Have you ever been distracted by a presenter (or someone you are talking to), who jingles coins in their pocket? This always reminds me of the song Jingle Jangle Jingle (written in 1942 by Joseph Lilley and Frank Loesser).
Presenters are often nervous and/or excited about their presentation; this energy can show itself in (distracting) nervous habits. However you don’t want to distract your audience by fiddling with things in your pocket (like coins!), continuously adjusting your clothes, or playing with objects in your hands.
In her book, New Sales Speak: The 9 Biggest Sales Presentations Mistakes and How to Avoid Them, Terry Sjodin (www.sjodincommunications.com) devotes an entire chapter to “Distracting Gestures and Body Language”. She describes some of the more humorous things she has seen presenters do while speaking, like sticking a pen in their ear, unbuttoning and buttoning their shirt and kicking out a leg out every time they made a point. Of course there is also the verbal manifestation of “jingle jangle jingle”, referred to as disfluencies. They include filler words that speakers use repeatedly, for example “um”, “uh”, “well”, “like” and “ya know”.
If you’d like to know if you have distracting mannerisms, I suggest that you video yourself presenting, or have a friend/colleague watch you present and give you feedback (but they need to be honest!). Before I present I always remove everyting from my pockets – I used to be a pocket change jingler, and sometimes catch myself jingling as I talk to people.
The jingle, jangle, jingles distract your audience, which takes their attention away from the message you are trying to deliver. It can also undermine your credibility as a speaker.
So, leave your spurs at home. What jingle, jangle, jingles have you seen?
Jingle, jangle, jingle is available on iTunes. CAUTION: it is one of those tunes that gets stuck in your head (ohrwurm/earworm). (I like the Tex Ritter version best!)
Refuse to be boring