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Presentation Time of Day: Pitfalls & How to Prevent the Bad (English Communication Skills)

Blog 182 for Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020 – Title: Presentation Time of Day- Pitfalls and How to Prevent the Bad  (English Communication Skills)


These are COVID-19 times for now and for a while to come.  Some say that this while to come will be lengthy in some sort.  Some say COVID-19 just speeded up what was along the way, anyway.  For example, using technology to do one-on-one or small group, or even large group meetings.

One thing stays constant or the same: human beings. Information gleaned about human beings in what we call the sciences of social psychology, sociology, psychology, anthropology, education, just to name a few, probably remain pretty much the same.

In that light, do the following. Yep—for face-to-face OR remote meetings OR remote teaching.

What time of day will you be speaking or doing a presentation or even teaching?  Will it make a difference? Absolutely.

Here are some pitfalls.   Know these, and you can prevent problems.  For today’s blog  we will discuss  pitfalls for morning presentations.

Breakfast/early morning

  • Listeners may be groggy. That means they are not alert.  Choose a stimulating issue which could be something that the people you are talking to do not agree on.  Or choose an anecdote to open with.   That little story could be about you (that’s actually great!) or about someone else.  Get audience involvement by having them raise their hand in agreement or disagreement.   I think even Zoom  or groups on Skype or Microsoft Teams Meeting allows for seeing  people’s faces.   The audience could raise one hand for No, or disagreement and two hands for yes, or agreement.
  •       EVEN better—is to ask your question in this manner- “Raise your hand if you or someone you know has this issue or problem.   Yay—no embarressent
  • People may be in a rush.  So this is not the time for leisurely humor or drawn-out details.  At breakfast or breakfast time, or early morning, more than any other time of day, it’s wise to heed the great US president Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s advice: “Be sincere, be brief, be seated.”  He said that 80 years ago. Still true, you think?
  • Listeners may be preoccupied with work tasks of the day.  This, of course, will affect their receptivity or their willingness to listen to your point of view.  Draw them into the topic with quick anecdotes  or very little stories or thought provoking quotations.
  • People attending your presentation whether in-person or virtual may be irritable. Why? Maybe because they had to change their morning commute to attend the meeting.  Maybe because they sure are tired of “safer at home,” or social distancing, or wearing face-masks or sure do yearn and desire for the freedom of pre COVID-19.    Lawdy… these days we ALL have lots of reasons to be irritable or grouchy or antagonistic.  And honestly, some people have more reasons than other people.


  • Listeners may need a coffee break.  If at all possible, provide coffee and tea.  If you are remote, you can’t provide caffeine liquids.  But you could announce at the beginning for everyone who can to get their cup of coffee or black or green tea or caffeine enhanced soda.  Otherwise listeners may head to the nearest cafeteria if you are in-person, or head to the kitchen area if you are remote and miss a chunk of your presentation.  That’s true for teaching too.
  • Attendees may need to use the restrooms.  A good rule of thumb, a good quick tip: If your listeners have been sitting for more than an hour – for whatever reason– give them a quick three-minute break before you talk.    Otherwise, they’ll just leave in the middle anyway.  That means if this is an in-person presentation, they will nterrupt other people  in the audience and distract you.  If this is a remote presentation, people leaving to use the restrooms have just deprived you of valuable time to impart or give your information.
  • People may need to check in to their office for messages.  These days, it is the mobile phone—for all sorts of messages.  Again, a three minute break is a good remedy—it gives them a chance to make a quick  check to their smart phone or  even to text a message or make a call without bothering the whole room, if you are in person.  Same thing is true for any remote or virtual meetings.  But don’t give them too long, or they may get bogged down with expanded work or personal life details

Immediately before lunch

  • Listeners are hungry and probably can’t concentrate well.  Don’t be surprised if no one asks any questions before lunch.  It doesn’t mean they are bored.  It only means they’d rather go eat.  Thus it is for in-person and remote or virtual meetings.  Here’s a good alternative: Invite people to ask questions throughout your presentation.  Be sure to keep questions and answers in check so you don’t run overtime.  Audiences are very forgiving – except making them late for lunch.
  • Listeners may well have been sitting all morning and may need to stretch.  What’s an easy solution? Invite them to stand up and take a thirty-second “stretch break” right at their seats.
  • Listeners may get “information overload.”  Supplement  or expand out your speaking with handouts  for gatherings in-person so people can review material later. For virtual or remote communication—have a link ready to release at the end of the presentation which has information.  For gosh sake, most experts and seasoned or experienced presenters know to never  give out the supplemental information or study guide or summary information at the beginning of the presentation.  People, including me, cannot resist the temptation to be reading that while you are talking.

Coming in a future blog will be “What about lunch presentations.?”

Copyright 2020 Clear Talk Mastery, Inc.

Great Communiction -2- To Be the Vest Version of Yourself

Blog #183 for Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020 by Dr. Antonia Lawrence Johnson

Great Communication- 2-  To Be the Best Version of Yourself

When you are communicating under any situation, the frame or point of view of yourself as being in an audition will focus you to make yourself to be the best version of yourself.  Strange but true, it is fun to be the best version of yourself!

 Practice these tips for communication whether in-person or remote or virtual meeting.  These are tips from experts about interviews.   You could even practice these tips on your own.  Like a rehearsal.    Actors and actress practice.  So do people who are going to do an interview for a job.  You can too.

