Repetition Repetition in speeches – the so-so speaker

You may know  a ‘so-so’ speaker. I knew one at university. This fellow student was known as ‘so-so’ because whenever he had to give a presentation, it always included the word ‘so’ at least 50 times. Once we realised this, sweepstakes were run on presentation days as to how many times the word ‘so’ would be used!

We all have our favourite words and ways of saying things.

In general conversation this is fine, but when we’re standing up for 20 minutes giving a presentation, repeating the same words or phrases regularly can make us appear unoriginal, disorganised and detract from the impact of our message.

It’s tough to think of original words when we’re on stage with the adrenaline pumping, so the best way to address repetition in our speech is during rehearsal.

As soon as you notice any words or phrases that you use regularly, grab the theasaurus and make a list of synonyms that can be used instead.

Stick this list wherever you spend the most time during the day – as a post-it note attached to your computer screen, your phone wallpaper or even on the ceiling above your bed.

Read the synonyms and then re-read them until they’re inside your mind.

When rehearsing you’ll quickly notice that these words spring to mind, as they’ve already been set there before the adrenaline has kicked in. Sorted!

I’ve used this tip myself, for the word ‘obviously’ which used to pop up every 30 seconds in my speeches, even when things weren’t obvious!

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Rich Watts is the UK Business Speaker of the Year and a past JCI National Public Speaking champion. He setup and now runs Rich Public Speaking providing presentation skills and public speaking training.

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