I recently did a poll where I asked participants which speaker/presenter behaviours they find most annoying or off-putting.

Here’s what they said:

1. Talking for long periods of time without a break or engaging the audience.

2. Talking too fast.

3. Using language (concepts. acronyms etc.) that hasn’t been explained.

4. Say “uhmm” a lot.

5. Read their presentation or slides.

6. Focusing too much on and giving irrelevant detail about themselves.

7. Not engaging the audience and not including everyone at the beginning.

8. Having their back to parts of the audience because the teleprompter was to the right of the stage or because they’re reading their slides.

9. Talk about how great they are non stop and just basking in their own greatness.

10. When they presume that you are clueless about the subject.

11. When they sound like they have swallowed a dictionary and are out to impress.

12. Rigidity that doesn’t help the audience to connect to them or what they are trying to convey.

13. Moving all over the place.

14. Waffling.

15. Lots of repetition.

16. Anecdotes that have nothing to do with the subject.

17. When they are not truly connected with their subject and simply talk ‘from their head’.

Even though most of us do some of these some of the time, it becomes a problem when these are your ‘default’ modes of presenting.


These behaviours have the most negative impact on an audience:

1. Doing a monologue rather than a lively and engaging conversation.
2. Being so tied up in the delivery that you lose connection with the audience.
3. Putting the focus more on yourself than on the topic and the audience.
4. Being unprepared and insulting the audience by reading to them (they can do that at home – just email them the paperwork).


The one thing that all these have in common, is that the speaker is making the audience (that sure is the sole reason for them being there?) unimportant.

An audience that feels unimportant, bored or frustrated is not in a state of optimal learning (or any learning, for that matter), which means that most of your presentation will be largely a waste of time.


These behaviours are easily explained:

Most people are petrified of speaking in front of people and find it excruciatingly hard.

Being super nervous/anxious triggers your limbic brain which shuts down your frontal cortex (thinking brain) which actually means you’re less smart than you really are?

Most people have not been taught the skills how to design, prepare and deliver a presentation that fully engages the audience.

And yet, explaining it away does not lessen the impact on the audience.


Visit http://fallinlovewithpresenting.com for more articles and tips on how to improve your presentation skills

Author's Bio: 

Bennie Naude is the creator of Fall in Love with Presenting, to help people to deliver top quality presentations in corporate or public.

He's presented at over 200 events in 15 countries over the last 20 years, and currently lives in Cape Town, South Africa.