Are your thoughts quaquaversal?

You may be thinking, ‘Are my thoughts what?!’

Hold that thought … I’ll come back to it.

Have you ever been to a presentation where the speaker used obscure words? As a result, you focused mainly on those words trying to work out their meaning.  By any chance, did any part of the presentation pass you by as you were focusing on those difficult to understand words?  Quite possibly so!

Central Focus

When we’re putting together a presentation our central focus should always be our audience.

Ask yourself these three questions:

  • Will I confuse my audience by using jargon or complex words?
  • Will my audience expect me to use jargon?
  • Will using complex words add to or detract from my presentation?

When you’ve answered these questions you’re then able to structure your content to meet the needs of your audience. If jargon isn’t required, a general rule is to keep the words descriptive yet simple.

Even though over 90% of our face-to-face communication is through our body language and use of voice, the words that we use are also very important. It’s all about making a connection with the audience.

Your Audience

As we’re all different, your audience will respond to different words and phrases. To cater for theses differences use words and phrases that appeal to the different senses. People use all of the senses and generally have a preferred one in which they represent their world. So use a combination of words that appeal to each of the preferred senses.

To explain,

  • visual person would respond to picture words. Eg: ‘If I could show you an attractive way in which … ‘
  • An auditory person would respond to sound words. Eg: ‘If this sounds good to you we’ll go ahead and discuss how to …’
  • kinaesthetic person would respond to feelings or action words. Eg: ‘If I could help you get a hold of a concrete way in which you could …’

Once you’ve considered these factors and you’ve put together your presentation, re-read the content and check:

  • Have I used words that could be replaced with simpler ones without detracting from the presentation’s message?
  • Could there be any double meaning?
  • Have the words that I’ve used added to my message?

When you’re happy with the content of your presentation, practise it until you’re comfortable with the flow.

To avoid your audience’s attention becoming quaquaversal, it’s important to engage them with the delivery of your carefully crafted words.

What does quaquaversal mean?

And what does quaquaversal mean?  It means ‘scattered’.

So if while reading this article you’ve spent most of the time wondering what quaquaversal meant I’d encourage you to now go back and re-read it.

What are some of the obscure words that you’ve heard in presentations?

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Learn About This Author
Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone is the author of Success Talks: Conversations with Everyday Leaders. Maria works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. She provides programs in presentation skills, business writing and effective communication as a leader and team member.

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