10 signs of a sloth speaker: how to understand that someone did not prepare for the speech
Anna Zagumennaya, event Director of the PR Partner Agency, shares 10 signs of poor preparation of a public speaker for a speech-from reading material on a piece of paper to poor knowledge of the audience — and explains how such mistakes can be avoided so as not to lose the trust and location of listeners
How often do you attend business events, but after listening to the reports you can’t remember what the speaker said? Or, during the speaker’s speech, you find yourself thinking that you spent half the time on the phone?
Many people blame themselves for not being able to concentrate and missing important information.But is this really the case? Of course not!
Performance is the ability not only not to get lost in front of a large audience, but also to keep its attention. Unfortunately, most speakers neglect to prepare for the speech and lose the image of the speaker, as well as potential clients (because no matter what they say, we almost always speak for a reason).
How to recognize a sloth and what “fakaps” can happen during a performance-we will tell you in our short selection.
1. The most obvious sign of any sloth-reads everything on a piece of paper or completely duplicates the information from the slide.
How to avoid: if you are not preparing a presentation yourself, rehearse the presentation several times and read the accompanying text. At our trainings, we always recommend that the speaker prepare at least the basis of the report himself, so it will be easier for him to navigate through the slides and the information that is displayed on them.
2. Incorrect display of the presentation.
How to avoid: ask the event organizers in advance what extension of the presentation is allowed for the projector in the hall where you will be performing. The best way to protect yourself from problems with the presentation is to send it in advance and ask to check its playback on the site. This way you will have time to correct colors if they are not clearly displayed on the screen, and fonts that may not be installed on the organizers ‘ computer.
3. The speaker did not have time to tell even half of the presentation in the allotted time/told the presentation too quickly and there was a lot of time left.
How to avoid: divide the slides by meaning based on the principle: one thought — one slide. To understand how much time you need to speak, speak the text of the report at the usual pace and set the timer. Based on these two parameters — the number of thoughts and the speed of speech — you can correctly make a presentation and meet the allotted time.
4. The speaker instead of the report tells about his life experience.
How to avoid: no doubt, any experience is interesting, but some stories are better left on the sidelines. Participants of the event come to listen to a speech on the stated topic. Respect your audience and their personal time. Even if you are spontaneously invited to speak to students, ask the teacher what they already know and give them new, useful information.
5. He studies each slide as if he is seeing it for the first time.
How to avoid: if the speaker carefully looks at each slide before starting the story, there are several possible explanations:
the speaker’s presentation was made by someone else, and he really sees it for the first time;
the presentation was made for another event, and the speaker has already forgotten its content. Regardless of the reason, review the material several times in advance, so you will feel more confident during the performance.
6. There is no structure in the presentation or the slides contradict each other.
How to avoid: sometimes speakers want to talk about all the services/cases of their company and share all the accumulated knowledge within one speech — because of this, they randomly jump from one topic to another. The result is a poor performance, the audience did not get useful information, even if it was in the report.
Focus on one topic and work through it carefully, both in terms of structure and content. It is better to reveal one thing in depth and show your level of professionalism in this matter than to give superficial and chaotic knowledge.
7. The presentation contains data from three years ago.
How to avoid: if you have a proven presentation, there is nothing wrong with performing it multiple times. However, do not forget to periodically update the information with fresh Analytics, as well as up-to-date examples and cases.
8. The speaker is not ready for obvious questions.
How to avoid: ask yourself -” what question would I ask myself, sitting in the hall?”We recommend that you at least rehearse this in private. It is best to prepare a FAQ for the speech in advance (answers to frequently asked questions). Ask the employee to help you with this by evaluating the performance and presentation from the outside.
9. The speaker constantly draws your attention to the slide without even commenting on it.
How to avoid: don’t load presentation slides with a large array of information and text, most likely, no one will read them. Remember, a presentation is your auxiliary tool that helps you visualize your performance.
10. The speaker’s speech is aimed at a different audience.
How to avoid: ask the event organizers in advance for information about the conference audience — who will be sitting in the hall, how old they are, what experience they have, and so on. This way you will be able to prepare correctly and speak “the same language”with your audience. Even if the audience is mixed, you can always offer relevant information to each group.
Despite the fact that an average of 15-20 minutes are provided for the report, even for such a small speech, you need to prepare in advance and for more than one hour. I always advise speakers to start preparing at least a week before the event. Even in five minutes, your audience will know whether you were preparing or not. With the growth of business and online communities, you can now easily find reviews about any speaker, even a novice speaker. It is difficult to earn the audience’s love, but you can lose it in 10 minutes of a bad performance. Therefore, dear speakers and those who want to become them, approach the preparation of speeches responsibly! Rehearse, discuss with colleagues, and learn new things. This is the only way to create a positive image of the speaker and win over the audience.