When you are interviewing for a job, the frame of being in audition will focus you to make yourself stand out from other job applicants.   Practice these tips during your rehearsal for the interview:

  • State or show the not-obvious.  Create an intriguing statement about yourself.  For example, a woman expecting to be told “Tell us a bit about yourself, “( the most popular interview question and the most popular question when first meeting someone), replied. “ I think I should tell you I’m a non-conforming conformist.”    Ack, just so you know, this example comes from an interview. And this woman explained what she meant and wound up getting the job.
  • Think About and Show Outside- the -Usual: Think about something visual that really represents you or something that you  can do.  Perhaps a photo taken at an event you organized. Or a photo of you engaged in a hobby – maybe hiking, jewelry making, football/soccer, drawing. Use your smart phone photo!   If you have nothing that symbolizes your capabilities, look for a pattern not easily apparent just by looking at you (or in the case of a job interview, in your resume).  Be prepared to talk about that interest or talent, apart from your  everyday life or  work history.
  • A quick and easy way to get some ideas about communicating about yourself to others is this: Get to media, including YouTube interviews: Watch interviews and make note of what works for persons to communicate about themselves.  Look for traits that make people likeable and competent.  Research indicates that people who use gestures are perceived as being more social. Research also indicates that people who speak clearly are perceived as being 30% smarter.
  • Copyright 2020 Clear Talk Mastery, Inc.

Try Using These Super Current Phrases

Speech Tip for today, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020 on website www.ClearTalkMastery.com

Okayyyy.  Speech tip today is  your using words and phrases which caught my ear in the last several weeks on media.   I love these words and phrases.  For those of you trying to improve your English speech enunciation or pronunciation, each of these has at least one “L” sound.   I’ll attach  one of our YouTube  little speech videos for the “L”  sound at the bottom.

  1. “It was my privilege”    as in  “It was my privilege to attend the dinner honoring Mr. Kenneth Brandon for his work with photography.”
  2. “If you want to know more, please check out _____.”
  3. “mind control”  as in “Governments, including the USA and Russia” carried out mind control experiments in the 1950s as part of their Cold War strategy to win that “Cold War.”.
  4. “Golden Lion”   as in “The highest cinema award given at the Venice Film Festival  is called the “Golden Lion”.  It is comparable to the USA “Oscar”.
  5. “______  faced death by living life to the fullest.”
  6. “He fought multiple battles with ________.”   As in “He fought multiple battles with cancer.”
  7. “substantial proof”   as in “There is substantial proof that COVID -19 has killed far more people over 75 in the USA than under 75.

Here is English Speech Tip #35, alson on YouTube/ClearTalkMastery which is for the “L” speech sound as in “file” and “value.”

copyright 2020 Clear Talk Mastery, Inc

Talk Clearly With Face Mask


Seven of our current student-learners are ITAs, International Teaching Assistants, for Chemistry or BioChemistry.  They want to know—how do you lecture using a facemask.

Answer- You will need to maximize using the Six Clear Talk Strategies.

In brief,   first, talk a little louder.  Your voice has to penetrate or go through a mask. Download a free app from the internet for a Sound Level Meter—digital.  Aim for decibels in the 70s.

Second-  speak each word clearly.  Each word is important

Third- Pronounce the north American quick consonants quickly (p,t, k, ch  and b, d, g, j)

Fourth -AND speak the slow consonants slowly (all the rest!).

Fifth- Pronounce the vowels very clearly.   American  English long vowels have two sounds (all except one!).  American Short Vowels have one sound,  BUT two are slowly spoken or stretched out.  Those are the American English short vowel  /a/ as in the memory word “hat”  and the American English short vowel /o/  as in the word “not”.

Fifth and most important—DO  NOT SLUR the words together.  Do not do like this “Whatchadoing. “  Instead, what are you doing.”

Remember, these strategies for American English come from 100 years of research… starting all the way back to when the telephone was first invented.

REMEMBER, people cannot see your mouth. 

Remember, some consonants are 30 to 40 dB SOFTER than the vowels.

Hope this helps.  Happy Talking.

BELOW IS Clear Talk Mastery Speech Tip # 57 for “ch” as in “chin”.  This is one of those consonants that is 30 to 40 decibels softer than vowels. Be sure to say it in the American English manner- very quick!

copyright 2020 Clear Talk Mastery, Inc

Make a Really Good Impression On People

Blog 181 for Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020

Make A Really Good Impression On People

     Best tips or advice for job interviewing will make you a star for when you first meet someone.  Especially for someone you want to impress.

      The best communicators plan and practice the following techniques whenever they can.

      Use these tips from interview experts and trainers:

  1. Learn all you can about the person/s you are going to meet and/or the organization in advance.
  2. Be ready for “Tell me about yourself,”   Even have an elevator speech ready because people love to know about your work.  It’s an entrance to connection and knowing a bunch about you quickly.  If you are internationally born or born in the US, tell them where you were born or where you grew up.  The personal information helps to set rapport and satisfy a curiosity 
  3. Know your lines. Great tip here. Actors do it, and you should do it too.  That is, do memorize a few short quotes and have them ready.  They will help you respond in a memorable manner to questions.   The lead-in to a memorable quote can even be—I heard a wise person say…  Or, for example: My mother had “patience” as her middle name.  She used to quote St. Ambrose- “Have patience with everyone, especially yourself.”

copyright 2020 Clear Talk Mastery, Inc