10 phrases to avoid while public speaking


A good speech requires preparation and good content. Most people practise day and night for weeks before a presentation. They use relevant quotes, receive feedback, and even do considerable research on their attire. How many public speakers actually focus on what they should consciously leave out while delivering a speech? Here are a few phrases in that regard:

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‘I’m going to tell you a joke’

You might be the funniest person in your friend’s circle. But declaring your intention to share a joke is like setting yourself up for failure. What if it isn’t as funny as you expected it to be?

The best way to convey something humorous is to simply tell it with a punch, thus creating a bigger impact.

‘I’ve never done this before’

You needn’t announce this to the world. You might see it as a strategy to avoid letting your audience down, but on the contrary, it does just that. People have come to listen to you. It’s none of their business to know whether you have presented before or not.

‘Are you listening?’

The audience will always contain a mix of people who are genuinely interested, partially interested, and totally bored. In case you happen to find two to three people who are yawning, (probably because they couldn’t catch enough sleep the previous night) just carry on with your speech. It wouldn’t do you any good to pause and ensure that every single person in the hall is listening to you because honestly, everyone won’t be.

‘I’m nervous’

Everyone experiences some anxiety before delivering a speech. Most times, nervousness isn’t visible. It’s up to the audience to decide whether they think you are nervous or not. Chances are that you don’t appear to be nervous at all. So why let them know?

‘I think I’ve bored you enough’ 

And in case you haven’t bored anyone, by telling them this you are stating that you yourself don’t find your speech interesting.

‘I haven’t prepared much’

Well if you haven’t, then why are you even standing on the dais? The audience expects a committed speaker, the same way you want the attention and time of the audience.

‘Can you all hear me?’

Often, speakers have the habit of tapping the microphone just before their speech and doing a sound check. After that they enquire whether the people sitting in the audience can hear them. All of this should be done in advance. Arrive at the venue well before time and ensure that everything is in place – speakers, slideshows, microphones etc.

‘I’m sorry’ 

Apologising unnecessarily just shows lack of authority. Apologise only if you have made a terrible mistake. Never draw attention to something that can go unnoticed.

‘I’m not sure, but…’ 

If you aren’t sure of something, just don’t include it in your speech. Half information is worse than no information at all.

‘I guess that’s it’

If this is how you plan to tell your audience that you’ve finished your speech, then you should consider rephrasing it. The end of the speech should appear to be obvious. A good conclusion comes across naturally.

Now get ready and go ace that speech!


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