How to avoid being wishy washy

by Derek Featherstone

When you're at the front of the room, it's yours. Keep it by taking these wishy washy phrases out of your talks. Don't ask the audience for permission to tell them a story—just tell the story!

When was the last time you heard another speaker (or even yourself) say: “I’d like to start off with a story…”

Just start off with the story.

Get right into it.

Get rid of the preface phrases and just get on with it. You don’t need them and neither does the audience.

Speakers say these things all the time:

  • “I’d like to share an example with you”
  • “I’d like to start off with a story”
  • “I’d like to ask you all a question”

Seriously. Filter yourself.

Just do the thing that you want to do.

What, do you think the audience is going to say no, that you can’t start with a story?

“I’d like to share an example with you…” becomes “Here is an example…”

“I’d like to start off with a story…” gets eliminated and you jump right into a powerful part of the story.

“I’d like to ask you all a question…” becomes “Question: blah blah blah…”

Not that hard is it? And guess, what? That’s you seizing the room. You’re not really going to ask for permission to tell a story are you? You’re the speaker!

Next Action:

Record yourself speaking. Listen to it. Change all instances of “I’d like to…” to something else more direct and meaningful and not wishy washy.

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