Another Sentence To Banish From Your Presentations

I often work with presenters who lack energy during their first practice speech. When we watch their videos back together, most people see for themselves that they fell a bit flat. Then we discuss how to fix the problem.

We discuss what parts of their presentation they feel truly excited about—then we look for ways for that passion to shine through in a manner that feels genuine to the speaker. Looking for the thing behind the thing (read more about that here) often unleashes their passion.

But then a curious thing happens during the next practice round.

Successful speech

When the trainees get up to deliver their second practice speech, I often hear them insert a new sentence they didn’t utter during the first round:

“I’m really excited to be here.”

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that sentence (or its equivalents), but I’ve concluded that speakers shouldn’t use it. Why? Because I’d prefer they show their enthusiasm through their delivery, not tell people they’re excited through their words.

Trying to seem more excited simply by saying those words usually doesn’t work. It’s an ineffective fixative, since the line too often comes across without the enthusiasm the line demands. As a result, it typically comes across as forced.

Plus, telling people “I’m excited!” feels like the equivalent of an actor breaking character to tell the audience, “This next scene is going to be awesome!” The actor would never do that, of course—a great scene doesn’t require such an announcement. Neither does a great presentation.

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