I often hear business presentation sentence snippers.
Snippers have a verbal tic – they snip the ends of sentences during a business presentation.
You’ve probably heard these presentation snippers, too – they pinch the ends of sentences.
This is an unfortunate verbal tic. Tics can drag us down.
And it’s the elimination of these verbal tics that separate great speakers from good speakers.
Don’t Be a Snipper!
If you are looking for tangible evidence of individual tics and habits that bring speakers down to the level of, well . . . to the level of sounding amateurish, this is one of those clear cases.
The phenomenon that I speak of is the staccato voicing of the last word of a sentence.
Sometimes the voice drops, just like that of a child reading sentences from a story book. Each sentence is a great accomplishment, and the child celebrates by dropping the voice and snipping the last word.
As if each sentence is a story in itself.
As if each sentence stands alone, unconnected to the sentences to follow.
One good source of bad speaking technique is to listen to commercials that feature “everyday people” giving testimonials.
Folks become snippers when they read from a script or speak memorized passages.
Tune in to this.
Make it a habit to listen closely to speakers you admire, but also the speakers who, for whatever reason, you do not like. Ask yourself why you like one speaker and not another.
Why all the Snipping?
Why do people snip their sentences? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s an unconscious desire to voice the period at the end of a sentence?
Perhaps it’s to get a quicker breath to start the next sentence, so that there is a little silence as possible between sentences?
You can acquire an additional patina of professionalism by simply not doing this. Refuse to snip. Refuse to be a snipper.
Give full voice to every word in your sentence. Especially the last one. Don’t draw it out unnaturally, but certainly don’t snip it off.
Regardless, I believe that it’s incredibly important to the speaker who wishes to become a great presenter to be aware of the pathology.
But you may not agree.
This may seem unimportant to you. Do you scoff at this? Are you a snipper and believe that it’s something too small, too unimportant to consider? Are you unaware whether you do this or not, and do not care one way or the other?
If so, then you handicap yourself with a bad habit whose cumulative effect over the course of any single presentation yields an impression on the audience. That this is an amateur speaker.
If so, then continue down that path. Good luck and Godspeed!
But your audience will be the ultimate arbiter, and it will judge you.
As with so many of the tics and habits and quirks of bad public speaking, the audience may not recognize them individually. But they know that they’re in the presence of the mundane and of the average.
If you wish to improve your business presenting in ways great and small . . . If you want to correct repetitive tics that drag you down, like barnacles slowing a ship, then listen to yourself.
And correct the problem.
For more on identifying and correcting bad habits, consult The Complete Guide to Business School Presenting.