Articles tagged: apologize

College students come into my classroom not only with a flurry of fears and insecurities, but also with baggage in the form of bad presentation habits they have developed over the years.

My students’ bad habits didn’t happen overnight.  These habits develop through years and years of watching terrible presentations.  While most of us can recognize a terrible presentation, we don’t yet have the tools to make our own presentations great.

In a class called Professional Communication and Presentation, I teach my students how to break their bad habits. These lessons apply to all presenters: teachers, conference presenters, business executives… anyone who has a speech to deliver. Read on to see how you can un-learn these habits, too!

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Imagine… you’ve just been introduced.

In a few seconds, you’re going to deliver the speech of your life. Your opening hook is crisp. Your closing is powerful. Your stories are polished. Your attire is impeccable. You are confident.

And then the power goes out.

Or someone spills juice on you.

Or music starts blaring from outside the room.

Or the CEO leaves the room.

Or your key prop is missing.

Or a mild earthquake shakes the room.

Or your shirt ripped.

Or your computer freezes.

Or … (insert your worst nightmare here) .

There’s only one thing you can do — only one thing you must do.

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Conventional public speaking wisdom states that one should never apologize.

However, I recently argued that there are very few public speaking rules.

  • Is “never apologize” a strict rule?
  • What is the rationale? What’s wrong with apologizing to the audience?
  • Under what circumstances, if any, is it okay to apologize?

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