50 ways to annoy, bore or simply lose your presentation audience — Part 4

Whether you’re a seasoned or inspiring speaker, you will want to connect with your presentation audience.

This series of articles focuses on the top 50 ways we believe that you can leave your audience feeling lost, confused or fatigued. Your presentation audience want you to succeed but not at the expense of their wellbeing. Their greatest wish is that you respect and value their time. One way of connecting with them emotionally and delivering a memorable presentation is to know what they don’t want.

Here are another 5 of the 50 ways to annoy, bore or simply lose your presentation audience.

  1. Playing it safe, just going through the motions

In his article in Inc.com, ‘Are You a Boring Presenter? 1 Small Change Can Fix That’, author Chad Perry writes, ‘We spend too much time trying to be novel and not enough time trying to be familiar, which ends up confusing the audience.’ He is of course, referring to presenting.

I’m reminded of a quote many of us are familiar with, ‘Familiarity breeds contempt.’ Aesop

A little familiarity is helpful in terms of making a presentation audience feel safe and comfortable. Too much is a recipe for disaster.

At Mindful Presenter we coach professionals to dare to be a little different.

A common presentation you will see in many organisations today involves the presenter:

– Inflicting ‘Death by PowerPoint or ‘Death by bullet point’.

– Reading slides

– Running over time

– Standing deathly still

– Speaking in a monotone voice

– Sharing irrelevant content

– Dumping data on their presentation audience.

Why do they do this?

Many have been taught that familiarity is the route to success. They do what everyone else does in the belief that it must work.

It doesn’t. It simply results in the presenter playing it safe and just going through the motions.

Don’t play it safe, dare to be different.

If you’d like to be a more creative presenter, this will help: ‘Are you a creative presenter? — 6 steps to becoming a one’

2. Not knowing enough about your audience

In a previous article, ‘9 Ways to RESPECT your Audience’ I wrote:

‘Respect means doing whatever it takes in advance to learn as much as you possibly can about your audience before you even begin to think about your presentation.

Don’t make assumptions that what you have to say will be of interest or value to them. Ask them.

Phone them or send them an email telling them what you have in mind and ask them how helpful that would be. But more importantly, ask what they want, need and expect from you.’

If we stand any chance of connecting with our presentation audience emotionally as well as intellectually we have to get to know them first.

I spoke about it here:

3. Starting and running late

A great number of presentations run over their allotted time simply because they started late. The main reason for this is that the presenter respectfully wait’s for late-comers. What about the people who have gone out of their way to turn up on time and perhaps even a little early?

Waiting to start means you are disrespecting that group by starting late and then probably having to finish late too. Don’t do it, start on time.

If a few people are missing and you are worried about them missing out on vital information, save those points for later.

Your presentation audience won’t be at all pleased if you run over time. Don’t worry about finishing a little early though, they may even thank you.

4. Low energy/ passion

Energy and enthusiasm are infectious. When combined they become a powerful force that most of recognise as passion.

In his article ‘ Your Enthusiasm is Contagious, So Share Your Passion Loud and Proud’, author Ben Fizell writes: ‘If a friend or someone around us is enthusiastic there’s a certain energy or presence that shines from them that can be infectious. It doesn’t even matter what they’re enthusiastic about; if we’re in their presence, it’s easy to be lifted up by their energy.’

Passion connects us to our presentation audience; they want and need it from us as speakers.

I believe that Forbes writer, Mika Hunter’ makes an extremely important point in his article,

‘Why Passion Beats Technique In Public Speaking’.

‘The power of passion in public speaking beats the physical mechanics or technique of the speaker. The origin of a great speech is a strong desire to motivate or change something or someone. A person who has feelings of great intensity about a topic has a greater propensity to deliver a powerful message that connects with the listener.’

5. No call to action

At Mindful Presenter we believe that no presentation audience should ever leave a presentation without absolute clarity of what happens next. The audience have given up 30 minutes of their valuable time to listen to a presenter speak; what was it all for. In other words, what does the speaker want them to do with all of that information.

Have you ever left a business presentation not having any clue why you really attended, in terms of what’s expected from you.

There must be a call to action.

In her article, ‘The Secret to Writing a Call to Action in A Persuasive Speech’ author Nancy Duarte summarises this beautifully.

‘The call to action which comes right before the end of a persuasive speech is where you clearly tell the audience a role they can play after they leave your talk. The CTA gives audience members concrete tasks to tackle, and these tasks are ones that must be completed in order to bring your ideas to fruition.’

Watch out for part 5 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

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

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Maurice DeCastro

Maurice DeCastro

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