7 Signs You're Delivering Bad Presentations

By Alexa S. Chilcutt, Ph.D.

We’ve all endured bad presentations and we’ve all delivered them! Reading yourself and your audience is key. Here are seven signs indicating you’re committing the crime of wasting others’ time and tips for becoming a more engaging speaker!

  1. Not feeling it. Even nervous energy can be positive! But if you’ve given the presentation so many times that you’re not excited about the information or truly selling the product, save us all and go home.

  2. Information is review, not new. Share only the relevant, new, and interesting. It takes as little as eight seconds to lose someone’s attention. The minute you start rehashing common knowledge you’ve lost them.

  3. You haven’t told me why I should care! Set out to answer the audience’s question “What’s in it for me?”.  Research the audience and capitalize on what they need to know, why, and what you want them to do with it.

  4. Your visual aid IS the presentation. Whatever your visual aid vice, text on a screen is not the presentation, you are. Be comfortable enough with the content to make it conversational and keep the visual aid – visual.

  5. Lack of interaction. People learn and retain information best when there are points of engagement. Create handouts that require audience interaction, rhetorical questions necessitating audible responses, or even points where they interact with each other to discuss an aspect of the material.

  6. Body language bombshells. They are avoiding looking at you, physically leaning back, slouching, or hands on head. Think that scene of the class in Ferris Buller’s day off. “Bueller, Bueller…”  If you see this, change it up by asking a question or jumping ahead to what matters!

  7. Packing up and bolting. Time is a parameter, not a requirement!!! People are happier with a great presentation that wraps up 15 minutes early than with one that runs to the last allotted minute. Worse, HEAVENS ABOVE, one that goes over. Leave time for thoughtful responses or questions and leave them wanting more rather not less. 

The ability to speak with clarity, connection, and confidence directly impacts personal and professional opportunities. Take the time to master this often feared skill by clearly communicating key messages to create powerful impressions of yourself and your organization. Learn more about these and other professionally speaking opportunities at the Professionally Speaking website.

Register for a workshop today at professionallyspeaking.ua.edu.

About the Author

Dr. Alexa S. Chilcutt is an expert in the areas of public speaking, professionalism and impression management as well as leadership and team dynamics. She is the director of the Public Speaking Program at UA and provides staff development programs for the university's College of Continuing Studies as well as seminars for individuals and managerial groups in the private sector. Chilcutt has a doctorate in mass communication and a M.A. in public relations and advertising.

Share this Post:
Share to FacebookShare to Facebook
Share to TwitterShare to Twitter
 Share to LinkedIn Share to LinkedIn

Leave a Comment

blog comments powered by Disqus