Avoid ‘doing a Basil’

Avoid ‘doing a Basil’

Read time: 2 minutes

Executive Summary

Avoid ‘doing a Basil’ in your presentations:

  • Steer clear of sensitive topics like politics, religion, and personal attributes.
  • Uncover potential sensitivities within your company’s history to avoid embarrassing faux pas.
  • Remember, tasteful humor and respectful language enhance your credibility and professionalism.

Read On

Leave the foot-in-mouth moments to Mr Fawlty…

One of the worst career-limiting presentation mistakes is making distasteful jokes or talking about inappropriate topics. And it’s also very common – understandable when you consider the heady mix of nerves and adrenaline pumping around your body when you’re presenting. A misjudged joke can be very costly for your career.

If you’ve ever seen the TV programme Fawlty Towers, you might recognise this line from Basil (played by John Cleese):

“Listen, don’t mention the war! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it all right. [returns to the Germans] So! It’s all forgotten now, and let’s hear no more about it. So, that’s two egg mayonnaise, a prawn Goebbels, a Hermann Goering, and four Colditz salads.”

Unless Basil Fawlty is your role model, avoid ‘doing a Basil’. As you probably know it would be advisable to leave out politics, religion, death and other potentially sensitive subjects from your presentation (assuming you’re not an international peacekeeper, priest or Prime Minister, of course). It’s also a good idea to steer clear of topics like age, appearance, sex and wealth, unless essential to your message.

Uncover sensitivities

In addition to these no-go topics, there may be more specific sensitivities to consider. For example, you might be making a faux pas if you mention something in the company history such as a product recall or redundancies. It is your job as presenter to uncover any sensitivities, and either speak about them appropriately or not at all.

Simply Amazing Training offers professional presentation skills training courses for individuals and companies. Have a look at the Guide to our most popular training courses and presentation skills workshops, or call me today for an informal chat to discuss your requirements.

Author: Dee Clayton

Dee Clayton - Simply Amazing TrainingDee Clayton, an acclaimed coach and winner of the prestigious Overall National UK NBW Award in 2022, has over 30 years of experience in communication. With over half of her career as an author, mentor, and trainer. Dee offers a distinctive blend of skills and insights. Her mission is clear: to empower high-performing individuals to excel further, while guiding their teams to unprecedented success. Connect with Dee via LinkedIn.

Posted by Dee Clayton on 9 Feb 2015

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