Unprepared – there are two of them up there taking it in turns to speak. Each one is rapidly reading their notes for the next slide whilst the other is speaking.
Unengaged – one cannot look the audience in the eye and the other has so far spent most of the time looking back at the screen, rather than forwards.
Uninteresting – sure the content is tax and finance focused but I wish they would say something with some passion in your voice. These chaps seem to have perfectly mastered the use of the monotone voice.
PowerPoint – aaaaaaargh. The last slide had about 200 words on it – yes I tried counting them all but he only talked about the content of the slide for five seconds so I had no chance to take in all the info (even if I felt so inclined to do so).
And now they have totally lost me one just asked the other “Is it me now”, confirming my assumption that they are unrehearsed. The irony is that he followed it up by emphatically telling everyone that if you want to talk to a bank about your business, you should “Rehearse you presentation before sitting in front of the bank!”
So rather than just moan, what do I think they should be doing differently?
Firstly – any time you give a presentation, respect your audience. I have taken time out of my day to be here, a great speaker acknowledges that fact and recognises that just because they are a speaker it doesn’t mean they are better than the audience.
Plan – if you have to use PowerPoint. Write the presentation, learn it then get rid of all the horrible content and go for images or just a handful of words.
Practice. Run it through on your own, in the toilet, whilst walking the dog or driving the car. Whatever works for you.
Change your tone. Be passionate about your topic of expertise. Use your full vocal range. Be excited and serious as necessary.
Think about posture and position. Aside from today’s host, who stood front and centre, (and the chap who spent most of the time with his back to the audience) everyone has stood behind the PC at a side table. Most have their hands in their pockets and the current speaker has a bunch of coins in his pocket that he keeps playing with. The use of a remote control would improve the situation dramatically as would the firm belief that what it says on the laptop screen is what appears behind you.
Engage. Talk to the room as equals, ask their opinion, refer to some people by name. Look the audience in the eye.
The sad thing is speaker number three seemed quite interesting. Unfortunately speaker two turned me off the session and onto my notepad. Communications is not easy to get right all the time but there are a few basic rules that are fairly easy to follow (in my opinion respect for your audience should be number one). Presentations and seminars offer a great way to get face to face with a key audience… But only when done well!
And please help me, there is still an hour to go!!!
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