THE PRESENTING HALL OF SHAME: 3 Things Engaging Presenters Avoid

Engaging presenters have an unfair advantage. They stand out! They are memorable and more influential than others. Attention spans are shrinking and people who can hold your attention with a compelling presentation simply have more influence! You look forward to their presentations, because you know they will share something worthwhile. They can make even boring material seem interesting.

Effective presenters understand the “process” of presenting. That is why they can make it look so easy! Those who fail to learn the presenting process often struggle and fall into one of three categories that we call “The Presenting Hall of Shame”.

1. The Talking Head – This presenter primarily focuses on words to share information. Even if she uses PowerPoint, her slides tend to be full of text, instead of visuals, illustrations and simple headlines. Sometimes she talks to herself as she presents – her internal voice questions if the audience is “getting” what she is attempting to communicate. She fails to engage people at an emotional level, and that is part of the reason the audience tends to hear, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

2. The Fireman – This “Hall of Shamer” hoses down his audience with a 1000 pounds of pressurized data! He is a data lover and connects with data more easily than he connects with people. Therefore, he mistakenly believes that data is the way to gain audience buy-in. However, studies actually show that people make decisions at an emotional level. Yes, emotions trump data when people make decisions – so this type of presenter needs to lighten up and quit hosing people down with a 1000 PSI of data. He should be more selective with his data and use better strategies to engage people at an emotional level.

3. The Sprinter – This presenter rushes through his information and PowerPoint – and the audience feels his pain. If they listen closely enough, they can hear his heart pounding. The Sprinter just wants it to be over, and so does the audience! He holds limiting beliefs about his capabilities, his topic and perhaps even the audience. The beliefs you hold when you present are manifested in your nonverbal cues and words – and are obvious to your audience. Cleaning up your beliefs is the first step in delivering a compelling presentation, so you can quit “running” through it.

Most people have fallen into one of these “Hall of Shame” categories at some point in their careers. But, those who learn the presenting “process” go on to engage audiences and enjoy the highest levels of influence and career satisfaction! It is an investment that pays off again and again!