3 months ago
Ten words and phrases to avoid in presentations
Don't say this in public!
Want to wow your audience? Want to deliver a successful presentation? Do you want practical takeaways from your presentation?
Then avoid these phrases.
Public speaking is difficult. People fear public speaking, according to research.
"Public speaking is people's biggest fear, according to studies. Number two is death. "Sounds right?" — Comedian Jerry Seinfeld
Yes, public speaking is scary. These words and phrases will make your presentation harder.
Using unnecessary words can weaken your message.
You may have prepared well for your presentation and feel confident. During your presentation, you may freeze up. You may blank or forget.
Effective delivery is even more important than skillful public speaking.
Here are 10 presentation pitfalls.
1. I or Me
Presentations are about the audience, not you. Replace "I or me" with "you, we, or us." Focus on your audience. Reward them with expertise and intriguing views about your issue.
Serve your audience actionable items during your presentation, and you'll do well. Your audience will have a harder time listening and engaging if you're self-centered.
2. Sorry if/for
Your presentation is fine. These phrases make you sound insecure and unprepared. Don't pressure the audience to tell you not to apologize. Your audience should focus on your presentation and essential messages.
3. Excuse the Eye Chart, or This slide's busy
Why add this slide if you're utilizing these phrases? If you don't like this slide, change it before presenting. After the presentation, extra data can be provided.
Don't apologize for unclear slides. Hide or delete a broken PowerPoint slide. If so, divide your message into multiple slides or remove the "business" slide.
4. Sorry I'm Nervous
Some think expressing yourself will win over the audience. Nerves are horrible. Even public speakers are nervous.
Nerves aren't noticeable. What's the point? Let the audience judge your nervousness. Please don't make this obvious.
5. I'm not a speaker or I've never done this before.
These phrases destroy credibility. People won't listen and will check their phones or computers.
Why present if you use these phrases?
Good speakers aren't necessarily public speakers. Be confident in what you say. When you're confident, many people will like your presentation.
6. Our Key Differentiators Are
Overused term. It's widely utilized. This seems "salesy," and your "important differentiators" are probably like a competitor's.
This statement has been diluted; say, "what makes us different is..."
7. Next Slide
Many slides or stories? Your presentation needs transitions. They help your viewers understand your argument.
You didn't transition well when you said "next slide." Think about organic transitions.
8. I Didn’t Have Enough Time, or I’m Running Out of Time
The phrase "I didn't have enough time" implies that you didn't care about your presentation. This shows the viewers you rushed and didn't care.
Saying "I'm out of time" shows poor time management. It means you didn't rehearse enough and plan your time well.
9. I've been asked to speak on
This phrase is used to emphasize your importance. This phrase conveys conceit.
When you say this sentence, you tell others you're intelligent, skilled, and appealing. Don't utilize this term; focus on your topic.
10. Moving On, or All I Have
These phrases don't consider your transitions or presentation's end. People recall a presentation's beginning and end.
How you end your discussion affects how people remember it. You must end your presentation strongly and use natural transitions.
10 phrases to avoid in a presentation. I or me, sorry if or sorry for, pardon the Eye Chart or this busy slide, forgive me if I appear worried, or I'm really nervous, and I'm not good at public speaking, I'm not a speaker, or I've never done this before.
Please don't use these phrases: next slide, I didn't have enough time, I've been asked to speak about, or that's all I have.
We shouldn't make public speaking more difficult than it is. We shouldn't exacerbate a difficult issue. Better public speakers avoid these words and phrases.
“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” — Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father
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3 months ago
5 Tips for Concise Writing
Here's how to be clear.
“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” — French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, and writer Blaise Pascal
People want this. We tend to repeat ourselves and use unnecessary words.
Being vague frustrates readers. It focuses their limited attention span on figuring out what you're saying rather than your message.
“Examine every word you put on paper. You’ll find a surprising number that don’t serve any purpose.” — American writer, editor, literary critic, and teacher William Zinsser
How do you write succinctly?
Here are three ways to polish your writing.
Your readers will appreciate it if you delete unnecessary words. If a word or phrase is essential, keep it. Don't force it.
Many readers dislike bloated sentences. Ask yourself if cutting a word or phrase will change the meaning or dilute your message.
For example, you could say, “It’s absolutely essential that I attend this meeting today, so I know the final outcome.” It’s better to say, “It’s critical I attend the meeting today, so I know the results.”
Delete actually, completely, just, full, kind of, really, and totally. Keep the necessary words, cut the rest.
2. Just Do It
Don't tell readers your plans. Your readers don't need to know your plans. Who are you?
