Have you ever heard a presenter say something that stood out – but for all the wrong reasons?
I wonder how you would’ve reacted if you’d heard those speakers.
To me, it made them sound dated, and out of touch with how audiences speak. (Gaffs like that damage the speaker – and their message.)
Yet all the speakers did was say 3 letters and the word “dot”. (In fact, one letter 3 times in a row.)
You’ve probably guessed what they said:
Why you can skip that
Make everything you say and do audience-focused
When you’re presenting, your key role is to make everything you say and do audience-focused. So if you mention a web address, just say the parts people need to know, and skip the rest. Let’s look at why you don’t need the WWW…
Think about what happens when you type a web address into your browser. Behind the scenes, your browser adds this prefix when needed:
So you (and your audience) never need to type any of that. And that’s why you don’t need to say any of it when you’re speaking on stage or on screen.
Check out this recent example
As I mentioned, lately I’ve heard a few presenters make this same slip. But when I came to write this post, I struggled to find any examples to show you.
Then, the video below appeared in my YouTube feed. It’s by Shelly Horton, who’s a TV presenter, speaker-coach and professional MC here in Sydney.
I’ve included just a 10-second clip below. If you’d prefer, you can watch the whole 3-min video.
Shelly’s a complete professional. Yet, if she’d simply skipped saying “WWW dot”, I’m convinced her message would’ve come across as even more polished.
Other steps you can take
You might think I’m just being picky…
You might think I’m just being picky. But I’d argue that all the tiny tweaks a speaker makes to their presentation add up to make a big difference. You know, things like:
- Gesturing from right to left (which to your audience looks better)
- Using slides that measure 16×9 rather than the older 4×3 size
- “Decluttering” your talk’s title to make it both audience- and action-focused
- Looking at your camera when you present online (as Shelly talks about too)
- Not saying “Can you see my screen?” during a webinar or online meeting
What’s the big picture?
Don’t aim to be perfect – aim to get better
To my mind, this all highlights that there’s no such thing as perfect public speaking. So don’t aim to be perfect – aim to get better. Wherever you are on your speaking journey, there’ll always be things you can improve.
Or, as this blog’s tagline (at the top of the page) puts it:
Here’s to better presenting!
Over to you
Feel free to have your say in the comments – or on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.