Some factors cost you the support of your audience even before you begin your speech or slide show. Others have a distracting effect if you fail to notice and handle these in time.
In this concluding part, I’ll be focusing on a few more issues that score highly on the annoyance rating-scale, and how you can avoid them.
TO SQUINT OR NOT
Is your audience fidgeting in their seats and do you constantly ask members if they can read the slides? Then you haven’t covered all your bases yet. I have created an previous post on text legibility as this affects your audience understanding, participation and reaction in a big way. To ensure a smooth slide show experience, check your presentation graphics, font settings, and screen sizes from an viewer’s perspective to find out what works and what doesn’t.
SPOONFEEDING YOUR AUDIENCE
Passion is key to delivering a memorable speech. You want your audience to feel it as much as you do. But this can sometimes be a trap for young players. Passion doesn’t mean giving them every bit of information possible and hoping it sticks. Information and visual media overload, cluttered slide design and cramped-with-text slides will confuse your audience rather than provide them with useful or memorable takeaways. When you treat their brains as data-dump yards, you run a higher risk of irritating your audience and losing their interest.
A particular presentation style can evoke different reactions in diverse audiences. What’s more interesting is that the same group of listeners may accept or enjoy certain speech styles more easily than others. And some techniques like the lecturing style or comic delivery by an unfamiliar speaker can rub listeners the wrong way. To avoid a presentation fiasco, study your audience members before your present before them to ascertain which approach will be most effective.
OVERUSED WORDS AND JARGON
Fillers in speeches are a major audience irritant. Some of these words including you know, like, right, frankly, literally, let me be/make it clear, very, can grate on listeners’ nerves when you use them frequently. Buzzwords and unfamiliar technical terms are other turn offs for both general and same-industry audience. Avoid these terms and filler sounds and position yourself as personable and relatable, so you can guide them on your journey.
NOT BEING IN COMMAND
People tend to respect those who command it. Nothing irks a supportive audience more than a presenter who lacks authority over disruptive members and lets them derail the presentation. If you’re unable to control hecklers, comedians, interrupters, and disgruntled elements, you will lose the focus of those audience members who genuinely want to listen. Whether you’re an introvert by nature or an amateur speaker, show disrupters who is in charge from the very start.
Are there other significant audience annoyances that have slipped through our net?
Let us know your pet peeves when it comes to presentations.