As I sat in the audience I, along with the other conference attendees, was looking forward to the presentation. I had never heard the speaker before and did not know them personally. They did however, have an impressive resume. As presentation went on I got more and more frustrated and by the end I just wanted to scream “Enough Already. Show us some respect.”
What was it that was getting me so worked up?
The Blah, Blah, Blah, Bio
Droning on with a lengthy bio about who you are and all the things you have accomplished in your career and your life tends to turn the audience off right away. If you really feel like the audience needs to know something about you before you start speaking have someone introduce you by reading a short, well written introduction. Chances are however, they already know who you are or they would not be sitting in the audience. Consider starting your presentation with the material and sprinkling your bio information throughout the presentation. People can go to your website after your presentation to learn more about you if they wish. I once heard someone say, “People don’t care what you know. People don’t care what you have done. What people care about is what you can teach them.” Remember the presentation is about the audience, not about you.
Too Much Material
Every trainer and speaker has had to pare down a longer presentation to make it fit a shorter time slot and misjudged the amount of material. That is what breaks are for. On the breaks either hide or delete slides. Do not disrespect the audience by blasting through slide after slide saying, “We don’t have time for this.” “I don’t have time to show you this. ““Don’t have time for this” It pisses people in the audience off.
Too Many Videos
Use videos sparingly and have a point to the video. If you do not have enough material to fill the allotted time then do not accept the speaking engagement. Videos are not a substitute for quality content. If you are going to use videos, then use them correctly (that is a whole other post).
Poorly Told, Irrelevant Stories
If you are going to tell a story it needs to be relevant to the content and have a specific learning point. Stories can be a powerful addition to a presentation and help people to learn if they are relevant and if they are told well. Pick your stories carefully and practice telling them.
Poor Use of Time
This presenter started their presentation 10 minutes late, started 15 minutes late after the mid morning break and then went past the scheduled end time. Be respectful of the audience and follow these simple rules:
- Start on time.
- Take regular breaks.
- Restart on time after breaks.
- End on time.
Reading Word for Word From Slides with Too Much Content
Slides should contain just a few words, a single quote or a picture. If you are not sure what a good PowerPoint slide should look like the buy a copy of Garr Reynolds book Presentation Zen and read it several times.
Being a professional trainer or speaker comes with responsibility. You owe it to your audience to be prepared, be professional, be punctual, deliver a quality presentation and provide a quality learning experience. You have a responsibility to learn from every presentation you do so you can make it better for the next audience. Determine what worked and what did not. Determine the best sequencing of the material to allow the best learning experience for the audience. Continue to refine the way you tell stories. Seek to make every presentation better than the previous one. Your audiences will appreciate it.
Thought Leader, Speaker, Trainer, Author
President of Winning Mind Training – Leading the fight against mediocrity through Life’s Most Powerful Question – What’s Important Now?
To book Brian to speak at your event contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.