Avoid ‘doing a Basil’

Avoid ‘doing a Basil’

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

One of the worst career-limiting presentation mistakes is to make distasteful jokes or talk 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 peace keeper, 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.

Dee Clayton

Posted by Dee Clayton on 9 Feb 2015

Like this blog?

Sign up to get notified about future blogs

Other Blogs

Can public speaking coaching help you win pitches?

Do you frequently pitch for business and want to increase your conversion rates? Or perhaps you’ve never pitched before and your first big presentation ...

Read More

The top three skills missing in presentations

Our public speaking coaches in London work with clients to help them improve their presentation & public speaking skills. People come to us because ...

Read More

Why audience engagement is so important – especially in conference presentations

Audience engagement is important – right? And perhaps even more so at conferences and all-day events. Often, when attending these events, I notice that ...

Read More

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.