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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.

Want to Reconnect?

Want to Reconnect?

The reconnection call is a call to someone you have not talked to in a while. In the latter part of 2022, life is qualitatively different than these last two years– for many, a good time to reconnect with others. Your purpose  is  reconnecting, reestablishing the relationship , and getting an update on what the other person is doing.

Start out by acknowledging that it has been a long time, then express an interest in catching up.  Even if it feels awkward at first, often the relationship can be reestablished quickly.

English Communication Skill: Get More Out of Listening — Ask Questions

English Communication Skill: Get More Out of Listening — Ask questions!


No one says everything you want to hear in the best order, depth, and detail. What to do?  You must ask questions to get the information you want or need.

In the American culture, etiquette prohibits us from  rapid-fire questions. Do questions are not confrontational, but simple easy-to-understand questions to elicit specific information.


Don’t be shy or embarrassed about asking someone to clarify a statement which has an unfamiliar word or acronym.  Many use jargon or language of their profession when they talk.  Ask the meanings of those words.

More difficult is the situation when you are in the same industry and the other person assumes you know the meaning of words that he or she is using.  You may feel embarrassed to ask for the meaning under that circumstance because you think you should know.  There are a few good ways to handle this situation.  My favorite is this , “Just to be sure that we are using our vocabulary in the same way, tell me exactly how you define ABC.”  And when the other person defines a term for you, you can respond:

  • That’s great. We use the phrase the same way.
  • Glad I asked; we use that phrase a little differently, but we can go with your definition.
  • I just learned something new.


Negotiations require special concern. If you think the other person is using a term drastically different than you are accustomed and some real damage may be done if you use the word their way instead of your way in a negotiation, say “We should define that term in the written agreement so others won’t get confused.  You and I know what we are talking about, but we want to be sure that everyone else does, too.”  Don’t get into a battle over definitions.

What about making your English speech pronunciation more accurate? Be Watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

English Communication Skill: Best Listening- Body Language & Power of Notetaking

English Communication Skill: Best Listening- Body Language and Power of Notetaking


At least fifty percent of a person’s impression is from your body language.

  1. Take an alert body position in any meeting

Enhance your conversation by doing these body positions

  • Uncross your arms and legs.
  • Sit straight in the chair.
  • Face the speaker full on.
  • Lean forward.
  • Make as much eye contact as you can.

Getting drowsy? Don’t give in–sit up straighter, stand up, get a drink  of water.  Get the blood flowing.  Don’t think you can effectively combat drowsiness without changing your physical position.

  1. Write it down

Taking notes is a great listening aid.  Even if never refer to your notes again, writing the most important points boosts the entire listening process.  Besides, absorbing an entire conversation through listening only is almost impossible.

Negotiating? Taking notes is important throughout every step of the negotiating process.  Review your notes right away to be sure that you wrote down everything you may want to remember,  If you can’t read your notes, then redo the notes right away.

For negotiating or any business meeting or important meeting of any kind, consider providing a status report to the other side. That’s an excellent way to assure that you listened well. Writing down what you think you heard and verifying the material with the other side is a positive experience.

That memo acts in another way. if your counterpart believes you recorded the conversation incorrectly, then he or she can provide the conflicting information.  Immediately thank the other person and also point out that you wrote the memo to be sure you listened well and interpreted the discussion accurately.

Here is a tip –if the other person says you got it all wrong and misunderstood him or her, do consider this. You may  have listened carefully, because it is just as likely that the other person is correcting a sloppy communication to you.  People often change or refine their position when they see it in writing.  Do let that modification happen gracefully.

When the other person provides a new version of the negotiations or the communication in any meeting, simply change your notes.   Remember, you write it out to get it right.

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

What You Get From Your Reconnecting Conversation- Networking

What You Get From Your Reconnecting Conversation— Networking

When you reconnect with another person, maybe by phone or in-person, the information you hear may not only be of interest to you or but also something for which you can give support. Maybe you are able to assist the person in some way.

Or the information might be valuable to someone else you know.

Typically, after telling you what’s going on in their lives, they will come back and inquire about yours.  So both sides of the conversation get an update. Also, be sure to let the person know when the conversation needs to close with something like “I’ve got to go in about five minutes to catch another phone call (or meeting). That often prompt the query about you.

The conversation is re-establishing relationship and is a natural source for networking.

English Communication Skill- Do Your Best Listening

English Communication Skill: Do Your Best Listening

Communication is connecting with people, making relationship.  Half of the story is listening.

Do you want to be a better listener so the other other person knows you are truly in the same space with them?

What to do? First, clear away the clutter. Noise clutter, desk clutter, even mind clutter.

  •  When you talk to someone, don’t just mute the device, turn it off.
  • If you have something else on your mind, write it down before you enter a conversation. Thus you won’t worry about forgetting to address the issue – and you’re free to focus on the rest of the conversation.
  • Clear your desk of whatever is between you and the speaker – -so you concentrate on what the speaker is saying.
  • Don’t accept phone calls or texts while you are talking with someone else. Interrupting a conversation to take a call or review a text makes the person in the room with you feel unimportant – and makes what you have to say seem unimportant. If you think the call is an emergency, state it might be an emergency or family member, ask the person on the other line if it is OK if you call back after your meeting. Then get back to the person you are with,

Second tip, count to three.

This slight delay enables you to absorb and understand the last statement before you respond. You absorb the message, and you give the other person one last chance to modify the statement or question.  Even if your response is simply that you must consult with your client, spouse, or boss, pausing for three seconds helps you better understand and remember what the other person said.

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