due to circumstances beyond our control, we may feel that we cannot give our audience
the best possible presentation that we can deliver. Thus, some of us are likely
to open our speech with something like this:
"Before I begin, I just want to point out that I've had a cold for the past few days so my head's a little cloudy.”
Or, “Before I begin, let me say that I didn't get much sleep the last few nights, so I'm really tired. So if it's not the best thing in the world, please bear with me."
Or some other variation explaining why we can't deliver to the best of our capacity.
Psychologists call these sorts of statements, self-handicapping, which is essentially an excuse-making strategy designed to establish a no-lose situation. After all, how can someone expect you to succeed with all of those obstacles in your way? And should you succeed, then you would have proven how amazingly skilled you are in overcoming so much adversity.
However, research has shown that self-handicapping can actually influence our public performances negatively.