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Archive for January, 2013|Monthly archive page

Like Filler In A Hot Dog

In BNI and Business Networking, Business Presentations, Education, executive coaching, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Social Media on January 21, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Do you ever notice the words and phrases people use that have no meaning? They struggle to find something to say and throw in things that take up space but mean nothing. Words such as:

  • Obviously
  • Let me begin by saying
  • Clearly
  • Honestly
  • As you can see
  • Really
  • Well
  • Um
  • Ah
  • In fact
  • As ‘so and so’ just said
  • In addition
  • Let me say that
  • So anyway
  • Before we begin
  • As you already know
  • Actually
  • Right

These phrases are like filler in a hot dog – they offer nothing more than bulk. There is no nutritional value or meaning. They do take up space though.

These words seem silly when read in a list, but listen for them as people around you speak. A few of these words or phrases sprinkled in a conversation may have little effect and in some cases, they may be appropriate. Most of the time, they convey a single message: The speaker does not know what to say. This hurts your credibility.

A confident demeanor demonstrates you are an expert in your field. It shows that you know what you are doing and, have the experience required to make a wise statement.

If you find yourself feeling nervous or unsure what to say, use a pause to buy you time to think. Silence is a powerful and loud tool that demonstrates you are thoughtful and credible. It buys you time to think while building your credibility.

Listen to others speak: are they using filler? If they do, how do you react when they use it? What is the impression you get when you hear them? Watch other audience members to see their reactions as well. Look at the speaker and see if you can ascertain their emotions while they do this. Do you sense confidence or panic?

It is good to speak when you have something to say. If you have nothing to say, rather than use filler, just say nothing.

(if you have a word you like to add to the list, post it under comments. I will compile them a post the updated list)

© 2010 iSpeakEASY. All rights reserved – We help people profit from their words. Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

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Real Life Examples Of Terrible Opening Lines

In Business Presentations, Communication, Education, exective coaching, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on January 15, 2013 at 3:42 AM

The opening line of a presentation is a golden moment – it is the one time where 100% of the audience is paying full attention to the speaker. An effective speaker is able to capture the attention of the audience right from the beginning and uses the opening to gain attention and credibility.

I asked group of professional speakers and coaches for some of the worst opening lines they had heard and this is what they offered. Some of these are funny, some are painful, and some just make me shake my head in astonishment.

man covering ears

Use this list to help you think about how you will act the next time you address a group.

  • “That was a great introduction. I hope I can live up to it.”
  • “This is the first time I’ve spoken on stage and I just hope I can get through this!”
  • “I hope you’ll bear with me because I’m so nervous right now!”
  • “I really didn’t have much time to prepare…”
  • “I hope you will pardon me but I had no time to prepare my speech last week. If you do not understand what I am talking about, please send me an email, I’ll do my best then”
  • “I am so nervous and it has given me gas. I hope I don’t fart and embarrass myself.”
  •  “I know my talk is going to be less than stellar”
  • “I really don’t feel very well so I am probably not going to do very well”
  • “Well I know I’m not the best public speaker, but…”
  • “Since you have the handouts, what I’m going to say here is already pretty much covered completely in there so you can read it when you are finished with this lecture”:
  • “So how much time do I have?”
  • “I did not prepare for today so I will just wing it.”
  • “It is an honor to be here. Thanks for inviting me.”
  • “This is going to be one of those PowerPoint disasters we all dread.”
  • “Is there anyone in the audience that can explain (my topic) better than I can?”
  • “Ummmm……”
  • “Well, you all know me and what I do so….”
  • “I don’t really have much to say and my topic is really boring anyway”
  •  “Since you all know about this topic, why don’t we just open it up to questions”
  • “I know the previous speaker was really super, and I’m not, so please bear with me.”
  • “Bill Jones, who is really a great presenter, and who was scheduled to deliver this presentation had a scheduling conflict – so he asked me to fill in for him. I won’t be as good as Bill. Please bear with me.”
  • “I have misplaced the notes, so…”
  • “I really don’t know that much about this topic, but…”
  • “Lights please.”

A good opening builds your credibility and captures the attention of your audience. Take time to prepare your entire presentation and pay extra attention to the first words you want your audience to hear.

Do you have a “real life example” of a terrible opening line? Post it in the comment box!

© 2011 – All Rights Reserved. This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. Call for information on individual coaching or group training.

The Worst Ways To Start or End Your Talk

In BNI and Business Networking, business, Communication, executive coaching, marketing, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, sales on January 2, 2013 at 8:06 PM

The two most delightfopening-woman-eating-cupcake-ssul 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.

The 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:

  • Um… 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 already been introduced)
  • Can you hear me okay?
  • Is this microphone 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?
  • Questions?
  • Um…
  • Boy, am I glad that is over
  • Thanks for your attention
  • Lights
  • 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.

Do you have “favorite” terrible opening or closing lines you have heard? Hit the comment button and share them with other readers!

© 2008 – iSpeakEASY  – All rights reserved.  Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.