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  • Writer's pictureAnna Conrad

8 Words and Phrases to Avoid When Giving a Presentation

You need more than just good content to make a presentation memorable.

I have spent over 20 years giving keynotes and coaching executives on presentation skills and executive presence. Here are eight things to avoid when giving presentations:

  • Announcing your start, such as, "I'm going to talk about…" or "I'm going to tell a story." Grab listeners' attention immediately, whether using a story, joke, or mind-blowing statistic. So don't just announce your topic or that you will tell a story. What's engaging about telling people something they already know?

  • "I" or "me." The cardinal rule of presentations (and any communication) is that it is not about you but the audience. Replace every "I" or "me" with "you," "we," or "us."

  • "Sorry if..." or "Sorry for...." This is a red flag. Why are you apologizing for the presentation? Don't be sorry; give your audiences good stuff.

  • Filler words and phrases that water down your message, such as "just," "so," "like," "I think," "a little bit," and other Words That Kill explained in Confidence Mastery Bootcamp. Compare these two sentences: "I think we should move forward" with "We should move forward."

  • Admitting you're nervous, it is your first time, or you are not good at public speaking. These phrases will instantly kill your credibility. You may be looking for empathy or trying to show humility. Instead, you are projecting a lack of confidence (and if you don't have confidence in yourself, why should the audience have confidence in you?)

  • "The next slide shows…" or not using transitions between points or slides. Prepare the link between talking points so you don't appear to discover the next point when the slide pops onto the screen.

  • "I don't have time to …", "I'm running out of time," or "I need to move a little quicker." Do not announce your lack of time management skills.

  • "That's all I have. Thank you." Take the time to create a memorable close that will naturally signal the end without you having to announce it.


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