I was at an event recently. The speakers were experts in their fields and delivered informative content on interesting topics. But one thing that stood out is that the speakers who could present well created a rapport with the audience in no time. And we, as audience, were more engrossed in the content rather than having to navigate through bad presentation techniques to stay focussed. So I think it is safe to say that you may be great at what you do and be the best in terms of knowledge. But if you cannot effectively convey that information, the audience will have a hard time connecting with you as a speaker.
While I was sitting through some of the boring parts of event, I came up with this list of things that people do that makes their presentation poor:
1. Read off a slide. One of the speakers actually read entire paragraphs
2. Load your slides with text. People can either listen to you or read the slides. You choose!
3. A boring beginning. “Good morning everyone” is perfectly acceptable but equally predictable and boring
4. Don’t analyse your audience. You don’t try to understand what kind of people will be listening to you
5. Don’t read your audience. Even while presenting, it is important to gauge audience reaction and interest
6. Don’t manage the pace and relevance of your material. If you read the audience well, you will know where you can pick up pace to retain their interest
7. Stick to your prepared material. But it is equally important to have the flexibility to deviate if the audience profile demands
8. No humour. No one ever complained about a funny interlude in a presentation
9. Not a perfect command over language. I am not saying that English is critical to success. But if you choose to deliver in that medium, grammatical errors only distract from the content.
10. Lack of presence. Not everyone is a pro at presenting. But through practice, one should develop the authority to command a room. This is also important to build credibility as a speaker.
11. Don’t change tack every few minutes. Standing with a ticker in hand and changing slides can only hold audience attention that much longer
12. Lose track of what you were saying. This could happen if you were interrupted with a question to which you gave a lengthy answer losing your train of thought
13. No audience interaction. You might be the expert but involving the listeners can actually keep them awake and excited in your topic
14. Exceed time allotted. This is one thing which makes the audience the most restless. Holding on to one’s patience for the duration of the talk is hard enough. Don’t test it any longer.
What are your favourite peeves in a presentation? Add them in the comments and let the readers know too.