Your communication skills. Bad Habits… The bane of all presenters would be having a ‘bad habit’ in front of the audience. If you think about what makes a bad habit then you would realise that it’s repetition. It’s only when we do something continually that it attracts attention. If repetition is the problem then variety is the answer.
If when presenting you sway once, shift your weight to one of your hips, look at your slideshow occasionally, say ‘um’ once every 30 seconds and scratch your head when answering a question… no one will notice. You are only guilty of being natural and that is the ideal as a presenter. It’s only when we do anything continually that we cause the audience to focus in on that one aspect.
So when you practice your communication skills and presentation, don’t be concerned with trying to be perfect, you will not build empathy or rapport with your audience.
A communication skills tip. The best way to check to see if you do have any annoying habits is to record yourself when practicing. Then play it back and view it from the audience’s perspective. Listen for repetitive use of words such as ‘okay’, ‘right’, ‘you know’ at the end of your sentences. Also listen for words such as ‘now’, and ‘so’ at the start of sentences.
Play the recorded session using the fast-forward option. This will highlight any repetitious body language habits such as swaying, stepping in and back, overused hand gestures etc.
I know quite a few people practice in front of a mirror and try to spot ‘bad habits’. This isn’t all that effective as you are trying to do two things at once; trying to make a presentation as well as assessing it at the same time.
Always practice by standing up and practicing aloud. You’ll be great.
This communication skills tip was prepared for you by David Nottage of Torque Business, who won the 1996 World Championship of Public Speaking. We present local and international communication skills and presentation programmes.
For more information on training programmes and Keynote Speaking, contact TORQUE Ltd