Please…No More Boring Presentations!

Written by Ann M. Pannell, MA CCC-SLP, Owner of Clarity Speech Coaching,

Ask yourself: Am I boring someone?

How many times have you sat in a boring presentation, wishing it was over almost before it began? Audiences show the tell-tale signs of boredom with droopy eyes, secretive texting, sneak-peeks at watches, and whispered chatting with those beside them.

Common estimates for sustained attention to a freely chosen task are around 20 minutes in adults.

From my vantage point, the number one sign of a boring speaker is a dull and monotonous voice.  Other factors are: busy slides, reading from notes, and using too many technical words.  Boring speakers not only kill attention, they can impact business performance. An otherwise well planned and timely message can be muted by speakers who lose the attention of their audience due to an ineffective delivery. A boring presentation is a clear example of a breakdown in communication, which if not identified as such can block the flow of vital information needed to make critical business decisions, allow for collaborative team work, as well as gaining and maintaining clients.

The spoken word uses only one of our five senses (hearing), that is why visual aids (seeing) are used for a meaningful communication interaction when presenting.  By varying the speed in which you talk, emphasizing words, changing your pitch and tone at the correct moment, all allow for verbal communication that is dynamic and interesting (which will work to hold your audience’s attention).  In regards to your visual aids, most of us use slides to convey important information. This is a tip from Guy Kawasaki of Apple who suggests that slideshows should contain no more than 10 slides, last no more than 20 minutes, and use a font size of no less than 30 point.  His last suggestion regarding font size is important as it stops you from putting too much information on any one slide.  A good set of slides should be no use without the presenter, and these slides should definitely contain less, rather than more information and expressed simply.

Learning presentation and public speaking skills is essential for your success and you can start today with the following strategy:

  1. Connect to your audience with your honest approach and enthusiasm

  2. Focus on what your audience needs from you

  3. Provide a compelling message and know your key points

  4. State your core message in no more than 30 seconds and hammer it home.

As a breakdown in communication, a boring presentation should be considered as a threat to business performance, identified as such, and addressed accordingly. One of the best-trained professions to identify and remediate communication problems is a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP ).  The SLP is able to assist corporations quickly and reliably to identify the kinds of communication breakdowns that may be a threat to business performance and will help to improve employee communication skills. The results can be vibrant and dynamic presentations skills, clearer pronunciation, a more natural speech rhythm, voice inflection, and cadence, as well as development of soft skills for team members.

If you have more questions, or if this article has peaked your interest, I would like to hear from you.

#presentationskills #publicspeaking #accentreduction #corspan

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Please contact me with questions about public speaking!  You do not have to be boring!

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