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Leadership / Public Speaking

When Giving a Presentation, Never Do This

Former Managing Editor
3 min read

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As someone who used to be terrified of public speaking, I can say it: Giving a presentation can make you feel like you've got 1,000 daggers pointed at you. One wrong word and you're toast.

Under those circumstances, it's often tempting to offer an excuse. If you tell the audience you're not as prepared as you'd like to be, for instance, perhaps they won't judge you as harshly.

The reality is the audience wants you to succeed. Pointing out any real or imagined weaknesses you might have actually works against you, says Jacqueline Whitmore, etiquette coach and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach.

Whitmore says statements like "I'm feeling really tired today," or "I'm just getting over a cold," don't help your case. "You never want to tell the audience what your flaws are… You want to make it seem like you have been prepared for this event for a long, long time," she says.

Check out the video for more advice on preparing for a presentation.

Related: 6 Things You Should Never Say During a Speech

5 Public-Speaking Tips From Seasoned Experts