After spending some time looking for a quick-fire list of common public speaking mistakes, the best source turned out to be right under my nose. Toastmasters International has a great summary of exactly what not to do when giving presentations.
Readers of this blog should notice some synergy with what I have been posting thus far (passionate presentations and speaking as an acquired skill). While some of the topics on the Toastmasters list are rather obvious (e.g. not being well prepared), others might surprise you. The two big mistakes that most of my students are unaware of are “starting with a whimper” and “ending a speech with questions and answers.”
So far, this blog has been focusing on specific philosophies and techniques that you can use to improve your presentations. Sometimes, however, simply avoiding bad habits is enough to noticeably improve your public speaking.