The Seven Deadly Sins of Presenting
It’s Halloween and for most of us there’s nothing scarier than sitting in the audience knowing you have to listen to a speaker for 45 mins who’s not engaging you in heart nor mind.
Steer away from the Seven Deadly Sins.
You know so much about your subject that you want to pack all that knowledge into your talk because it’s all such good stuff. Not! Aggressively edit your content so that everything in your speech has relevance to your audience. This applies to your slides as well. One idea per slide, people. One idea.
Don’t make the sell your raison d’être. Be present for your audience first, build a connection and you’ll have a more authentic chance of them buying, whether it’s into an idea or a product.
Taking more time than you’ve been allocated is NASTY. I know, your stuff is sooo interesting and you can tell the audience want more….. STOP. What about the other speakers whose time you are cutting short? The organiser who has to push back everything? Or the suppliers who have paid to be there and whose only selling time is at lunch which is now cut back? Stick to time.
Don’t be lazy. Give the audience the respect they deserve by preparing and rehearsing. You don’t want to be in the audience of a sloppy speaker. So don’t be one.
Don’t let your ego get in the way. It’s not about you, it’s about the audience. Our egos often have us apologising. Wow – how will I ever speak after that guy? Sorry you only get to listen to me drone on now. It’s probably a bit boring, but hey.
Well, now I am prepared to be bored. And a personal favourite – Sorry about the slides – I know it’s too small to read. So why the hell are they up there???? Create handouts if you can’t use a minimum 32 point.
Unless you are trying to whip your audience into a frenzy to take action against some evil in the world, you probably don’t want to get your audience angry. Be reasonable in your arguments especially when the topic is polarising. Present with a calm and genuine understanding if you’re delivering tough news.
Don’t let other speakers put you off. All those people who are so much “better” than you. There is nothing more compelling that content paired with authenticity. So don’t try to be anyone else but follow the advice of Dr Seuss – Today You are You, That is Truer than True. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
Lynne Schinella is a conference speaker, speaker coach, and author of Bite Me! and other do’s and don’ts of dealing with our differences.
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