Thursday, April 17, 2008

Annoying speaker habits

Aside from the obvious situations where someone can have genuinely bad speaking skills or just read from slides or handouts, there are several other annoying speaker habits worth noting. At a lunch meeting today a woman making a brief announcement was playing with a rubber band while speaking - I'm not even sure she realized she was doing it - but it was being stretched and twisted between her hands while she was talking. Other annoying habits are speakers who click their pens or jingle keys/coins in their pockets while they're talking. Or those who refuse to use a microphone even if there is one ready for them as they announce they're "sure" everyone can hear them.

Distracting noises and actions can distract the audience. I wonder if their friends or hosts at meetings mention it to them?

1 comment:

Kare Anderson said...

It takes a trusted peer or diplomatic person to tell someone that they have specific habits that distract from their message when speaking.

Re refusal to use a mic, that can be handled in advance (in most cases) by a clear and "required" guideline that tells the person he/she will be using a mic.

As a speaker, let me pass along a concern that is often discussed at our speaker conferences:

I am taken aback by the number of people who do not practice giving the introduction, however brief.

Not checking the mic ahead of time, fidgeting at the podium, reading the introduction in a neutral tone or too fast, without knowing how to pronounce a name or other words in the introduction or not looking at the audience as one gives the introduction can take away from the introducer's "presence" and can make an awkward segue for the speaker.

Thank you for letting me get that off my chest.