Boring Triggers Snoring

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Summary:

I once attended a presentation by an executive who began by saying, “I want to get through the initial slides so we can get to the interesting stuff.”

How would you react to this remark if you were in his audience?

I once attended a presentation by an executive who began by saying, “I want to get through the initial slides so we can get to the interesting stuff.”

How would you react to this remark if you were in his audience?

Maybe you would decide to tune out till he got to the interesting stuff. Perhaps you’d conclude that the speaker didn’t think enough of you to want to make the initial slides interesting. If you’re like me, you’d wonder whether the later slides would be any better than the initial slides. As it turned out, they weren’t. Slide after slide was crammed with tedious, eye-straining detail. Even with my spectacle-assisted 20/20 vision, I couldn’t see his slides clearly.

This was right after lunch, mind you, and it was one of those carbo-laden lunches from the cookbook, How to Eke By on 8000 Calories a Day .

To make matters worse, we were in a room darkened just enough to feel like naptime. And the speaker droned on and on about each slide. Instead of informing, persuading, educating or entertaining his listeners, he made them regret their decision to attend.

When you deliver presentations, think about the impact of your words. It’s so easy to toss off a comment or make a flip remark and in doing so, convey a message that’s other than what you intended. Such as that listeners will have to endure several boring slides.

As important as your words are in influencing listeners’ reactions, your energy in delivering the presentation is also critical. If you want your audience to feel enthusiastic about what you’re presenting, be enthusiastic in presenting it. This applies especially to your opening remarks, because that’s when listeners draw conclusions about the quality of your talk. Get off to a yawn-inducing, and you may have difficulty reversing the negative impression you create, even if an orator-quality delivery follows.

If you believe part of your talk is dull, tedious, tiresome, obtuse, monotonous, or fatiguing (my thesaurus offers these words as alternatives for “boring”), don’t announce that fact to your audience! Who knows, maybe what you consider mind-numbing, they’ll find fascinating. Even better, though, do your audience a favor and eliminate material you feel compelled to apologize about. And trash all visuals that lead you to say, “I know you can’t see this, but …” If your audience can’t see it, omit it!

Delivering your presentation with energy, enthusiasm, ebullience, exuberance and exhilaration (my thesaurus is big on presentation Es) will make all the difference between whether your audience enjoys it or spends the time catching up on their Zs.

About the author

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten

Naomi Karten is a highly experienced speaker and seminar leader who draws from her psychology and IT backgrounds to help organizations improve customer satisfaction, manage change, and strengthen teamwork. She has delivered seminars and keynotes to more than 100,000 people internationally. Naomi's newest books are Presentation Skills for Technical Professionals and Changing How You Manage and Communicate Change. Her other books and ebooks include Managing Expectations, Communication Gaps and How to Close Them, and How to Survive, Excel and Advance as an Introvert. Readers have described her newsletter, Perceptions & Realities, as lively, informative, and a breath of fresh air. She is a regular columnist for StickyMinds.com. When not working, Naomi's passion is skiing deep powder. Contact her at naomi@nkarten.com or via her Web site, www.nkarten.com.

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