September 23rd, 2014
Hate giving presentations—sales or otherwise? Want to relieve yourself of the burden of having to prepare and deliver them ever again?
Just be lousy!
After delivering a few terrible presentations, people will stop asking you to give them. And then you’re home free!
But how can you ensure that your presentation is as awful as it can be? Use these time-tested techniques that horrendous presenters have been using for years to put their audiences to sleep.
1. Talk about what they don’t care about
Everyone cares most about themselves, so when listening to a presentation, we’re most attentive when the speaker is talking about things that matter to us. So talk about anything and everything else! For a sales presentation, that means dwelling on the history of your company, your values and mission, all the features of your product or service (all of them), and anything else you can think of about you. For a speech, focus on issues that don’t affect your audience, avoid empathy, and use examples they can’t relate to.
2. Lose the enthusiasm
Enthusiasm is contagious, so if you’re enthusiastic, your audience will tend to be as well. Fortunately, the opposite is also true. If you sound like you don’t care and don’t want to be there, your audience will feel the same way.
3. Speak in a monotone
No matter how interesting your subject matter, it’s really hard to pay attention when the speaker speaks in a monotone. So don’t let any emotion come through in your voice and avoid changes in your rate, tone and volume.
4. Use lots of data
Numbers in and of themselves are boring. So put your audience to sleep by using as many as you can, preferably with no context. Put the “numb” in numbers!
5. Tell jokes
Amateur presenters believe telling jokes will keep audiences interested and entertained. The reality is, however, if you’ve heard the joke, odds are your audience members have too. Which means it’s not funny and instead, a waste of their time. In fact, opening your presentation with a joke is one of the fastest ways to lose your audience’s attention.
6. Use plenty of clichés
As with jokes, people tend to tune out when they hear clichés because they’ve heard those phrases a million times before. Great presenters avoid clichés like the plague, but if you want to suck, use them like they’re going out of style.
7. Avoid stories
When you tell stories, you risk capturing your audience’s attention. Because stories are inherently engaging. Neuroscientists have discovered that the human brain is actually hard-wired to follow stories to find out how they end. Replace any stories you have with statistics, data and technical jargon.
8. Don’t ask any questions
Asking questions gives audience members an opportunity to be involved. It forces them to think and to contribute. It turns a mind-numbing monologue into a stimulating dialogue. Along the same lines, don’t give your audience the chance to ask questions, if at all possible.
9. Drone on and on and on…
The only thing worse than a boring presentation is one that never seems to end. To maximize your atrociousness, maximize the amount of your audience’s time you waste. Ramble. Go off on tangents. Repeat yourself. Go to great lengths to avoid making a clear point. Eschew structure. Ignore your time constraints. The more you drone on, the more grateful they’ll be when you finally, mercifully stop.
Whether you’re presenting to prospects, peers or paid attendees, these tactics will guarantee you stink up the place so badly you won’t ever be asked to do it again. Sure you’ll lose sales, miss out on promotions, and never feel the exhilaration of a standing ovation. But that’s a small price to pay for being able to forever remain in your comfort zone. Isn’t it?