Recently I was lucky (or unlucky depending on your point of view) to attend a conference where there were some pretty average presentations. Afterwards I started to compare notes from some of my fellow delegates as to what were the most common failings of presenters.
Afterwards I continued this discussion online and here are a summary of the things that drive audiences nuts!
- Lack of clear purpose for the presentation (other than filling a time slot)
- Presenters who stand in front of their own projector and pretend to be a screen
- Presenters who spend most of their time reading out the words on their slides
- Presenters who show complex and unintelligible slides and then apologise for showing them
- Presenters who don't make eye contact with their audience
- Presenters who try and compress two days worth of data into a 15 minute presentation
- Lack of congruence - i.e presenters who say one thing on stage and then behave in a contary manner when off stage
- Presenters who fail to think about the interests of the audience
- Presenters who fail to involve the audience
- Using material created by someone else without a proper understanding of the content
- Using copies of the PowerPoint slides as a hand-out without proper background notes
- Using jargon and TLAs
- Not monitoring the energy level in the room.
- Using the invitation to present to sell (a) his/her own product(s) (b) his/her own ego.
- Making repeated grandiose reference to "as I say in my latest book..."
- Too long!
- They present because they've been asked not because of their ability
- The presentation is delivered, they do not talk to anyone
- Try to be funny when they are not
- Give solutions for which there are no problems
- Start and finish as opposed to have a clear beginning, middle and end.
- Lack enthusiasm
- Turn up in the first place. It would be kinder to have an attack of stage fright.
- Using PowerPoint because it's what 'proper' presenters do.
- Using every animation and effect in PowerPoint because it's there.
- Relying on notes and the content of the talk is clearly as much a surprise to the presenter as it is to the audience.
- Apologising at the start of the presentation for the 'boring' content
- Failing to project to the back of the room, promising to raise their voice or adjust their microphone, and then carrying on exactly as before while asking "is this better?"
- Forgetting business can be fun - we're all human and laughter makes learning easier.
So there is no shortage of mistakes that can be made. The good news is that the solutions are relatively simple.
Have a great week