I attended an awards banquet recently that prompted this article. Many of the presenters were highly engaging and I took copious notes on their inspiring ideas and remarks.
There were a few speakers who were painful to watch and listen to. They practically self-imploded on stage with their robotic script-reading and weak verbal /vocal delivery.
I know that many people dislike public speaking, but that’s no excuse for diminishing your own professional credibility at the podium. With a little practice, some professional feedback and presentation coaching/training, you could make things much better for yourself and your audience.
As I drove home from the event, the expression Hold Your Tongue popped into my mind. Hold Your Tongue is an idiom or expression that commonly means you have said enough and that you should stop talking…now.
- How often do you wish that had remembered this good advice when speaking or presenting?
- What should you have NOT said out loud in the presentation?
- Did you feel badly for presenter(s) who said unfiltered things that diminished his/her credibility?
Presentation calamities are so unnecessary. They can be prevented.
This blog article was written to remind us of what we should NOT be saying out loud during our presentations. I write this article as much for me, as I do for you, my client, readers and web visitors.
Here’s what you need to watch out for during your next presentation. Make a conscious and deliberate effort to weed this stuff OUT from your speech delivery and communication style.
Apologies and Excuses
- “I was just asked to give this presentation, so I’m really not prepared…”
- “I didn’t know that I had to give a speech today, but here it goes…”
- “I really hate giving presentations, but..”
- “I don’t want to take too much of your time, but…”
- “I really don’t know much about this (issue/subject/topic), but …”
- “I don’t know why they asked me to talk about this, but…”
- (misuse of the word like.)” like, I don’t know what I’m talking about…”
- sort of….
- kind of…
- I think…
- you know…
- …right? …right?…right?
- “as she mentioned before…”
- “as you can see…”
- “we all know that…”
Too Much Information
- telling your whole life story
- telling stories that don’t make a point or seem to go on forever…
- giving way too much detail
As I bring this blog article (or rant) to a close, I reflect upon the irony of the title “Hold Your Tongue.” Perhaps I should have held my tongue and kept this critical feedback to myself? Perhaps I should appreciate how hard it is for some people to get up the courage to speak in public? Speaking/Presenting is not everyone’s natural gift or passion. Yet, I am compelled to speak up and share my professional observations and suggestions with you via this forum. As with all professional skills, you can get better with practice, feedback, self awareness and experimentation. And yes, a little restraint.