When I was teaching Presentation Power at UBC I did a survey of the participants of what they most disliked about speakers, presenters and workshop leaders. I was surprised by the extensive list, then using that list from the first group I gave it to the next group of attendees and asked them to put it in order of what they liked the least. Much to my surprise they added to the list. I then did it again with new list with a group of corporate business attendees in the workshop. Here are the results “13 Deadly Sins” based upon the survey according to the audience. The notes in brackets are mine, based upon the interaction with the audience.
Poor First Impression.
Audience Reaction: Your energy and enthusiasm is low and it was a terrible stressful time getting there, the audience is not impressed: their judgment is you don’t care about them – your energy matters and attitude will be reflect by the audience when they listen and talk about you.
No Clear Objectives.
Audience Reaction: You seem lost with no clear direction as if you are not invested in what you are saying or believe. The audience wonder where are we going? – what are you talking about?
Starting Late – Ending Late.
Audience Reaction: The audience makes the observation you are late and now I will be late – you just messed up my day and I feel disrespected – so I won’t listen!
No Enthusiasm or Conviction.
Audience Reaction: if you don’t care, why should I? Your lack of enthusiasm has just lost the audience, perhaps permantly.
Dull, Dry & Boring.
Audience Reaction: why don’t you just lighten up – tell me a story to involve me. Give me a reason to get involved and listen to you.
Frozen In One Spot.
Audience Reaction: what is the matter, is your fear is showing or do you need to go to the bathroom? Nobody just stands there! You don’t seem human.
Weak Eye Contact.
Audience Reaction: your fear is showing or am I to ugly to look at? Are you so bored or ashamed about you or your product?
No Audience Involvement.
Audience Reaction: your lack of concern for me turns me off. Didn’t you do any research about us? I get it you don’t care!
Poor Facial Expression.
Audience Reaction: hey, robot, lighten up – smiles do work – that is if you are human…
Audience Reaction: hey, everyone has a funny story/anecdote to tell or is your life so boring that nothing happens to you – are you human?
Poor Stage Skills.
Audience Reaction: don’t you know what you are doing or are you just winging it? Read a book or take a class on public speaking and don’t waste my time with this!
Poor Visual Aids.
Audience Reaction: get some help – PowerPoint® classes – get a template – just get some help – I’m going to nap through this – yawn!
Audience Reaction: where have we been – what should I do next? What was the purpose of this I don’t know do you?
Most speakers do not get objective feedback so if you feel you are guilty of some or all of these get some presentation coaching.