In my last blog post I shared with you the effective traits of speakers we like to see and hear. That’s a question I ask the audience during every one of my Art of Telling presentations. I also ask them to think of someone they’ve heard speak that they didn’t really enjoy listening to. Then I ask them to tell me the traits the speaker exhibited that they didn’t like or care for. Over the years I’ve heard thousands of responses to this question. What’s amazing is their answers are always the same. Here’s what they tell me:
• They ramble; they’re not well-organized.
• They’re uninformed on their topic.
• They lack preparation.
• They speak in monotone; they don’t use their voices well.
• They show no energy or passion.
• They use too many “fillers” (non-words).
• They exhibit poor eye contact.
• They pace or wander of fidget.
• They use profanity or questionable humor.
• They are poor storytellers.
The next time you’re getting ready to make a presentation, whether to an audience of 1, 5 or 500 hundred, think about these ineffective traits that listeners don’t like to see or hear. Make sure to avoid those traits. Be well prepared. Have a passion for your message. Make good eye contact. Never use questionable humor or profanity. Connect with your listener. And remember that presentations should be built on the listener’s future rather than the presenter’s past. “Don’t tell me about your grass seed, tell me about my lawn.”
Over the summer Gary will continue his blog series on the Art of Telling. He believes that speaking skills are required and acquirable for today’s business professional. The purpose of the Art of Telling blog series is to enable readers to develop the communication and presentation skills that will serve them a lifetime. Click here to see more on Gary’s Art of Telling programs and seminars.