Most of us get a bit of tight tummy syndrome when we know we have a presentation coming up. I've worked with hundreds of executives preparing to give a big presentation, and regardless of their content, competency or charisma -- they all shake in their stilettos (or wing-tip leather Oxfords) when faced with an audience.

We have all heard the reports declaring that the fear of public speaking is even greater than the fear of death. It's so much a part of the culture that comedian Jerry Seinfeld joked about it saying,

"I saw a study that said speaking in front of a crowd is considered the number one fear of the average person. I found that amazing. Number two was death. Death is number two? This means to the average person, if you have to be at a funeral, you would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy."

But whether your next public speaking gig is a corporate meeting, keynote speech or television interview, some new research on swearing shows a simple way that cursing can prepare you to hit it out of the park the next time you stand and deliver.

Swearing and emotional arousal.

A new research paper published by Keele University psychologist Dr. Richard Stephens found a direct connection between swearing and emotional arousal. A Psychologytoday.com post on the topic, quoted Dr. Stephens as saying:

"We appear to have established a two-way relation between swearing and emotion. Not only can swearing provoke an emotional response, but raised emotional arousal has been shown to facilitate swearing. These psychology studies demonstrate that there is more to swearing than routine offense-causing or a lack of linguistic hygiene. Language is a sophisticated toolkit and swearing is a useful component."

Emotion is the key to great public speaking.

Just how important is getting your emotional mojo up before a big speech? "Very," says Charlotte Dietz of Speakwellpartners.com. Dietz, who has trained CEOs, TEDx speakers and entrepreneurs, says that most businesspeople want to scurry past emotional context in their presentations. "Fearless presenters use emotionally charged content to grab an audience's attention, not to manipulate, but to connect and ensure that their ideas stick," says Dietz. "Today, science has validated what the ancient Greeks knew -- without affect there is no effect."

Where and when to swear.

Just so there is no misunderstanding, I'm not suggesting that you bring out the bad words at your next board meeting. I am suggesting however that the next time you are due to speak, take a few minutes beforehand, sneak into your office, hide backstage (or in a bathroom stall), and say with as much gusto as you can measure:

"Ok, people, I'm [expletive] ready to rock this presentation." Then go out there and give 'em hell -- just watch your language.

Published on: Jun 8, 2017