Public Speaking: What You Should Know Before You Open Your Mouth: Part 2

In this post, we will consider the final three don’ts of public speaking.

I have also included some tips on “selling the sizzle” of your message.

4. Enunciate

Unless you are at a ventriloquists’ convention, do relax your jaw muscles and move your lips when you are speaking.

When you slur or drop the endings of words, or swallow the first and/or last consonant of a word will leave people guessing what you’ve just said.

For example, saying “wif ‘im” instead of “with him”.

Mispronouncing words will not win your audience over either. Some commonly heard examples are, “noo-ke-lar” instead of “nuclear” or “aakks” instead of “ask”, or “seveneen” for “seventeen”.

5. Verbal Diarrhoea

We all have a tendency to speaking a lot quicker when the adrenalin is pumping and our hearts are racing.

You have probably spent hours writing and carefully crafting your presentation. Don’t waste this opportunity.

Your listeners have to process what you have just said, especially if it is the start of a logical sequence of ideas. Remember, you are taking them on a journey with you.

As difficult as it may seem at that moment, remember to slow down the speed at which you are giving out information.

In order to avoid looking nervous, pause (count 1 and 2) and then proceed with the next point. Do not be uncomfortable with silence as it is okay to have these breaks in your presentation.

6. Wimp out words

Finish your presentation on a high, and leave your audience believing every word you have just uttered.

When a speaker uses insipid terms such as “well, if things go according to plan..” or “we are hopeful that..” or “it is very possible if…” does not fill them with confidence that you can deliver whatever it is you are selling or pitching to them.

On the other hand when you say “I have every confidence that this service or product I am offering will fully meet your company’s needs..”, it doesn’t leave much doubt in their minds as to what you’ve just said.

Is it a matter of appearing confident and believing in what you are selling? Yes, indeed.


They sense a strong level of conviction from you.

This brings me to the “sizzle selling” aspect.

When you walk past a food stand selling ribs on hot coals, what hits you first? Is it the smell of hickory smoke on the barbeque, or the aroma of the ribs and that sizzling sound of the sweet and sticky marinade dripping on the glowing coals.

I put it to you that it is the whole deal (and by the way, did that description make your mouth water?).

Let’s say that you are selling a service of delivering home cooked meals to busy executive women with families. It would be dead boring if your said precisely that.

When you pitch to these women the valuable time they can share with their husband and kids instead of being stuck in the kitchen after a 10 hour day in their jobs, everything takes on a new perspective.

You follow up by saying that you have planned for them highly nutritious two course meals for each evening of the working week. These meals only require 15 mins in the oven and dinner is ready. Of course desserts are available as an added option.

The guilt factor they may have had about neglecting their family just went out the door.

Is the cost of this service the predominant factor in their minds when they are tossing up whether or not to take you up on your offer?

What do you think?

You have engaged them at an emotional level, and remember that in any competition between the heart and head, the heart always wins.

Yours in health, wealth and happiness

Adapted from

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