficial individuals. Not wanting to respond to someone’s concern highlights disrespect; in time, this can affect the bottom line of your company.

9) Not feeling comfortable

Not all managers feel comfortable when having to hold a presentation in front of staff members, customers or investors. Sadly, if you can’t find a way to forget about your discomfort, your audience will sense something’s wrong. Your tone of voice will probably change, your body language, even your face expressions. Answer yourself the following question – what makes you feel comfortable? Some people feel safer when during a public speech if they hold a pen in their hands; sounds trivial, but it’s true.

10) Not making eye contact

In the business environment, eye contact is fundamental. As a manager, you’re not just compelled to hold speeches to keep an audience engaged; you deal with people every single day, and it’s your job to make them trust you. How do you do that if you can’t look them in the eye?

By Jason Phillips and!