Dear Mr. President (if he really were listening…),
Don’t worry about having to take the oath again. Even though both of you were understandably nervous during the inauguration, it was not your fault. If the other guy would have simply spoken 3-4 words only at a time, and waited for you to repeat them, then went on to the next 3-4 words (instead of saying sentences of 5-10 words at a time) it would have gone a lot smoother! Think of wedding vows – same rule applies, no matter how much you practice the vows ahead of time. Being nervous is natural and understandable, and that is why the lead-speaker needs to slow down, speak clearly and absolutely ‘chunk’ up the sentences to manageable small parts.
Common sense I know, yet…President Obama had to take the oath twice. 🙂
Whether you have a ‘thick’ accent or whether you are speaking to someone who has it, there is something you can do to assist the clarity of the conversation. Break up your sentences into smaller chunks, or phrases. Many people wrongfully assume that when you can speak English fast, it is a sign of fluency. Wrong! It is no good if no one can follow you, or if they think you are mumbling, or are simply too embarrassed to tell you that they didn’t understand you, right?
Chunk your sentence delivery. Obey pauses (i.e. commas and dashes) in the sentence, and when necessary, add a few other pauses. Deliver your speaking like you are delivering a speech, without as much emphasis of course, but with deliberate attention to your speed and volume. Example – instead of this:
“Hey John do ya wanna go outtathe bar tonight an watch the hockey game overa few beers?”
“Hey John, do you wanna go out to the bar tonight, and watch the hockey game, over a few beers?”
I think you get the point. I know it is hard for me to explain this over text, but if you try the sentence yourself once fast, then once slow, you should be able to tell the difference. Try to get something ‘in between’! Think about most great speakers, for example on TED Talks videos, or most politicians or spiritual leaders. They tend to chunk up their delivery of information, as well as use medium volume, medium speed, and appropriate stress. Try to emulate the great speakers, even when you are having a relaxed conversation. Just ‘dial down’ the public speaking voice a bit. 🙂 Once again this advice is especially useful if you are speaking with an accent. Go try. 🙂
(Communication Strategies from David Greenberg’s Simply
Speaking, Inc.® ‘Forget Your Title, We’re All in Sales!’®
Topic: How to Introduce a Speaker and How to Be Introduced
The speaker introduction is an often overlooked, but vitally
important part of setting the stage for a successful presentation.
When you accept an invitation to speak it is usually in your best
interest to provide the person introducing you with your own
introduction. I suggest using a double-spaced, large font,
bulleted list of facts you want the introducer. Send your
introduction a few days before the presentation to give your
introducer time to practice. Most introducers will be glad you
volunteered to take care of this important detail.
Think of it as a “sin” to poorly introduce a speaker and use the
“SIN” formula to ensure your introductions are effective:
S = Subject
State the subject or title of the presentation.
I = Importance
State why the subject is important to the audience, and
state why the speaker is important (the speaker’s credentials).
N = Name
State the speaker’s name (spell it phonetically in your notes).
Here’s an example:
“Our next presenter will tell us about an exciting new tool that
can make each of our jobs easier! This afternoon, we will explore
the advantages of replacing our old accounting software system.”
“This presentation will be important to each of you because each
of you uses the accounting system, to either enter data or generate
reports. We know you’ll want to be part of the decision-making
“Our presenter is highly qualified to recommend a new system. He
is a Certified Public Accountant. He has been with our company for
ten years, and has worked with our current accounting system for
five of those years. He knows first-hand how we operate, and he has
spent the last three months reviewing our needs and speaking with
several accounting software manufacturers.”
“Help me welcome Division Manager Stan Czachowski.”
(Spelled phonetically in notes “Cha-how-ski”)