Five Bad Assumptions You Can Make About Speaking

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Communication, executive coaching on February 15, 2013 at 8:33 AM

Preparing for a presentation is difficult as there are many unknown variables. It is acceptable for a speaker to make certain assumptions about a presentation. Here is a list of the 5 basic assumptions a speaker can make when preparing for a presentation.

  1. Assume all your equipment will work perfectly. Do not arrive early to do a check, do not call ahead to troubleshoot any compatibility issues. It can be a good idea to boot your PowerPoint as the audience watches this will allow you to share the cute picture you have on your desktop. assumptions
  2. Assume you are the expert and the audience knows less than you. You do not need to ask audience members what they know or believe about your topic – assume they know nothing. Speak the entire time leaving very little, if any, time for questions. The faster you speak, the more words you say, the bigger “bang for the buck” the audience receives.
  3. Assume you are more important than the audience. Do not waste time learning about your audience or listening to audience members before you speak. You are the speaker, not them. It is more important they learn who you are as you are the guest. Besides, in 45 minutes you will be out the door and will never see these people again. Anything you may learn will be a waste.
  4. Assume the audience will not care about your appearance. Dress in a very casual manner as this will help audience will see you as a regular guy. Overdressing can make you seem stuffy and unapproachable. Wearing jeans to a business function is good as your relaxed demeanor will help the audience relax.
  5. Assume the audience will forgive you if you mispronounce the name of your host and the organization that asked you to speak. This will demonstrate to them that you believe you are important and will leave them wondering if they named their organization incorrectly.

Speaking is often considered a “soft skill” – that is one that is less important than other business or life skills. Many people believe they can “muddle their way through” most any speaking situation without any formal training or even much thought. Research supports this theory as 82% of speakers are fair to poor.

Implement these 5 assumptions you can be part of the majority!


This “tongue-in-cheek” speaking tip is provided by iSpeakEASY.  Our clients become the 18% of speakers that are good to excellent. Visit us at or Contact us for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

© 2013 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.

  1. Ethan,

    Another masterpiece of humor and sound advice. Nice work.


  2. PS. Does this mean I can’t wear blue jeans to workshops anymore?

    • Honestly Bob, there are times when blue jeans may be appropriate – it depends on the audience and the scenario. I know of your work and if you were addressing a group involved in creek or habitat restoration AND you were speaking outdoors AND it was a less than formal event AND your jeans were clean and lacked holes AND if the rest of your attire was appropriate – then yes, wear your jeans.

      The other time jeans can work is when you are so famous it does not matter. Bill Gates would speak on stage in jeans – of course he is Bill Gates, I am not so I wear slacks.

    • Bob – a friend shared a story of a presenter showing up to a business networking group wearing short pants and those shoes with toes. Not only did he do himself a great dis-service, but guests to the networking group were rather put off.

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