Whether you’re holding a presentation at work, explaining what you do at a networking event, or selling yourself to a potential employer, you’re conveying a message. If that message isn’t conveyed clearly and effectively, your time is wasted and your message is lost. Are you focusing 100% of your preparation time on the CONTENT of your message? If so, you’re not alone, but you’re not doing yourself a service. Only 7% of your message is received through your content. The other 93% is through your tone and message. If you’re completely ignoring these things, you’re hurting your message. “Your tone and your body language are important,” said Doug Melder, a presentation coach at Own The Room, a communication skills training company. “So important [that] it can either enhance or betray your message.” So, does that mean you should spend 93% of your time on tone and body language and only 7% of your time on content? Absolutely not. Content is still king, and without good content, your message is sure to fail. Instead of going to that extreme, bring your content preparation time down from 100% to 80%, before your next presentation, introduction, or meeting, according to Melder. This should give you plenty of time to focus on your tone and body language. You always have enough content, he said. Spend that extra time focusing on your tone and your message. That will help ensure that your message is enhanced, not betrayed. Your message is important, no matter what you're trying to convey to someone. If you don't articulate it effectively, your message will get lost. Are you making this mistake with your message? What have you done to overcome it? Will you implement this strategy?

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Everyone has a reputation as a speaker. Yes, even you. Even if you don’t make a living presenting, you have a reputation as a speaker based on your ability to share a concise and clear message with your audience. But even if you’re not the best presenter, a simple technique can help you improve your speaking ability. Do you find yourself saying “um,” “basically,” or “like” when you talk to others? This is called “weak language,” and it can bring down your presentations and conversations. "Every sound, syllable, or noise that comes out of our mouth either helps our message or hurts our message," said Tim Fortescue, a presentation coach at Own The Room, a communication skills training company. "There's nothing in the middle." So, the one of the most effective things you can do to change your speaking habits for the better is to eliminate this weak language. Obviously, this is easier said than done. However, there’s a little trick you can use that will help you ditch these filler words: pause. Learn how to pause when you’re talking to others. If you can’t think of what to say next, instead of saying “um,” don’t say anything. Take the pause. Relax. Don’t be afraid of the silence. If you want to start incorporating this habit, the first thing to do is identify what your “word” is when you speak. Is it “like’? Or “so”? Or “um”? What is it? Understanding what your “word” is will make you more aware of when you use it. And being aware of when you use that word will allow you to stop, relax, and plan about your next thought. It will allow you to pause. If you can do this for four days, you’ll build better habits and become a better speaker. What's your reputation as a speaker? Want to increase your communication skills? Check out our course "How To Improve Your Communication Skills At Work" to become a better communicator and learn how to work with others more effectively.

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