Steps To Create A Yawn Inspiring Presentation

In Uncategorized on September 19, 2012 at 6:12 PM

Speaking Tip #83

Creating and delivering a yawn-inspiring talk is easy. So easy in fact, that 82% of all presentations reach this level*. With numbers that high, it is clear most presenters strive to achieve this status.

Here are six easy steps to help you create a yawn-inspiring experience for your audience:

1) Talk mostly about yourself – You are fascinating and everyone is interested in hearing about your life. Talk mostly about yourself and a bit about the work you do. Do not worry about relating anything to the audience. They are grateful for the opportunity to listen.

2) Use PowerPoint at its lowest value – Here are 3 pointers to use PowerPoint as a essential element of a yawn-inspiring talk.

  • Turn out the lights and turn on PowerPoint as soon as you are introduced. This will help you feel more comfortable as no one can see you.
  • Project your notes onto the screen and read them verbatim, preferably with your back to the audience. This allows the audience to both hear and see your presentation. Pictures are distracting and should be avoided.
  • Include complex graphs, tables, and charts in your presentation.

3) Build your presentation around several messages – Presenting a single message is risky as the audience may not like or agree with the message. Presenting several ideas allows each person to choose the message they like. A smart audience will be able to take your disjointed presentation and piece together what you are trying to say.

4) Display your superior knowledge at all times – Answer every question definitively, even if you are not sure you’re correct. You are the expert which is why you are the speaker. Having fast answers instills confidence in the audience.  If an audience member disagrees with you or questions you, it is ok to belittle the person.

5) Wing it – Don’t waste valuable time preparing your talk. Audiences love natural performances that flow. You know your topic well enough that you can just talk off the cuff and still inspire your audience.  Having a prepared talk will stifle creativity and lead to a stiff presentation.

6) Give lots of information –  Even though research shows audiences can only organize and remember 3-5 bits of new information at a time, your audiences are probably smarter than average and your topic is interesting. Give the audience a ton of data, facts, and concepts.

Yawn-inspiring talks require little effort to prepare and save time as the chances of being invited back to speak again are low. As most presentations already fall into this category, you want to position yourself to part of the pack.

© 2012, iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved

*Why Bad Presentations Happen To Good Causes: Andy Goodman, 2006. Request a free copy at

Call or email for information on how to create and deliver presentations that capture and inspire your audience.

  1. Best and funniest tip ever! Thanks for keeping these coming. I think I’ll share this one with the staff at SFSU. Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2012 02:12:37 +0000 To:

  2. Ethan,

    Can I add a seventh, slightly counter intuitive, yawn maker. Add lots of flashy animation and random slide transitions.

    All the best, Graham.

    • Thanks Graham and Bob. I have a question for you Graham- why do you think it is counter intuitive to think flashy animations and random slide transitions will bore your audience? The idea of a presentation is to impress people with ideas, not cheap tricks. Animations and transitions detract from the message, thus weakening the presentation overall.

      • Ethan, I don’t think it is counter intuitive, but others might. Some people will think that by adding lots of animation to their presentations it will make the visual aids more interesting, but as you and I know, too much animation and in particular random slide transitions divert the attention away from what the speaker is saying and hence detract from the message and make the overall presentation more boring. Just because the software enables you to do something doesn’t meant you have to use it.

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