3 Common Speaker Mistakes (& How To Fix Them)

Are you making any of these 3 common speaker mistakes!?

Since early 2019, I’ve been formally coaching people (within Tech & Cyber Sec) to present with more impact.

Whilst my clients come from different levels of experience (from people starting out in the industry to CISOs), there are common threads I see play out time and time again.

Today I want to share the Top 3 mistakes I see speakers make (regardless of their level of experience). 

So you can avoid these and ensure your presentations are as engaging as possible!


 If you’re saying a lot of discrete things in your presentation, it can be very hard to pay attention to and make sense of.

You’ll essentially leave people feeling overwhelmed by your talk …..

…. and they’ll probably only remember the topic itself.

Which is a terrible situation. 😱

If you’re doing this to your audience, you’re wasting your time and theirs.

Our short term memory is limited. Which means it doesn’t expand to accomodate the time you’re talking for. Which means you can’t throw lots of discrete information at people and expect them to digest and retain it all!

What to do instead

Keep it to 1-3 key things you’re covering and your audience will be fine to remember that.

This will give you more time to go into detail on each of these things. Then you can include as many stories as you can to bring it to life.


Do you talk at people for your whole presentation!? As in, it’s a one-way download from you to them? A lecture of sorts!?

If so, that’s not engaging in the slightest.

It’s a one-way ticket to boredom for your audience……

People will most likely tune out and start thinking about something else, or even worse, doing something else.

Also, it’s not even normal. In a regular 1:1 conversation, there is generally a fair bit of back and forth.

So why completely switch this up when you’re presenting to lots of people!?

What to do instead

Make sure you include questions or interaction of some sort when you’re presenting.

It will make your audience feel far more involved and it will increase engagement, buy-in and retention.


No-one likes text heavy slides. They’re the worst. 😵💫

They make it so much harder for people to pay attention to you….


Text heavy slides distract & detract from what you’re saying.

People will either:

 – Be tempted to read, which means they won’t be following along properly to what you’re saying.

 – Or, they’ll continue to listen to you and they’ll ignore the slides. Either way they’re not adding to your talk, they’re making it harder for your audience.

What to do instead

Make sure your slides are like a Billboard.

In other words, that they’re highly visual and take only a few seconds to glance at and comprehend.


When you’re preparing your next presentation, make sure you avoid the above pitfalls. They’re very common, but there’s also terrible bad habits you must break.

Instead – stick to the rule of three, include questions / interaction and make your slides like a Billboard!

This will have a massive impact on how engaging your talk is as a result

Q – Which one of these do you need to cut out ASAP!? ✂️


Emily Edgeley is a Public Speaking Coach for the Technology industry. Since 2017 she’s run over 280 group coaching sessions, coached more than 250 people privately, and formally supported first time and experienced speakers at 10 Conferences, covering 1000+ people across the globe. 

She’s on a mission to help anyone in the Tech arena learn how to speak with clarity, impact, and confidence, whether that’s at work or at a Conference. So they can share their ideas, build their brand and start to enjoy ‘public speaking’!