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Avoid These Common Speech Mistakes


Instead of…. Try...
“So, my topic is/ I’ve been asked to speak a bit about…” Grabbing the listener’s attention, telling a story, or using another kind of hook to get their interest.
“I would like to start with a story/ a funny joke.” Just start telling your story or your joke.
“Sorry/ excuse me if I seem nervous/ I’m not good at public speaking.” Taking a moment, if you get nervous or start having technical problems. Nerves are generally not as visible as you think.
“Talk about,” used repeatedly or monotonously. (i.e. “First, I’ll talk about competition. Then, I’ll talk about Darwin. Then, I’ll talk about Finches.”) Mixing up your language or using different words and phrases. Any phrase used repeatedly in this way is going to grate on your audience's ears.
“Bear with me.” Running through your presentation beforehand, using the same technology, so that you don’t get caught off guard.
“Sorry, let me rephrase.” Using language simple enough or reorganizing your presentation so that you don’t have to rephrase. You want them to be with you the entire time.
“The next slide shows/ moving right along…” Finding more organic transitions in your presentation, rather than having to force it.
“I know this slide is really busy,” Making your slides as clean as possible and circle the parts you want your audience to notice in red. Point to those and explain.
“I think I’ve bored you enough/ I didn’t have enough time/ That’s all I have.” Leaving your audience with memorable last thoughts on your presentation. These examples of poorly planned out conclusions leave your audience without a sense of closure.
“Um/uh/you know.” Taking a moment to collect your thoughts, instead of using filler words. Your audience won’t notice the pause, but you will sound much more put together.

 

Contact Information


Amy Gaffney

Oral Communication Center Director
Kirner-Johnson 222
315-859-4401 oralcomm@hamilton.edu

ORAL COMMUNICATION CENTER HOURS

Aug 26 – Dec 13


S 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.

M 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

T 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

W 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

T 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

F 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

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