The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Presenting

We all thrive on advice that gets us to the next level. And when someone offers their advice, we lean in and take it all in. However, there is some advice you should just walk away from. Here is some of the worst advice we’ve heard when it comes to public speaking, but like all advice, you either take it or leave it, whatever works best for you.

BAD ADVICE 1″If you’re nervous, picture the audience naked.”

There could be nothing more distracting than that visual. What would it do for you? Plus, wouldn’t you be so busy trying to accomplish the visual that you would forget to be talking? If you’re nervous, there are lots of ways to calm nerves and a naked audience doesn’t have to be one of them.


BAD ADVICE 2 “Use the full stage.”

Yes, using the whole stage is recommended for talking to each part of the audience. However, there are some dead spots on the stage, and sometimes, if you are a nervous mover, it could look like you are pacing and uncomfortable. If you are uncomfortable moving, then plant your feet a little bit apart, keep your knees soft (locking them could cause you to pass out) and just be strong in one position. If you are comfortable moving, just make sure it is with purpose and time it to an emotional change in your presentation.


BAD ADVICE 3 “Open with a joke”

This is actually a good way to break the ice unless your joke isn’t funny and you’re not a good joke teller. There is nothing worse then telling a joke and hearing crickets.

I have seen many a joke fall flat. It is awkward and does just the opposite of what you are trying to do. If you are unsure about your comedy skills or if the joke will go off, then don’t do it. Start with an incredible story, a shocking statistic, or a video that will move the audience in the direction you want. If you have a great joke that slays every time, then go for it.  Otherwise, stick to your other strengths when thinking of creative ways to open your speech.


BAD ADVICE#4 “Finish your speech and then allow time for Q&A”

It’s always good to allow time for Q&A. However, you should never finish the session with Q&A. Why? Because then you’re ending on the note of whatever is the last question, which is out of your control. Imagine the question being incredibly negative or not relevant to the entire audience. You want to be the master of your speech and end it how you imagine it to end. My advice if the speech is 60 minutes long, take Q&A at 45 minutes for about 10 minutes, then use the last 5 minutes to wrap up your presentation . Leave your audience with the most powerful thought you can and end on the note you wish to leave on.


As always with any advice, take what works for you and leave the rest for someone else. You know your strengths and what your capabilities are. If you can move around the stage effectively, telling jokes that have your audience crying with laughter and do it while picturing them naked, all the power to you:) If not, feel free to use the above warnings to steer everything in your favor.

Would love to hear from you of some of the best or worst advice you have ever received. Comment below! I try to respond to everything.

When you’re ready to take the stage, do it with confidence. Most likely, you have 60 minutes to be the expert and help others grow in some capacity. Know that you can do it. If you need additional tips or things to avoid, please check out these articles:

3 Most Common Powerpoint Mistakes

Protecting Your Speaking Voice

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