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Sunday, 24 October 2010

Business Presentations - How Boring Are You?

By Milly R Sonneman

Jobs Vacancy, Employment Jobs, Employment

Are you boring your audience to tears?

If you're in a leadership position, most people will not come forward and tell you to your face: "You're boring!" Let's face it. There's too much survival instinct to risk losing your job. Instead, people tend to have less obvious signs -- but they are immediately recognizable if you are looking.

These signs include:

1. Looking at Watches and Clocks

"How long is this going to last?" is the subtitle you should read if you see participants glancing at their watches...or repeatedly looking at the clock.

While there is a remote possibility that they have another commitment, the more common reason is: you're boring everyone to tears.

2. Edging Towards The Door

"Maybe I can sneak out..." is the verbal message of this body language. Standing near the door, edging towards the exit, and sneaking out early signs are definite warning signs.

3. Packing Up Supplies - Early

If you notice participants are packing up supplies, gathering handouts and loading up their briefcases, you're in trouble. You are not commanding attention. Instead, you're having the opposite affect. They can't wait to leave.

4. Checking Email and Voicemail

Again, you just aren't all that riveting. Sad to say, but you may need to make an agreement or ground rule with the group. Agree to maintain focus on what's going on in the room.

Texting and checking for messages is highly distracting to other participants. And it's a clear signal that some people are more interested in what's not in the room.

5. Leafing Through Handouts

This habit is the bane of presenters. If participants leaf through the handouts, what are they saying? "I can see it all here -- why should I bother listening to you?"

One way to prevent this is to change the handouts. Provide maps that participants fill in with bits of information from your presentation. This holds attention and keeps participants engaged with your delivery.

In addition, experiment with providing handouts at the end of your talk. This prevents the "snatch and grab" habit that is so common to conventions and industry meetings. Participants often grab handouts rather than taking the time to sit and participate in presentations.

Recently, I shared this technique with one of my executive coaching clients. He now uses hand-drawn maps to encourage participants to fill in information during his talk - and has eliminated the habit of 'snatch-and-grab.'

If you find this habit is common in your conferences, change the type of handout you provide. Also, adjust the timing of when you provide handouts.

If you notice these signs and symptoms of boredom routinely crop up during your presentation, be proactive. Work with an expert presentation coach to improve your delivery skills. A coach can point out small things that can make a huge difference in your persuasive delivery. With objective feedback you can gain the leverage you need to give engaging and dynamic presentations.

Don't risk boring your audience. Develop your presentation skills so you can effectively engage any audience, on any topic.


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