The Worst Ways To Start Or End Your Talk

In Uncategorized on September 15, 2016 at 2:47 AM

The two most delightful and memorable bites of a meal are the first and the very last. The first bite is preceded by anticipation: you wonder what lies ahead. The food hits your tongue and there is a joy as the flavors spread through your mouth. That final bite of dessert is the taste that will linger in your mouth long after you leave the table.

Image result for confident speakerThe most memorable parts of a talk are the first words and the final parting thought at the end. The first words help the audience know if the flavor of your talk is one to which they want to listen. The final statement is the one that lingers in their mind as they walk away.

These two spots are where you have the greatest ability to influence your audience. Many times, speakers do not adequately prepare for these parts and lose the opportunity presented. Below are some sure-fire phrases to help you lose confidence and credibility:

 Terrible opening lines:


I didn’t have time to prepare for this talk

I hate public speaking

I don’t know why I was asked to talk

As you know….

Lights please

My name is… (You’ve been introduced)

Can you hear me okay? Is this mike on?

I don’t give many talks.

Bill Jones knows more about this topic than me….

Bill Jones was supposed to talk, but he wasn’t available so you’re stuck with me.

And without further ado…


Terrible closing lines

That is all I have to say

Well, I hope you got my main point. (Then don’t repeat the main point)

Was I clear enough?



Boy, am I glad that is over

Thanks for your attention


Bill Jones could have explained this to you better

That is it. I’m done.

Sure wish Bill could have been here to do this


A strong opening grabs the audience and encourages them to listen. A strong closing demonstrates to the audience that you are confident and competent.

Use these two opportunities to your benefit. Take time to plan and practice your opening and closing statements so you both create the anticipation in the minds of your audience and then leave them with the wonderful flavors of your talk in their minds.


 © 2008 – All rights reserved. This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

 If you found this helpful, here are some other articles you may enjoy:

So What?

Open Minds Are Key To Good Communication

The Benefits Of Speaking Well

Avoid The Awkward Close


A Checklist Of What NOT To Do During A Presentation

In Uncategorized on July 8, 2016 at 8:15 AM

I watched a speaker score a perfect 100% on the checklist of things NOT to do during a presentation. Even though he was presenting an innovative and exciting project to a very receptive audience, he failed miserably based completely on his presentation style. It was an amazing experience to witness one speaker doing so much wrong all in one 30-minute talk.

checklist 2

Checklist of what NOT to do during a presentation:

  • Forgo a proper introduction by a host so when you speak, the audience will not know who you are, why you are qualified to speak or why your topic is important to them
  • Wait until you are introduced to turn on the projector and set up any equipment causing the audience to wait uncomfortably.
  • Immediately turn off the room lights, project your first slide and launch into the talk without introducing the topic or acknowledging the audience
  • Repeatedly demonstrate your lack of familiarity with the equipment by hitting wrong buttons
  • Project an image projected larger than the screen so the slides will run off the edges on all sides
  • Face the screen as you speak so the audience has a good view of your back
  • Use small text and hard to read graphs in your slides
  • Include profanity verbally and written on slides
  • Do not make eye contact or have any type of interaction with the audience
  • Include lots of jargon, technical terms and acronyms
  • Choose to speak from the floor so you make it difficult for those in the middle or back of the room to see you even if there was a lectern or stage available
  • Slowly lull the audience to sleep through use of monotone, a low voice and slowing your voice
  • Incorporate a variety of distracting mannerisms including “ums”, odd hand gestures, fiddling with your hands, rocking back and forth on your heels, and pacing
  • Speak about many specific details of your project while failing to ever explain the overall benefits
  • Lack a strong opening statement, overview of the talk, call to action and closing statement
  • Do not structure his talk in a logical or easy to follow manner and opt instead to jump from topic to topic in a seemingly random manner
  • Do not use the microphone making it difficult for the audience to hear your words
  • Do not repeat questions from the audience so few know what you are talking about
  • End your presentation abruptly with the lights off. Forgo a closing statement – just walk off the stage leaving the room in the dark.

The best projects, services, or ideas will only gain traction and support when the value and benefit is apparent to the audience and presented well. Review this checklist and avoid as many (or all) as possible.

iSpeakEASY offers individualized coaching and group workshops to help you excel in your communication skills. For information, contact us at

© 2016 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.

The Whole Is Cooler Than The Pieces

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2016 at 2:00 PM

The presentation had all the right elements: an introduction, good background on the topic, 3 well-laid out points, and a clear conclusion. The presenter had taken all the right steps in preparing the talk and put a fair amount of time into his work. The problem was the end result was boring. Dull. Dry. Uninspiring.

The surprising thing is the project he is speaking on is anything but boring: – it is innovative, outdoorsy, creative, full of hope and prospect and something that 90% of people could easily support.

pieces and the whole

In his efforts to define each part of the project (the history, the pieces, the location), the speaker had lost sight of the whole, and in doing so, lost the sense of what made this project so cool in the first place. Someone had a vision for this project that was shared with others and over the course of time, they had found money and time to make it a reality. Very little, if any of the excitement or passion that allowed this project to blossom was presented in this talk.

Many speakers dissect their projects into the individual pieces and lose sight of the whole – what is it that makes your topic, your project so exciting and special? It similar to a baker talking about the ingredients, the oven, and the baking pan without ever describing the delicious, beautiful cake.

As you create your next talk, remember to include that really big cool idea that is the foundation of your entire project. Describe the end result of your project at the beginning of your talk – use it as your opener to grab the attention of your audience. Chances are the very thing that excites you about your project will excite your audience as well. Once they are excited, they may just be interested in all those pieces and details.

Here are a few other articles you may enjoy. Remember to share these links with your friends and colleagues.



© 2016 – This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. We help people speak effectively and with confidence.

Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.