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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.

Now- Colloquial Words and Phrases

Colloquial words and phrases heard on cable media and seen in print media this past week. Spice up your communication.

  1. Fingers crossed. As in “Fingers crossed that we get rain.” ABC 10/10/2021
  2. Stay in the game
  3. Sadly. As in “Sadly, it is not a typical year.”
  4. The timeline. As in “The timeline for finishing college has slipped from 4 to 6 years.” CNBC 10/11/2021
  5. Make it a part of your plan. (Ag Weekly 10/10/2021
  6. Good to be with you.
  7. I appreciate and value your insights. CNBC 10/11/2021

Conclusion- Write it Out

Write It Out

Write out your conclusion to any presentation.. That combats stage fright. The conclusion is the second most nerve-racking time for speakers. If you write it out, you don’t have to worry about forgetting it. And most important, if you write out the conclusion, you’ll know when to stop. You won’t ramble.


English Communication- Gracious Good-bye

English Communication: Gracious Good-bye


Have you forgotten etiquette for a gracious good-bye. Gracious is when both communicators feel content with the leave-taking. Social gatherings for holidays are coming.

The situation: You have participated in a conversation.  It’s time to leave the gathering or you want to strike up conversation with someone else.

Smile and tell the person “I need to go.”

Then call the person by name and acknowledge something they said.  This is to let them know you were taking in information.  For example,  “Bob, it was good talking to you.  Great hearing about your hiking the Pacific Coast Trail.  It makes me want to plan some hiking with my friends.  Hope you get to hiking again soon.”

Express desire to see them again.  For example, “Hope I get to see you again before long.”

Smile and depart.

Gracious departure.  It only takes a few words.

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


English Communication: How’s It Going? The Why Tells You the How

English Communication:  How’s It Going? The Why Tells You the How


“How’s it going?” “How are you?”

These phrases can drive international people crazy in the U.S.

That’s because in their home country, if people say, “How are you?”, they really do want to know how you are doing or what is happening in your life.

In the U.S., this can be ritual greeting.  “How are you?” could be acknowledging the other person., the same as “Hi.”   How do you know the intention is acknowledgement only? No opportunity for any response.

But for the best communicatrs, the other’s response to the greeting ritual tells mountains. Observation, listening and looking, are the key. Tone of voice and body language reveal.  35% of a person’s impression of you comes from your tone of voice.   55% of impression comes from body language.

Based on your perception of the other’s well being, you can make judgment about what to communicate or how much to request.

The best communicators mirror the other person. Communication mismatch between exuberance and grief-stricken sparks pain. We live in Covid time. According to lawyer data, there’s rise in relationship breakups.

Mirroring is matching the demeanor of the other person.  Match the positioning of arms and legs and the same level of energy and loudness . Lean into the talker.  You will see mental and emotional state if you care to.

Empathy and connection are golden.  Reflect to adjust your communication to the other’s state of well-being.

See our 1-3 minute Youtube clear English speech tutorials  English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos.


Wow Your Audience

Wow Your Audience

Get a business card from someone in the company that you’ll be addressing and scan in the company logo. Then you can make it appear in the corner of every screen with your logo. 201308