Audience Annoyances

Surveys have asked audiences which presentation techniques are annoying. Of course, annoying presentations detract from remembering and learning. Here are the top 6 audience annoyances. Each annoyance is followed by the percentage of respondents that agree. Annoyance Percentage of RespondentWho Are Annoyed Reading the slides 74% Full sentences 52% Small text 48% Poor color choices… Continue reading Audience Annoyances

Tell Stories

People remember and learn better when information is presented in story form. After all, that is how we all started to learn – our parents read us stories. We all know that it is important not to lie. We learned this from the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Instead of presenting your information… Continue reading Tell Stories

The Audience

The audience is on your side. They want you to succeed. They are investing their time and are hoping that your presentation will be informative, educational and entertaining. Your task is to communicate effectively with the audience and to use techniques that ensure they will remember your key messages and learn from your presentation.


Change the tone and volume of your voice. This is not easy because many speakers slip into a monotone sometime during their presentation. This requires practice and a conscious decision to vary your voice.


Do not point to a particular audience member. Have you been pointed out during a presentation where the speaker asks you a direct question – like, “When is the last time you had to deliver a presentation”? Ouch! Better for the speaker to state the obvious answer instead of asking a question. For example, the speaker could say, “We… Continue reading Discomfort


Humour should be used if it supports your key messages. Most attempts at humour are met with an uncomfortable silence, because they are outside the context of the presentation topics. If you want to try adding humour to your presentation then at least make the humour relevant to the content – why tell a golf joke… Continue reading Humour

Talk To All Audience Members

Do not speak to just a few audience members. Make eye contact with the entire audience by periodically scanning all audience members. I remember a presentation where the presenter decided to present to one audience member. He stared at him for the entire presentation – obviously he had read somewhere that if you are nervous… Continue reading Talk To All Audience Members


How do you deliver better presentations? One of the most important things you can do is to practice. I play golf about once a year. On one of these occasions, I was practising my tee shot and constantly hitting the ground. I gave up and said “oh well, might as well just take the shot”.… Continue reading Practice

Audience Cues

Sometimes you get cues from the audience. People shuffling through your handouts, talking to each other, using their cell phones or blackberries are cues that something is not right with your presentation. When people start to leave your presentation, you know something is not right. Either you are going too slowly or your presentation is… Continue reading Audience Cues

No Apologies

Do not apologize for things out of your control. For example, “I’m sorry this room is so warm.” If you cannot do anything about it, do not mention it. Old Picture I use this picture to make a point. The picture is dated, about 15 years old. However, the first time I used this picture… Continue reading No Apologies