OK, so your speech has been written and rehearsed. You know the demographic of the audience, you’ve studied their interests and understand their expectations. You have performed your voice warm-up exercises and have made sure that a glass of water has been placed within your reach and you are ready to deliver your presentation.
Surely there’s no room for error? Yet your audience appears distracted as you deliver your speech perfectly.
It could only be – your irritating mannerisms.
But it can’t be! You don’t have any annoying mannerisms – do you?
So many speakers spoil their carefully prepared speeches by being totally unaware of their mannerisms – distracting habits that will divert an audiences’ attention away from your words and concentrate their focus on nothing else but your affectations.
Are you guilty of any of the following habits? Be truthful with yourself or, if that proves to be too difficult, ask a trusted friend to honestly lay bare your most irritating habits.
1. Are you a Leaner and Swayer? Many public speakers will constantly lean first one way, then another whilst delivering their speech. Others will sway forward and backwards from toe to heel as they shift their weight to and fro. And although these movements are always unconscious they will certainly make an audience feel truly giddy. You must make a point of becoming aware of your movement and balance when speaking and work hard to always remain still and upright when on stage.
2. Are you a Scratcher or Ear Puller? Some speakers feel that a thoughtful scratch of the head or pull of the ear will convey the impression that they are giving deep consideration to the matter in hand. Unfortunately, these mannerisms can so easily become habit forming as they give some form of sub-conscious comfort to the speaker. Always remember though, scratching is catching and before long you’ll have the whole audience scratching too!
3. Are You an N.B. & C.? Otherwise known as a Nose Blower and Cougher. It may appear that the speaker is suffering from a heavy cold but the truth is that their frequent clearing of the throat and wiping of the nose is merely a nervous habit they have developed over time. These mannerisms are probably the most irritating ones for the audience and definitely the most frightening ones for any hypochondriac who may be sitting in the front row!
If you can recognise yourself in this category, train yourself to take a sip of water whenever you feel the need to clear your throat and break yourself of this irritating mannerism.
We all display little mannerisms and in any other walk of life they won’t usually matter at all. However, if you are speaking publically in front of an audience, your mannerisms – or lack of them – could make the difference between being remembered as a particularly accomplished public speaker, or a very annoying one.
Which one would you prefer to be?
Author: Jane K.ThomasThis author has published 3 articles so far.