In this part of the Essential Presentation Pointers series, we’re going to cover something that is awfully important.
It’s an easy pointer, this time. In fact, you don’t have to actually do anything at all. This time we’re going to cover something you need to take away from your speeches.
“Well, um, like, er…you know. So…”
These are words and phrases we hear pretty much every day. And they’re okay for every day life. But they’re not for the stage.
Face it, we live in a day and age of laziness and shortcuts. This is not only evident with our national diet standards but in our speech as well. And for us, the public speakers to be, laziness in speech is one of those things that will turn your audience off faster than botulism at a wedding reception.
Adding “like” and “er” and “um” to your lecture is the easiest and fastest way to make your audience think you’re unpolished. That’s all it takes. Yes, you can get away with a few of them, as they’re so common nowadays, but too many and you’re lost. Even if you have a great speech with great rhythm and poise, if you pepper it with all these fillers they’re going to notice it. Your audience expects you to be good. They expect more from you than they expect from themselves were they in your shoes. Yes, that’s unfair. But that’s the way it is.
The best defense against these verbal stumbling blocks is to take your time. There’s nothing wrong with white space, as covered in Part 3. There’s nothing wrong with a little breathing room. In fact, taking your time, not rushing, not looking uncomfortable, not needing to fill every last silence will make your audience believe you are poised, confident and competent.