You begin a presentation by declaring, “I’m thrilled to be here today.” That’s a fatal mistake.
Why? For starters, you’re frowning and looking at your feet. Your hand is shaking as you clutch your notes. And you skulked to the microphone as if shuffling to the gallows.
It’s important to believe what you say. If you tell employees, “I’m confident you will rise above distractions and work at peak productivity,” even though you’ve just berated them for their lack of focus, they will question your sincerity.
All of us occasionally say things we don’t mean. We make polite or diplomatic comments to honor social norms. As a rule, however, you lose credibility by saying something that you clearly don’t believe. Listeners grow cynical and doubt everything else that comes out of your mouth.
If you’re tempted to make an untrue statement, stop. Then skip to your real point without striking a note of falsity.