White House Public Speaking Jargon In Spin Cycle

By Andrew Ivey

Jan 29

Repetition is no bad thing when you are a successful public speaker. Certainly a good bit of phrase, word or sentence repetition works to very good effect. It's why speakers aim for it in their best speeches. However, when you repeat yourself with public speaking jargon it's a problem.

Public speaking jargon

Public Speaking Jargon At The White House Has Audience In A Spin

We spotted this with the new President Biden appointed White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, who's been in action for just over a week. But she's already making a name for herself for all the wrong reasons.

That's because she's taking her duties of spinning news very seriously indeed. Yes, her favourite expression is proving to be, "circle back". And, unfortunately, everyone has noticed.

I'll circle back if there's more I can share with you...
I'll just have to circle back...
We'll circle back with you...

And, of course the world of social media has also noticed the new White House public speaking jargon on display.

Now it's not for me to draw any comparison with her combative predecessor in the Trump White House, Kayleigh McEnany. But it's definitely the case that Jen Psaki has a certain style of jargon when it comes to answering questions.

But most of us don't like listening to jargon or gobbledygook, not least because it lacks clarity and meaning. Yes, when your audience can't follow you, they switch off. We've encountered this with a speech from Caroline Spelman, Sadiq Khan and Gordon Brown. And when your audience switches off, then your role as an effective speaker is over.

Answer Questions Without Public Speaking Jargon

Getting the most from your question and answer session doesn't have to be difficult.

  • Prepare your expected questions beforehand.
  • Prepare some answers to those questions. But don't try to learn them, just make sure they're familiar.
  • Rehearse these "prepared" questions and answers.
  • Take questions once you've finished your speech or just before your conclusion.
  • Answer the questions briefly and coherently. Make sure that you take some care to give your answer to the questioner. It’s their question, they asked it so they should be answered by you. Aim for eye contact with them, making sure of course that you can be heard by everyone and perhaps use their name.

When you know that you really do want to avoid public speaking jargon, management speak or gobbledygook then you can focus on the most important part of your public speaking. Your audience.

When you want to discover more about how to prepare for questions after your speech, you can always discover our top public speaking tips. Because with more than 100 top tips there's something for every public speaking occasion. And, when you want to up your game that little bit further, you can always get in touch about training and coaching.

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About the Author

The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK.

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