Don't say, "I want to highlight our marketing's problems." Our marketing issues are A, B, and C. This cuts 5–7 words per sentence.
Keep your reader's attention on the essentials, not the fluff. What are you doing? You won't lose readers because you get to the point quickly and don't build up.
Delete words that don't add to your message. Do something, don't tell readers you will.
3. Cut Overlap
You probably repeat yourself unintentionally. You may add redundant sentences when brainstorming. Read aloud to detect overlap.
Remove repetition from your writing. It's important to edit our writing and thinking to avoid repetition.
If you're repeating yourself, combine sentences to avoid overlap.
Write as you would to family or friends. Communicate clearly. Don't use jargon. These words confuse readers.
Readers want specifics, not jargon. Write simply. Done.
Most adults read at 8th-grade level. Jargon and buzzwords make speech fluffy. This confuses readers who want simple language.
Ensure all audiences can understand you. USA Today's 5th-grade reading level is intentional. They want everyone to understand.
5. Active voice
Subjects perform actions in active voice. When you write in passive voice, the subject receives the action.
For example, “the board of directors decided to vote on the topic” is an active voice, while “a decision to vote on the topic was made by the board of directors” is a passive voice.
Active voice clarifies sentences. Active voice is simple and concise.
Bringing It All Together
Five tips help you write clearly. Delete, just do it, cut overlap, use simple language, and write in an active voice.
Clear writing is effective. It's okay to occasionally use unnecessary words or phrases. Realizing it is key. Check your writing.
Adding words costs.
Write more concisely. People will appreciate it and read your future articles, emails, and messages. Spending extra time will increase trust and influence.
“Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” — Naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau
3 months ago
7 ways to improve public speaking
How to overcome public speaking fear and give a killer presentation
"Public speaking is people's biggest fear, according to studies. Death's second. The average person is better off in the casket than delivering the eulogy." — American comedian, actor, writer, and producer Jerry Seinfeld
People fear public speaking, according to research. Public speaking can be intimidating.
Most professions require public speaking, whether to 5, 50, 500, or 5,000 people. Your career will require many presentations. In a small meeting, company update, or industry conference.
You can improve your public speaking skills. You can reduce your anxiety, improve your performance, and feel more comfortable speaking in public.
“If I returned to college, I'd focus on writing and public speaking. Effective communication is everything.” — 38th president Gerald R. Ford
You can deliver a great presentation despite your fear of public speaking. There are ways to stay calm while speaking and become a more effective public speaker.
Seven tips to improve your public speaking today. Let's help you overcome your fear (no pun intended).
Know your audience.
"You're not being judged; the audience is." — Entrepreneur, author, and speaker Seth Godin
Understand your audience before speaking publicly. Before preparing a presentation, know your audience. Learn what they care about and find useful.
Your presentation may depend on where you're speaking. A classroom is different from a company meeting.
Determine your audience before developing your main messages. Learn everything about them. Knowing your audience helps you choose the right words, information (thought leadership vs. technical), and motivational message.
2. Be Observant
Observe others' speeches to improve your own. Watching free TED Talks on education, business, science, technology, and creativity can teach you a lot about public speaking.
What worked and what didn't?
What would you change?
How interesting or dull was the topic?
Note their techniques to learn more. Studying the best public speakers will amaze you.
Learn how their stage presence helped them communicate and captivated their audience. Please note their pauses, humor, and pacing.
"A speaker should prepare based on what he wants to learn, not say." — Author, speaker, and pastor Tod Stocker
Practice makes perfect when it comes to public speaking. By repeating your presentation, you can find your comfort zone.
When you've practiced your presentation many times, you'll feel natural and confident giving it. Preparation helps overcome fear and anxiety. Review notes and important messages.
When you know the material well, you can explain it better. Your presentation preparation starts before you go on stage.
Keep a notebook or journal of ideas, quotes, and examples. More content means better audience-targeting.
Videotape your speeches. Check yourself. Body language, hands, pacing, and vocabulary should be reviewed.
Best public speakers evaluate their performance to improve.
Write down what you did best, what you could improve and what you should stop doing after watching a recording of yourself. Seeing yourself can be unsettling. This is how you improve.
5. Remove text from slides
"Humans can't read and comprehend screen text while listening to a speaker. Therefore, lots of text and long, complete sentences are bad, bad, bad.” —Communications expert Garr Reynolds
Presentation slides shouldn't have too much text. 100-slide presentations bore the audience. Your slides should preview what you'll say to the audience.
Use slides to emphasize your main point visually.
If you add text, use at least 40-point font. Your slides shouldn't require squinting to read. You want people to watch you, not your slides.
