“I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible.”

― Jane Austen

Your presentation has the power to empower your listeners, entice them or teach something they didn’t know. Your content is unique and useful, and you’ve prepared well.

But sometimes things go wrong during the course of your speech. You end up uttering words that dilute your message.

Language has the power to inspire or offend. Why reduce the impact by interjecting certain bad expressions in your speech?

This post covers the second half of the ten commandments of phrases to avoid in your presentation.


I know this slide is really busy

Love your data but don’t be obsessed with it. A cramped slide is an indication you care more about your material than about offering something of value. Remember that when it comes to slides, less is more. Don’t crowd it with anything that:

  • You can’t cover in the time frame between two slides
  • Your audience can assimilate or remember in a short span of time


I AM here to speak about

Nothing puts your audience to sleep or regret their presence more than this opening line. They are here for a specific reason – to listen to your presentation and take back something useful. You don’t have to remind them about your topic or theme.  Besides, you have 20 seconds or less to impress your audience and keep them interested in what follows. Don’t waste it on banalities.


Don’t take notes, you’ll get handouts

Some members love to take notes on key points, takeaways, interesting facts or new information from your presentation. Handouts are your choice, while notes are the prerogative of curious, smart or creative minds amongst your listeners. Let them enjoy your speech the way they want to.


Please bear with me/this is not working

Whether you use an apologetic or whining tone, you’re making a mistake by focusing attention on the glitch. This could be technical or venue related problem, but don’t let your audience get distracted by it. Carry on with your presentation as though nothing has happened. If you’ve never given a speech before without slides or mike, time to practice without props.


That’s all for now

If you’re going to conclude your speech, do it in a memorable way. Don’t let an otherwise great presentation falter in the final seconds, and leave your audience hanging.  Use your conclusion to drive home the message. Summarise your topic, remind them of a key point or two, add a relevant call-to-action, or see them off with a quotation.


Have you ever used any of these phrases?

Which of these phrases is your biggest turn off as an audience member?

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