Find Your Prominent Presentation Habit and Squash It if You Need To – by Kerri Garbis , CEO Ovation

When it comes to professionally presenting and clear communication, what are your habits? Do you overuse dreaded filler words such as “like” or “um”? 

Do you shift uneasily in your shoes on the podium? Or do you maintain eye contact with the audience, making them feel connected to you and your storytelling?

Whether you are aware of them or not, habits can sometimes get in the way of your message and lessen the impact of what you are saying. For excellence in professional presence, you need to identify your presentation habits and decide if they are harming or helping you be your best.

How to Identify Your Presentation Habits

Start by recording yourself delivering your story, speech, or presentation and watch it back! For the first time, watch without sound. 

How is your eye contact? Your physical expressions? What are your hands doing? You will start to observe things you may not be aware of and can instantly squash some of those mindless habits that are not serving you in the best light.

Next, listen without watching the video. What sort of vocal habits emerge? Is there a vocal pattern? Are you using upspeak or downspeak? With an influx of pop culture idioms and modern lifestyle catch-phrases, be sure you use professional language and tone in the workplace.

Now you will be able to identify any habits you can immediately get rid of, as they can distract from the core of what you are saying and lessen the impact of your message overall.

Other helpful tips include asking friends and colleagues what they notice about you or what comes to mind when they think of you when you speak? 

Do they identify habits that you are not aware of? Are you unconsciously twisting your hair with your fingers, do you point for emphasis, or do you lick your lips too much? Other people’s impressions of you go a long way towards helping polish our professional selves. 

Go deeper with this exercise in self-awareness and look at a video of yourself in a “normal” or social setting that is not work-related. Do you see behaviors that are distracting or detracting from your message? 

Throughout this journey, remember that not all habits need squashing! Saying “you’re welcome” when someone says, “thank you,” showing appreciation for a job well done, or helping out a colleague in need are habits that withstand the test of time. Most importantly? Don’t lose yourself in correcting habits that are harmless and display the real you.

About Kerri Garbis

Kerri Garbis is the Founder and CEO of Ovation and has trained hundreds of business professionals internationally throughout her career as a professional actress, entrepreneur, and speaking coach. She is a Professional Speech Writer certified by the Professional Speechwriters Association, a Business Etiquette Expert certified by The Emily Post Institute, an Emotional Intelligence Expert certified by The Hay Group. Her dedication to dynamic, user-tailored content has helped ensure that every Ovation consultant delivers the highest level of client-focused professional training.