Why are some presentations boring?
Ever attended a seminar or conference where the presenter on stage sounded like a robot and the majority of the audience are all eyes on their mobile devices?
I like to set the records straight that I am no expert at public speaking nor have I presented anything on stage but this article is not about criticising any potential and future up-and-coming presenters. I have high regards for such professionals to have the courage to stand in front of a public audience because it can be a nerve wracking experience for a novice presenter.
It is without a doubt easy for me to be a critic, to criticise any boring presenter on stage, with me in the audience, being judgmental. Rightly or wrongly, it is within my rights to be so as an invited guest to a seminar or conference. Usually, the title or subject matter of the speaker he/she is presenting is the physical attraction in accepting the invitation to attend. It is akin to the boy-girl relationship. Both were strangers to each other and it is the physical attraction that brought them together. The topic of the presentation would be initial attraction. What will glue me to remain in the audience and be captivated is the presenter. He/she is the key, the Star of the show.
While not every presentation can be riveting, boring presentations usually boil down to these factors:
- Too much text on the slides.
- Not enough visuals and videos,
- But more importantly the presenters do not articulate well. Many have monotonous delivery in their voice (tone/pitch).
- Majority of Presenters forget that THEY are the presentation, not the slides or videos which are there to support their presentations.
- Energy is hard to measure but easy to recognise. It is an essential part of holding an audience’s attention. Learning how to make a presentation more interesting is easier when you’re energetic.
A tip from Sandra Zimmer, whose presentation coaching focuses on authenticity and encourages speakers to include personal touches:
Tell stories from your personal life or professional career that help listeners understand what you are talking about. Use your stories to help make your points so they get a gut level experience.
Presentations are not everyone’s cup of tea but you need to build skills as a presenter to excel in business or your career. It is okay if you are not passionate about public speaking; the goal is to level up your skills.
What is delivery in a presentation?
‘Delivery’ refers to the way in which you actually deliver or perform or give your presentation. Delivery is a vital aspect of all presentations. Delivery is at least as important as content, especially in a multi-cultural context.
The Importance of Speech Delivery
Delivery can communicate your confidence and preparedness to your audience. Effective delivery shows your audience that you have researched your topic and understand what you are speaking about.
There are four basic types of speech delivery:
- Impromptu Delivery – Impromptu speeches are given with minimal preparation ahead of time and are best utilised in informal environments.
- Extemporaneous Delivery – Extemporaneous speeches are carefully rehearsed but seem conversational when the speaker is executing them.
- Manuscript Delivery – Manuscript speeches are written down, and the presenter does not stray from the written plan.
- Memorised Delivery – Memorised speeches are when a speaker memorises a written message.
Watch this presentation:
“Presentation and Showmanship Advice – Vinh Giang Ted Talk”
Does Vinh Giang not show style and storytelling skills?
Master storytellers help people get what they want. Whether it is a life or business context, know your purpose and the desired outcome you want to achieve when telling your story. The best stories in the world move and inspire people to feel better about themselves. Storytelling is a skill. Similar to learning a musical instrument, it needs to be taught and practised before you can start using it in your professional life. However, learning to be an effective storyteller comes with an array of benefits.
After all, the art of presenting, you make a presentation to your audience with the aim of sharing your ideas while expecting them to actively participate as well. A successful rhetorician would master the art of speaking, bring positive energy and speak on any topic without stumbling.
A good presenter is a storyteller
The audience does not want to be lectured. It is imperative that the presenter speak to his/her audience, not at them. In this regard, a good presenter is a great storyteller that takes the stories and connects them to learning points important to the audience based on the presentation content.
On a final note, in parting, there was one particular presenter who had made an impression on me when he presented. It was at a seminar/conference event at least 6 years ago (guessing), cannot recall the date nor the year either BUT this presenter stood in my memory to this day. I am not surprised if he does not remember me. That is not important. I remember him.
He is Professor Dr. (Ph.D) Kevyn Yong, Associate Dean, Executive Education, ESSEC Business School Singapore.
I cannot confirm if Professor Dr. Kevyn Yong is still the Associate Dean of ESSEC as I have not been in touch with him since that day he presented to about 30+ CIOs/IT Heads in the audience. He told a compelling story, captured our, more so, my attention. In short, he had, if not, all the attributes of a skilled presenter covered in this article.
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