Public Speaking Myths: Catch Them and Avoid Them!

Don’t get caught up in public speaking myths! Avoid these ideas at all costs.

Public speaking is hard enough without public speaking myths to cloud your judgment. Want to make your speech a success? Then your best bet is to ignore everyone’s advice and do what you feel comfortable doing. Of course, for many people what they feel comfortable doing is running offstage and hiding in a corner, so if you must follow advice, at least avoid these blunders.

1. Start with a joke.

This one’s not a total flop: if you like telling jokes, or you have a really good one to share, then use it. But if you’re not a joke-teller by nature, or you can’t think of any joke to start with, then for heaven’s sake, don’t try.

Sure, you want to catch your audience’s attention, but not with a joke that isn’t funny! Find an anecdote, a quote, or a question instead. Don’t let public speaking myths ruin your hard work and preparation!

2. If you’re nervous, you’ll do a bad job.

Believe it or not, a bit of nervousness often improves your performance. Ask stage actors and musicians, and they’ll often tell you they get a touch of stage fright before heading onstage. Many of them, however, believe that the stage fright actually improves their performance by giving them energy to channel.

Like most public speaking myths, this one has a spark of truth: if your nervousness makes you stammer and sweat, it can hurt your performance. But if your nervousness inspires you to work hard, practice, and adopt an animated demeanor, it can’t hurt in the least!

3. Practice, practice, practice!

Believe it or not, you can over practice. Sure, you want to know that speech well enough that you barely need your index cards. But if you drill it into your head, you’re only making yourself more nervous. Practice a reasonable amount, but don’t make yourself crazy over it: if you’re losing sleep and missing meals to talk to yourself in the mirror, you need to calm down.

And whatever you do, no matter how well you know your presentation, don’t let public speaking myths like this one lure you into leaving your index cards at home. You never know how you’ll feel once you’re onstage, and you might need them after all!

There are many public speaking myths, but if you exercise your own judgment, you can dodge them and make your presentation shine!