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10 signs of a speaker-sloth: how to understand that someone was not preparing for a speech

Anna Zagumennaya, event director of the PR Partner agency, shares 10 signs of a public speaker’s poor preparedness for speaking – from reading material on a piece of paper to poor audience knowledge – and explains how such errors can be avoided so as not to lose the trust and location of the audience
How often do you attend business events, but after listening to reports you can’t remember what the speaker was talking about? Or, during the speaker’s speech, catch yourself thinking that you’ve sat half of the time on the phone?

Many blame themselves for not being able to concentrate and missing important information. But is it really so? Of course not!

A performance is the ability not only not to be confused in front of a large audience, but also to keep her attention. Unfortunately, most speakers neglect the preparation for the speech and lose the image of the speaker and potential customers (after all, whatever they say, we almost always speak for a reason).

How to recognize a sloth and what “fakapy” can happen during a performance – we will tell in our brief selection.

1. The most obvious sign of any sloth is reading everything on a piece of paper or completely duplicating information from a slide.

How to avoid: if you are not preparing the presentation yourself, rehearse the presentation several times and read the accompanying text. At our trainings, we always recommend that the speaker himself prepare at least the basis of the report, so it will be easier for him to navigate in the slides and the information that is depicted on them.

2. Incorrect presentation display.

How to avoid: find out in advance from the organizers of the event what extension of the presentation is acceptable for the projector in the hall where you will be speaking. 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. So you will have time to correct the 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 half the presentation in the time allotted to him / too quickly told the presentation and there was a lot of time left.

How to avoid: break the slides according to the semantic load 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 talks about his life experience.

How to avoid: no doubt, any experience is interesting, but some stories are best left behind the scenes. Participants in the event come to listen to a presentation on a stated topic. Respect your listeners and their personal time. Even if you were spontaneously invited to speak in front of students, ask the teacher what they already know and give new, useful information.

5. Examines each slide as if seeing it for the first time.

How to avoid: if the speaker carefully looks at each slide before the start of 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;
a presentation was made for another event, and the speaker had already forgotten its contents. Regardless of the reason, review the material several times in advance, so you will feel more confident during the performance.
6. There are no structures in the presentation or slides contradict each other.

How to avoid: sometimes speakers within one speech want to talk about all the services / cases of their company and share all the accumulated knowledge – because of this they randomly jump from one topic to another. The result is an unsuccessful performance, the audience did not receive useful information, even if it was in the report.

Focus on one topic and work it through carefully, both in terms of structure and content. It is better to reveal one thing deeply and show your level of professionalism in this matter than to give superficial and chaotic knowledge.

7. The presentation contains data three years ago.

How to avoid: if you have a proven presentation, there is nothing wrong with giving it several times. However, do not forget to periodically update the information with fresh analytics, as well as relevant examples and cases.

8. The speaker is not ready for obvious questions.

How to avoid: ask yourself – “And what question would I ask myself when I sit in the hall?” We recommend that you rehearse this at least in private. It is best to pre-compose a FAQ for the presentation (answers to frequently asked questions). Ask an employee to help you with this by evaluating the presentation and presentation from the outside.

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