K-Stew epitomizes what not to do when public speaking. Whether you’re accepting an award, giving a presentation, making a toast, or having an interview, the public speaking knowledge that can be gleaned from the Twilight star’s many awkward speeches knows no bounds. Luckily we’ve broken it down to 10 simple public-speaking tips you can learn from watching Kristen Stewart.
1. Don’t act like whoever you’re speaking to is beneath you, or like they’re wasting your time.
Obviously this is particularly essential in interviews, because if anything, you’re the one wasting their time. Don’t act like you’re above the position or like you have somewhere else to be. If someone is taking the time to consider hiring you, be gracious. But, as Kristen Stewart shows us, this rule is also important when making speeches. No one wants to listen to someone who acts like she has better places to be.
2. Don’t excessively touch your face or hair.
Classic Kristen Stewart move. Her favorites are touching her forehead like she’s checking her own temperature, grabbing the top of her hair as if she’s trying to make it look even messier than it already does (I think this is how she styles it), or tucking her hair behind her ears three or four times. Don’t do this. Even if you’re nervous, try to keep your hands away from your face, unless you’re about to sneeze on someone.
3. Don’t bite your lip; it makes you look nervous and self conscious.
Another classic. It’s not cute, coy, or sexy; you just look like a little kid trying to tell his mom he broke a vase.
4. Avoid “like,” “uh,” “um,” or any other interjection that means nothing.
This is Public Speaking 101, but Kristen is such a flagrant offender that it had to be included. Sometimes it’s tough to do, especially if you’re a common “like” user in casual conversation. The best thing to do is try to eliminate that word in all conversation as much as possible, which will make it much easier to avoid in speeches and the like. If you need to speak a little more slowly than usual to avoid these place fillers, then do so.
5. Don’t trail off at the end of sentences.
I find this is actually one of the more difficult things to avoid, especially in interviews or verbal exams, or any other time you are unsure of yourself. Do your absolute best to finish your sentences firmly. If you’re not confident in what you are saying, how can you expect anyone else to be?
6. Don’t turn declarative sentences into questions.
In the same vein, upping her pitch at the end of sentences is another one of Kristen’s favorite things to do. Like trailing off, this makes you look unsure of what you’re saying. If you have something to say, say it.
7. Look at the person you’re speaking to.
Another public speaking tip your parents probably taught you when you were in kindergarten. When you’re talking to someone, don’t look at the floor; look the person in the eye. Sometimes if you’re speaking to a large group, looking at the back wall just over everyone’s head helps, since you can’t make eye contact with every single person. But basically, just don’t look down. Similarly , don’t slouch.
8. Avoid long pauses.
Again, be confident. If you lose track of what you’re saying, just keep talking and you can often come back around to your point. This isn’t to say just babble about nothing; keep going on the topic, and you’ll work yourself back to the point you were making.
9. Don’t curse or make jokes that will make people feel awkward.
Though you may think that throwing in a curse word will make people feel more comfortable or make your speech feel more casual, in most cases it should be avoided. Curse words are much more jarring in speeches than they are in every day conversation.
10. Don’t end speeches/presentations/answers to questions with “So…there you go,” “So…yeah,” “Kay bye,” or any derivation thereof.
These are actual quotes from the ends of some of Kristen Stewart’s speeches. Just don’t.
11. BONUS: Less on when and when not to release a public statement.
Don’t release a public statement when you cheat on your boyfriend. It is really awkward and just seems excessive. Press releases are for when you release your own perfume line.
(Photo: The Examiner)