Garr Reynolds called attention to this video at Presentation Zen. He winds up his comments simply "Her message and delivery were wonderful," and the TED tagline for all its videos is "ideas worth spreading." They're both right.
Waffling happens when your brain stops working but your mouth keeps going.
The solution to waffling is simple: When you have nothing ready to say, stop, look at your notes, work out what you to say, look up again and start talking.
The simple introduction of a problem I think is enormously difficult to avoid. Read the whole post for Olivia Mitchell's solution.
I can remember when I moved to Brazil and I had spent two years learning Spanish. I was out visiting branches. I was working for Citibank at the time and had responsibility for consumer businesses there.
Brazil is a big country. I was living in Rio and it’s like living in Miami. I was out visiting a branch in the equivalent of Denver. Not everybody spoke great English and I hadn’t gotten very far in Portuguese. As I was sitting there trying to discern and understand what this branch manager was saying to me, and he was struggling with his English, the coin sort of dropped that this guy really knows what he’s talking about. He’s having a hard time getting it out.
As I thought about the places I’d been on that trip, I realized this was probably the best branch manager I’d seen, but it would have been very easy for me to think he wasn’t, because he couldn’t communicate as well as some of the others who were fluent in English.
I think that was an important lesson. It is too easy to let the person with great presentation or language skills buffalo you into thinking that they are better or more knowledgeable than someone else who might not necessarily have that particular set of skills.
From an interview with Robert Selander in today's New York Times. This is a vivid reminder of a speaker's need to rest a polished style on a foundation of knowledge and integrity. Later in the interview, Selander talks about presence and offers the opinion "Presence is knowing what to communicate, and how."