50 ways to annoy, bore or simply lose your presentation audience — Part 1

Maurice DeCastro
4 min readJul 3, 2022

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Most of us have been part of a presentation audience. Every presenter’s job is capture and keep their audience’s attention, interest, and curiosity. The mediocre presenter believes that their role is to simply inform and engage their audience. That is a healthy starting point but on its own, it’s not enough. Your presentation audience want and deserve more, much more.

Among a very long list of things your presentation audience want from you are your:

– Energy

– Passion

– Insight

– Knowledge

– Perspective

– Authenticity

Sometimes, the best way to connect emotionally as well as intellectually with a presentation audience is to understand what they don’t want.

Here are just 10 of the 50 ways to annoy, bore or simply lose your presentation audience.

I’m mindful of not sharing all 50 of them in one article as I wouldn’t want to lose, annoy or bore you!

  1. Using too many bullet points

The moment a presentation audience sees a list of bullet points their hearts sink.

Bullet points are a signpost that they need to brace themselves for a long, boring presentation.

Solution — Use images instead!

2. Inflicting ‘Death by PowerPoint’

Death by PowerPoint is something every presentation audience has experienced. It’s broader than the bullet point phenomenon. Imagine a slide fraught with text, numbers, charts, or data. A slide crammed with data is annoying and unnecessary.

Solution — One idea per slide; no more. Don’t clutter slides; less is more.

3. Forgetting the purpose and power of visuals

The mediocre presenter believes that their slides are their presentation. PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Slides or any other visual aid software is not your presentation. High-quality presentation software can help your presentation audience receive your content more effectively. This software exists to help rather than replace you as a presenter.

Solution — Remember that your audience have come to hear you, not to see your slides. If visuals don’t add significant value to your audience, don’t use them.

4. Poor preparation

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” — Benjamin Franklin

Solution — Prepare, prepare, prepare.

5. ‘Winging it’

Some presenters believe that ‘winging it’ is their way of improvising. This may work for you but it’s not fair to your audience. It’s highly likely that your audience will see that you are unprepared, and they won’t thank you for it.

Solution — Don’t rely on your charm or talent. Do the work.

6. Poor content

In a previous article, ‘Presentation Content — make sure yours is compelling’ I wrote:

‘The prerequisite to a brilliant presentation, before focusing on delivery, is to ensure that your message is supported by rich, relevant and rewarding content.’

The primary purpose of any presentation is to share information with your audience. Disorganised, boring or irrelevant content is the fastest way to annoy, bore or lose your audience.

Solution — Make your presentation content rich and compelling

7. Having no clear intention

How do you want your audience to feel?

If you don’t have a very clear answer to that question, it’s highly unlikely that you will feel it yourself.

If you don’t feel it the moment you begin to craft and deliver your presentation your audience won’t either.

There are two types of presenter. The mindful minority understand the power of intention.

Solution — Set a clear and meaningful intention for how you want your audience to feel emotionally.

8. Having no clear objective

What do you want your audience to do when you have finished presenting?

If you don’t have a very clear answer to that question, it’s highly likely they won’t do anything at all with the information you share with them.

Solution — Set a clear and meaningful objective for exactly what you want your audience to do at the end of your presentation. Make sure you tell them.

9. Having no clear message

What is your message?

What is the one thing you want your audience to take from your presentation when they return to their car or desk?

If your audience could ‘Tweet’ the content of your presentation with one, clear message what would they ‘Tweet’.

If you don’t know the answer to that question your presentation will probably be forgotten in a heart beat.

Solution — Set a clear, rich and compelling message. Make sure that everything you share supports it and don’t forget to repeat it.

10. Not internalizing your message

‘The mediocre presenter believes that they can run through their presentation a couple of times beforehand and if it makes sense to them then it will be fine for their audience.

The Mindful Presenter does everything they can to make their content a part of themselves and so they spend many hours rehearsing.

Not memorising, just rehearsing.

They know their content inside and out and leave no stone unturned in ensuring that everything they have crafted to say and the way they say it will be of significance to their audience.

Mindful presenting is about internalising our message.’

Solution — Own your message — Internalise your message. Practice the verbal and non-verbal expression of your presentation.

Watch out for part 2 of ’50 ways to annoy, bore or simply lose your presentation audience’, coming soon.

If you need help ensuring you never lose, bore or annoy your presentation audience:

– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.

– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.

– Get yourself some excellent presentation training

Photo by Sander Sammy on Unsplash

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Maurice DeCastro

Author, speaker, trainer, presenter - former corporate executive passionate about personal leadership, people and results.