6. Body language
"Body language is powerful." We had body language before speech, and 80% of a conversation is read through the body, not the words." — Dancer, writer, and broadcaster Deborah Bull
Nonverbal communication dominates. Our bodies speak louder than words. Don't fidget, rock, lean, or pace.
Relax your body to communicate clearly and without distraction through nonverbal cues. Public speaking anxiety can cause tense body language.
Maintain posture and eye contact. Don’t put your hand in your pockets, cross your arms, or stare at your notes. Make purposeful hand gestures that match what you're saying.
7. Beginning/ending Strong
Beginning and end are memorable. Your presentation must start strong and end strongly. To engage your audience, don't sound robotic.
Begin with a story, stat, or quote. Conclude with a summary of key points. Focus on how you will start and end your speech.
You should memorize your presentation's opening and closing. Memorize something naturally. Excellent presentations start and end strong because people won't remember the middle.
Bringing It All Together
Seven simple yet powerful ways to improve public speaking. Know your audience, study others, prepare and rehearse, record yourself, remove as much text as possible from slides, and start and end strong.
Follow these tips to improve your speaking and audience communication. Prepare, practice, and learn from great speakers to reduce your fear of public speaking.
"Speaking to one person or a thousand is public speaking." — Vocal coach Roger Love
4 months ago
These 10 phrases are unprofessional at work.
Successful workers don't talk this way.
"I know it's unprofessional, but I can't stop." — Author Sandy Hall
Do you realize your unprofessionalism? Do you care? Self-awareness?
Everyone can improve their unprofessionalism. Some workplace phrases and words shouldn't be said.
People often say out loud what they're thinking. They show insecurity, incompetence, and disrespect.
"Think before you speak," goes the saying.
Some of these phrases are "okay" in certain situations, but you'll lose colleagues' respect if you use them often.
Your word choice. Your tone. Your intentions. They matter.
Choose your words carefully to build work relationships and earn peer respect. You should build positive relationships with coworkers and clients.
These 10 phrases are unprofessional.
1. That Meeting Really Sucked
Wow! Were you there? You should be responsible if you attended. You can influence every conversation.
Improve the meeting instead of complaining afterward. Make it more meaningful and productive.
2. Not Sure if You Saw My Last Email
Referencing a previous email irritates people. Email follow-up can be difficult. Most people get tons of emails a day, so it may have been buried, forgotten, or low priority.
It's okay to follow up, but be direct, short, and let the recipient "save face"
3. Any Phrase About Sex, Politics, and Religion
Discussing sex, politics, and religion at work is foolish. If you discuss these topics, you could face harassment lawsuits.
Keep quiet about these contentious issues. Don't touch them.
4. I Know What I’m Talking About
Adding this won't persuade others. Research, facts, and topic mastery are key to persuasion. If you're knowledgeable, you don't need to say this.
Please don’t say it at all. Justify your knowledge.
5. Per Our Conversation
This phrase sounds like legal language. You seem to be documenting something legally. Cold, stern, and distant. "As discussed" sounds inauthentic.
It was great talking with you earlier; here's what I said.
6. Curse-Word Phrases
Swearing at work is unprofessional. You never know who's listening, so be careful. A child may be at work or on a Zoom or Teams call. Workplace cursing is unacceptable.
Avoid adult-only words.
7. I Hope This Email Finds You Well
This is a unique way to wish someone well. This phrase isn't as sincere as the traditional one. When you talk about the email, you're impersonal.
Genuinely care for others.
8. I Am Really Stressed
Happy, strong, stress-managing coworkers are valued. Manage your own stress. Exercise, sleep, and eat better.
Everyone has stress, so manage it. Don't talk about your stress.
9. I Have Too Much to Do
You seem incompetent. People think you can't say "no" or have poor time management. If you use this phrase, you're telling others you may need to change careers.
Don't complain about your workload; just manage it.
10. Bad Closing Salutations
"Warmly," "best," "regards," and "warm wishes" are common email closings. This conclusion sounds impersonal. Why use "warmly" for finance's payment status?
Personalize the closing greeting to the message and recipient. Use "see you tomorrow" or "talk soon" as closings.
Bringing It All Together
These 10 phrases are unprofessional at work. That meeting sucked, not sure if you saw my last email, and sex, politics, and religion phrases.
Also, "I know what I'm talking about" and any curse words. Also, avoid phrases like I hope this email finds you well, I'm stressed, and I have too much to do.
Successful workers communicate positively and foster professionalism. Don't waste chances to build strong work relationships by being unprofessional.
“Unprofessionalism damages the business reputation and tarnishes the trust of society.” — Pearl Zhu, an American author
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