Increase your credibility by avoiding these phrases

We’ve all been on the receiving end of a terrible presentation. Sometimes it’s hard to put a finger on what’s wrong with. Often though, a poor presenter will go as far as to point out why their presentation is sub-par. When you’re making the presentation, how can you avoid these pitfalls? What phrases destroy your credibility regardless of your content?

Here’s our top three culprits:

“Wow, I’m so nervous”

This one is usually followed by an awkward giggle.

Presentations are all about confidence: your confidence that you know your material and the audience’s confidence that you know your material. When you tell the audience you’re nervous, you’ve instantly lost them. They’ll not only doubt you, but also your material.

When we run our Presentation skills Workshops, we ask participants to rate how nervous they feel when they’re up front on a scale of 1–10, with 10 being the most nervous. This usually results in scores of 8+. We then ask the audience to rate how nervous the person looked. This usually comes out at a max of 3. It’s one of the main reasons we think other people don’t feel nervous, we just can’t tell how truly nervous someone is by looking at them, so avoid telling your audience.

“You probably can’t read that slide too well”

We talk a lot about PowerPoint slide design, but by far the biggest problem is cramming too much information into one slide. Saying that a slide is hard to read is just drawing attention to this mistake. Not only does this tell your audience that you are knowingly giving them poor slides, it also detracts from your audience’s attention as they struggle to make out the tiny markings on the screen.


There is a simple fix for this: better slide design. If you think your text is too small…increase it. If you can, look at your presentation in the room you’ll be using and stand up the back. Can you read the information? Remember, the slide show is a tool to support your presentation and shouldn’t be a word-for-word recount. If there’s a lot riding on your presentation, then consider getting your slides designed by a professional.

“And that’s me done”

If you ever want people to remember anything from a presentation, you need a strong conclusion. Just finishing abruptly after you’ve gone through your presentation is not that. Take the time to think about what you’ve said and quickly recap. This can be as simple as listing the key points or recommendations that you discussed. It will cement your message in their minds, maximising their retention.

So when you’re preparing for your next presentation, remember to avoid these three phrases: “Wow I’m so nervous”; “You probably can’t read that slide too well”; and “That’s me done”. Remember that people don’t see how nervous you feel. Keep your slides tidy. And always finish with the information you want your audience to remember.

More posts you might like...

Podcast: PowerPoint Tips Every Facilitator Needs to Know on The First Time Facilitator

Thomas had the opportunity to be interviewed on a Brisbane-based podcast called the First Time Facilitator. It’s all about the art and skills required for facilitators, trainers and anyone running workshops. The host, Leanne loved Thomas’ passion and expertise in PowerPoint and presentation skills and knew he had to come on the show and share…
Read More

Three Steps to Save Your Audience From ‘Death by PowerPoint’​

We’ve all been there: wishing for death’s cold embrace as we endure a PowerPoint that should never have been created. While a lack of design or even too many slides may be forgivable, the biggest problem is far too much content. How do we go about making sure we keep the content down? Simply put,…
Read More

How to encourage your audience to take action

How do you encourage your audience to take action when you present? Starting a productive conversation is so much more valuable than simply providing information. Here’s how. If your team could use some help with presenting, let’s have a conversation. Connect with me below or email me at [email protected]
Read More

How To Present For Different Learning Styles

You’ve probably heard about adapting to different learning preferences when presenting, but what about different learning styles? Here Kate discusses adapting to rule learners or example learners! If your team could use some help with presenting, let’s have a conversation. Connect with me below or email me at [email protected]
Read More

3 Public Speaking Tips From Stand-Up Comedy

For those of you who haven’t been following my illustrious stand up comedy career, I’ve been trying out my skills at my local open-mic nights. With my background in public speaking and inherent hilarity, what could possibly go wrong? Honestly, I’ve had a blast with the performances I’ve given so far, with the highlight being…
Read More

5 Tips to Instantly Present Your Data More Effectively

Data presentation done well can empower decision makers to visualise and understand difficult concepts or relationships, or to identify new patterns for actionable insights. Done poorly, it can muddle and confuse, or even worse, lead to poor decisions based on your good data. Well-designed data visuals are concise, clean, and focused on the audience. This…
Read More