I hear this probably as much as I don’t hear it, and it is a T2P2 (Top Ten Pet Peeve) of mine.Intro slide is up. Audience is seated and quiet. Speaker begins to talk. Usually introduces himself or the topic. Often advances slide deck. And utters…”Before we get started…” Which makes me want to shout “YOU ALREADY STARTED, YOU MORON!” At question is just when does communicatin start? Actually, it starts before the presenter ever opens their mouth, so to try to squeeze something in before things get started is a completely false assumption. You started the moment your audience began to think about attending your little lovefest.What most people are (hopefully) trying to say is, “I’d like to establish ground rules before we get into the reason you are here,” and I think that’s basically a good idea when they are needed. Still others are saying, “I’d like to tell you why you might be underwhelmed by what I’m about to say, and it’s not my fault (never is).” This is never acceptable, IMHO — presenters should not offer excuses. And the last reason is to say, “Now that I’ve got a captive audience, I can say whatever I want, and I have some things I want to say that have nothing to do with you, but because I have the floor, I’ll say them anyway.” Again, unacceptable.Regardless of the message content, the underlying message is that the audience can completely tune out whatever is about to be said. And, unfortunately, this usually means they’ll continue to tune out the presenter after they actually do “get started”.
You start before you open your mouth. Start strong and give value from the real beginning.