A Checklist Of What NOT To Do During A Presentation

In Uncategorized on July 8, 2016 at 8:15 AM

I watched a speaker score a perfect 100% on the checklist of things NOT to do during a presentation. Even though he was presenting an innovative and exciting project to a very receptive audience, he failed miserably based completely on his presentation style. It was an amazing experience to witness one speaker doing so much wrong all in one 30-minute talk.

checklist 2

Checklist of what NOT to do during a presentation:

  • Forgo a proper introduction by a host so when you speak, the audience will not know who you are, why you are qualified to speak or why your topic is important to them
  • Wait until you are introduced to turn on the projector and set up any equipment causing the audience to wait uncomfortably.
  • Immediately turn off the room lights, project your first slide and launch into the talk without introducing the topic or acknowledging the audience
  • Repeatedly demonstrate your lack of familiarity with the equipment by hitting wrong buttons
  • Project an image projected larger than the screen so the slides will run off the edges on all sides
  • Face the screen as you speak so the audience has a good view of your back
  • Use small text and hard to read graphs in your slides
  • Include profanity verbally and written on slides
  • Do not make eye contact or have any type of interaction with the audience
  • Include lots of jargon, technical terms and acronyms
  • Choose to speak from the floor so you make it difficult for those in the middle or back of the room to see you even if there was a lectern or stage available
  • Slowly lull the audience to sleep through use of monotone, a low voice and slowing your voice
  • Incorporate a variety of distracting mannerisms including “ums”, odd hand gestures, fiddling with your hands, rocking back and forth on your heels, and pacing
  • Speak about many specific details of your project while failing to ever explain the overall benefits
  • Lack a strong opening statement, overview of the talk, call to action and closing statement
  • Do not structure his talk in a logical or easy to follow manner and opt instead to jump from topic to topic in a seemingly random manner
  • Do not use the microphone making it difficult for the audience to hear your words
  • Do not repeat questions from the audience so few know what you are talking about
  • End your presentation abruptly with the lights off. Forgo a closing statement – just walk off the stage leaving the room in the dark.

The best projects, services, or ideas will only gain traction and support when the value and benefit is apparent to the audience and presented well. Review this checklist and avoid as many (or all) as possible.

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© 2016 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.

The Whole Is Cooler Than The Pieces

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2016 at 2:00 PM

The presentation had all the right elements: an introduction, good background on the topic, 3 well-laid out points, and a clear conclusion. The presenter had taken all the right steps in preparing the talk and put a fair amount of time into his work. The problem was the end result was boring. Dull. Dry. Uninspiring.

The surprising thing is the project he is speaking on is anything but boring: – it is innovative, outdoorsy, creative, full of hope and prospect and something that 90% of people could easily support.

pieces and the whole

In his efforts to define each part of the project (the history, the pieces, the location), the speaker had lost sight of the whole, and in doing so, lost the sense of what made this project so cool in the first place. Someone had a vision for this project that was shared with others and over the course of time, they had found money and time to make it a reality. Very little, if any of the excitement or passion that allowed this project to blossom was presented in this talk.

Many speakers dissect their projects into the individual pieces and lose sight of the whole – what is it that makes your topic, your project so exciting and special? It similar to a baker talking about the ingredients, the oven, and the baking pan without ever describing the delicious, beautiful cake.

As you create your next talk, remember to include that really big cool idea that is the foundation of your entire project. Describe the end result of your project at the beginning of your talk – use it as your opener to grab the attention of your audience. Chances are the very thing that excites you about your project will excite your audience as well. Once they are excited, they may just be interested in all those pieces and details.

Here are a few other articles you may enjoy. Remember to share these links with your friends and colleagues.



© 2016 – This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. We help people speak effectively and with confidence.

Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

An Equation For An Excellent Presentation

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2016 at 9:11 PM



We speak to make a point, to change an attitude, a behavior or a belief. If that is not possible, we at least want to provoke the audience enough to cause them to re-think their current position. When added together, these three tools provide a solid platform for you to engage your audience in hopes of moving them from where they are now to where you hope they will be.

A clear message means you (and subsequently when you are done, your audience) should be able to sum up the entirety of your talk into one short sentence. – just one simple statement: “At the end of my talk I want my audience to know ________” (No “ands”, no “commas”, no “ampersands”). If you can be clear enough in your thinking to fill in that blank before you start speaking, you increase the likelihood your audience will understand your point.


Interaction is meaningful dialogue between either the speaker and the audience or between audience members, Audiences want to be involved in the conversation as active participants: they do not want to be merely passive receivers of information. Audience members will learn as they process information to form their own thoughts, and will learn from others in the group. Providing time to discuss the topic allows audience members to take pieces of the talk and add them up to a sum greater than that of all the parts.

To be clear, Interaction does not mean that you as the speaker get to talk for 55 minutes.  You should take the opportunity to actively engage your audience by encouraging them to think, reflect, ask questions, evaluate and express themselves.
Enthusiasm demonstrates through actions, voice, and words that the you like and are excited about your topic. Your energy is quite contagious and rubs off on the audience.

Your enthusiasm alone is not enough to carry the day. A colleague recently reported to me that she watched a presentation in absolute awe based solely on the enthusiasm and energy of the speaker. It wasn’t until later that the colleague realized the speaker didn’t have a message – they were simply engaging and energetic.

A good presentation does not happen by chance or luck: it is created by a good presenter. These three elements are basic building blocks to help you design outstanding talks that engage the audience and by doing so, may change and attitude, belief, or behavior.


With appreciation to Andy Goodman and Jenn Tarlton.

© 2016 – This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. We help people speak effectively and with confidence.

Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.


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