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Difficult message to deliver? How to be more positive in your speech or presentation

If you want to be more positive in your next presentation, I encourage you to:

1. Practise delivering your presentation out loud
2. Record it (on video or audio) so you can review your presentation OR get a colleague to give you feedback
3. Seek out negative language and replace it with more positive language

TB Social Media KLT

I often help executives prepare for important presentations and we go through this exact process.

When I hear negative expressions I will ask the executive questions to find the positive. We will often replace a negative word by finding its opposite.

For example:

In practice session for an upcoming important presentation an executive said:

Unfortunately we failed to reach our target

Positive language – avoid the word Failure – it is not an option! Replace with positive language

I encourage presenters to see if they can avoid the words unfortunately and fail.

Fortunately, you can usually omit unfortunately altogether.

You can replace Fail with its opposite. What’s the opposite of fail? Achieve or succeed.

I asked the presenter: what did you do?

Don’t focus on what you failed to do. You did set a target. What sort of target DID you set? Was it an ambitious target?

It turned out that they deliberately set ambitious targets.

While they did not achieve those targets – they succeeded a long way towards achieving the target.

My recommendation:

1. Omit or replace negative words

To Replace find the opposite and use the opposite word – e.g. the opposite of fail can be achieve or succeed

2. State what you did achieve

3. Show what you did achieve

TB LL mosaic

So we tweaked the presentation.

“Unfortunately we failed to reach our target”


1. We deliberately set an ambitious target – (show the target graphically)

2. As you can see, we have come a long way in achieving that target – (show how far you have some)

3. We still have this far to go (show it). As you can see we have made significant progress towards hitting that target. (Show how far you have progressed compared to how far you still have to go)

Of course, do not lie or distort the facts.

1.Find the positive facts
2.Emphasise the positive
3. Show to prove the positive.

In the preparation and practice we also Anticipated and Pre-empted possible questions. You can do this well by asking the question yourself and answering it.

Now you may ask: Why set such an ambitious target?

I think this (the graph or numbers) answers that. By having the ambitious target we made significant progress in hitting that target. We thought there was a good chance in hitting that target – and we were confident even if we didn’t hit that target this year we would make significant progress towards that target. As you can see we’ve done that.

You will note that we did not have to use the word unfortunately and we avoided that F word – Fail.

If you would like help in crafting and delivering positive messages – you can contact me on 0409 821 186. Please leave a message as I often have my phone on silent when I am helping clients.


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TB Media mosaic

I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious business communication tips.



Linked In – under Tony Biancotti

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These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings etc. I like to help people COPE.



2 comments on “Difficult message to deliver? How to be more positive in your speech or presentation

  1. efangelist
    September 8, 2015

    Reblogged this on efangelist.

  2. efangelist
    October 28, 2016

    Reblogged this on efangelist.

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