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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.

English Communication- Don’t Shake Hands Yet- But Do Greetings and Goodbyes

English Communication: Don’t Shake Hands Yet – But Do Greetings and Goodbyes, part A

Important for this blog Wednesday, May 5, 2021, don’t shake hands yet. But do these—

 ‘What’s happening?’

 ‘How are things going?’

 ‘Good evening, Sir/ Ms (‘Miz’).’


 In the culture of the North America, these are usually ritual greetings.  If someone asks you “How are you ?”  or “What’s up?”, it is a simple “hello.”   The other person is expecting a one or few word reply.

 This is different than many other countries, such as Romania, where a greeting is invitation to talk about the well-being of each person.

So many choices in North American greetings and goodbyes! Determine the who, when, how, and context so that you know better which to choose.

Here are ptions for expanding your ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’:

Formal Greetings

Use for business setting, public speaking, or in the service professions, such as restaurants and retail.  

  • Good morning/afternoon/evening (Answer: ‘Hi’)
  • Nice to meet you – Used when meeting someone for the first time. Can be used in informal settings with new acquaintances. (Answer: ‘Nice to meet you too’)
  • It’s good to see you again – Used with someone you have met before. (Answer: ‘You too’)

Formal Goodbyes

Use in business setting, public speaking, or in the service professions

  • It was nice to see you again (Answer: ‘You too’)
  • Take care  – This is also often used with friends and  used especially by females. (Answer: ‘Thanks, you too!’)
  • Stay safe. — Popular due to Covid pandemic. (Answer: “You, too.”)
  • Have a good day/week/weekend/trip – This can also be used with friends. (Answer: ‘Thanks! You too.’)

Informal Greetings

Use with friends

  •  Hey! (Answer: ‘Hey’)
  • What’s up?  (Answer: ‘Not much’ or ‘hey’)
  • Hey! Long time! (Answer: ‘Yeah, it’s been a while.’)
  • How’s it going? (Answer: ‘Hey!’ or ‘Pretty good. You?’ or ‘Not bad. What about you?’, “Hanging in there.”)
  • Hey! How are you? (Answer: ‘Pretty good. You?’)

Informal Goodbyes

Use with friends

  • See you later (Answer: ‘Yeah!’ or ‘Later.’)
  • Later (Answer: ‘See ya.’ or ‘Take care.’)
  • So long. (Answer: ‘ Catch you later.’)

Later in the upcoming blog will be more on avoiding confusion with ‘How are you?’  

If you want more direct practice with the clear speech mode, catch free You Tube videos at Youtube.com/ClearTalkMastery — English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  .

 Contributing editor: Amber McKinney

copyright Clear Talk Mastery Inc 2021 (140625)

Convincing People

Tip: Convincing People

If you want to convince people, remember this: The more separate arguments you make against your opponent’s position, the more difficult it is for your opponent to deal with each of those items.

copyright Clear Talk Mastery 2021 (140623)’

Modern Slang

English Communication: Modern Slang

American slang.


Every era has a pattern: a group of people — the young, pop stars, social media influencers– create new words or phrases. It can be helpful to know this slang in order to understand what people are saying.

While understanding slang is not dangerous, be careful in using them unless you are confident you know what they mean. Mistakes can be embarrassing.

Here are some slang words you might hear:

  • YOLO (Acronym for a sentence): ‘You only live once.’ Often used as a reason for deciding to do something–perhaps enjoyable or perhaps risky. For example, ‘I probably should save the extra money I have, but I’m going to invest in a gold mine instead. YOLO!’
  • Peeps (Noun): People (especially your friends). For example, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Oh, just hanging out with my peeps.’   In American vocabulary, we describe the chirping sound of a baby chicken to be “peep, peep.”  Thus use this if you are young .
  • Swag (Noun): This word has multiple uses, but a common meaning is ‘style: being cool in how you talk, dress, and present yourself,’ For example, ‘Look at that jewelry. She’s got swag,’
  • Fail (Noun or interjection) Used to express disapproval. For example, “My internet keeps cutting out. Comcast fail!” or “I left my phone at work. Fail!”  
  • Hater (Noun): Someone who is negative and criticizes others. For example, “Don’t be a hater. You’re just jealous.”  You can follow up with a change in topic in the conversation.
  • Meh (Interjection): Wikipedia calls this term ‘an expression of indifference or boredom.’ For example, “Do you want to go to a movie?” “Meh. I’ll go if you want to.”  
  • Whatever (Interjection): Used to express “It doesn’t matter” or “I don’t care what you say.”  For example, “I really wanted that job, and I didn’t get it. Whatever,” or A: “You need a haircut.” B: “Whatever.”

So the next time you’re browsing social media or conversing,be on the lookout for this slang.  It’s never a bad idea to increase your English vocabulary and cultural literacy… and maybe gain a little swag while you’re at it.

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercises.

Contributing editor: Amber McKinney, MA

copyright Clear Talk Mastery 2021


Make Conversations and Presentations Pop with Analogies

Make conversations and presentations pop like a balloon with analogies

People remember vivid mental images, like an exploding sun, longer than they remember words. Analogies, like the best Swiss or Italian or Peruvian chocoate, make your case or argument memorable.


Best Body Language for Virtual/Zoom etc & In-Person Meetings & Interviews

Best Body Language for Virtual/Zoom/Skype/Teams & In-Person Meetings & Interviews


What’s the most important body language during virtual and in-person meetings and job interviews?

  1. Once you have entered the virtual meeting or physical room, do not adjust your clothes which can be interpreted as lack of self-confidence.  Check your clothes before the appointment. 
  2. Good posture means square shoulders and straight back. Slouching makes you seem disinterested, bored, and unprepared.
  3. Keep your arms in an open position, and don’t fold your arms across your chest. You can be interpreted as not flexible, or stubborn or belligerent (i.e., warlike).
  4. Do not rub your neck or back of your head. That can be interpreted as distracted or uninterested.
  5. If in person, do not overdo perfume or cologne. Consensus is to not wear any. A great fragrance to one may be abhorrent or allergenic to another. 

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  on YouTube/ClearTalkMastery for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

Low budget but want to level-up your English speech? Check out $19.95 per month subscription called ClearTalk Weekly, www.subscription.cleartalkmastery.com. You get a new lessons each week with videos, different audios and written lessons. Do one month, then cancel if you want. Or do the subscription the next month. This subscription launched April 2, 2015. Tested and proven effectiveness

Blog March 27, 2021 copyright 2021 Clear Talk Mastery, Inc and Dr. Antonia Lawrence Johnson