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Bill Quick

Top five public speaking tics that are annoying as Hell | Questions and Observations

I spend a lot of time in front of an audience. It’s a major source of my income, and if I suck at it, my bank account will feel it.

Since I’m rather fond of my bank account, I try to listen to others who do public speaking, and pick up do’s and don’ts from them. It’s mostly don’ts, I’m afraid, especially from politicians. Our generation has very few good public speakers, and no genuine orators of consequence as far as I know.

The worst things I see are tics that speakers fall into. They annoy the heck out of me, and probably you too. I try to observe and remember those annoyances, so that I can avoid them in my own delivery.

Here, then are the top five things I notice in public speakers that grate on my nerves. Any of you that need to get in front of a group should try hard to avoid having a single one of these tics even one time in your presentation.

Very good advice, if you do any public speaking. Read the whole thing and take it to heart, especially if there is any chance I’ll find myself listening to you some day.

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Bill Quick

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.

Comments

You Know, Like, Frankly, This Is Good Stuff — 8 Comments

  1. Actually, my worst offense is using the word “actually”. When I think about it, it surprises me how often I toss that around.

    I can do pretty good if I remember to slow down. I talk fast, which causes me to trip over my own tongue. I find that speaking slowly causes me to do less ‘uh’ and ‘um’s as well as helping me avoid some of those tics. It also gives me time to think about what I’m going to say next.

  2. When I was in college, I joined Toastmasters. I stayed a member for a couple of years and it was a really good experience. I recommend it for anyone who might be speaking publicly.

  3. Robb, when I (occasionally) coach people for presentation, almost always the first thing I tell them is “slow down”.

    The tension causes people to speak faster, I think. It’s as if the stressed part of the brain just wants the presentation to be over, so it wants to go fast.

    I’m not immune. My crutch when I realize I’m doing it is to pretend I’m speaking to a foreign audience. I automatically slow down about 20% for foreign audiences, just because I know most of them don’t parse English as fast as native speakers.

  4. Pingback: Tics » Cold Fury

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