The Seven Deadly Sins of Public Speaking (and how to avoid them) #4

Sin #4 Skipping Slides

This week, I want to try a different approach. This time, I am going to describe a sin and let you tell me how to avoid it. It’s a nice common one and thinking about it might just help you to avoid it in your own talks.

So, imagine the scene. All is calm and serene in the presentation. The poised, relaxed, expert speaker has been doing a great job so far. They have engaged their audience, used appropriate eye contact and seem to be doing a perfect job. Then, all of a sudden, panic! One swift glance at their watch and, oh no!, all their good work comes tumbling down around them.

Instead of ending with a bang, they end with a jerky whimper. For the last five minutes of their talk, they are like a Duracell bunny that has been attached to a high voltage cable. Zoom! Through three slides we go in one jump. Whoosh! Sixteen bullets and what looks like a nice diagram go shooting past at a speed that only Concorde could match.

“Sorry, don’t have time for that … or that … or that,” they say, apologetically, as they fly through their remaining material.

And so, what started off as an impressive performance ends up with a dishevelled and shame-faced presenter and a bunch of PowerPoint slides that no one got to see. How sad. All that effort wasted and such a good start scuppered.

In the grand scheme of things, skipping the odd PowerPoint slide might not be as bad as mumbling through your talk or (horror!) reading off a script. Still, it doesn’t exactly leave the right impression. It all feels a bit amateurish and under-prepared. It makes people wonder just how much thought you put into this thing anyway.

So, this week, you be the coach. How would you advise people to avoid this sin? How you ever seen someone do this? Have you ever done it yourself? This week, it’s over to you!


About Jonathan Downie

I am a conference interpreter, public speaking coach, preacher and researcher.
This entry was posted in Audience, Delivery, Public Speaking. Bookmark the permalink.

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