Is your presentation style losing you credibility?

I’ve been out and about quite a bit this past month and watched a lot of people speaking at conferences, seminars and networking events. Generally, the calibre of speaker has been very high; event organisers are finding people who really know their stuff! 

If you are looking to expand your knowledge on a particular product or service, concept or subject then going to networking event or seminar can be an excellent way to gain some high level content … and see if you like the style of the speaker and want to take the conversation to the next level, or not.

However, over the weeks I have started to notice a number of behaviours that don’t help speakers to create the image that their knowledge deserves.

1. As good as the speakers’ content has been, for some, their credibility has disappeared because they are wandering around in front of the audience for no apparent reason.

On one occasion the gentleman in question didn’t actually move but rocked forward from one foot to another throughout his presentation … 15 minutes!

Another time the speaker’s top half and voice was controlled and had real gravitas. Unfortunately, the bottom half was pacing back and forth, with no direction or purpose, and on the rare occasion they did stand still, one foot continued moving.

Remember to stand on three points (heel, little toe and big toe) on BOTH feet to enhance your credibility.

2. If you are going to use PowerPoint … don’t read the slides to me! If that was your plan just hand out the presentation, give me 5 minutes to read without interruption and then I’ll ask questions if need be. Your audience can’t read and listen at the same time and as your delivery of the message, if read, will probably be fairly dull they will stop listening anyway. 

3. When speaking remember to look at the people to the side of the room and not just those in the middle. Those to the side can feel very cut off by the lack of eye contact and just won’t hear as well.

4. And finally, KEEP TO TIME! If you can’t keep your presentation to time it implies a lot more … that you can’t be trusted to deliver what you say you will, that you will take longer with your project than expected or you just think your time is more important than the audiences, the other speakers an the organiser. It NEVER creates the impression you were aiming for!

These are my pet hates … what are yours? Do let me know below.

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2 Responses to Is your presentation style losing you credibility?

  1. Martin Brooks 10th March 2020 at 11:09 am #

    Hi Sally
    Another good article. As someone who speaks in public and attends many lectures a good deal, I can relate to all of your pet hates. Here is mine. If you are given a microphone so people in the back of the room and people with hearing challenges can hear you……USE IT.
    I have seen many speakers turn their heads away from the microphone (usually to look back at the screen they are ready from), hold it so far from their mouths it becomes useless, walk away from the lectern/microphone or not even recognize it is there and try and shout over the audience. Even those who you would think are experienced speakers/lecturers fail to use this technology correctly for the benefit of their audiences.

    • Sally Hindmarch 11th March 2020 at 4:21 pm #

      Hi Martin

      Good call!

      And microphone usage isn’t easy. Particularly if you are holding a hand held mic and are prone to gesticulation!

      My top tip here is, if you think you are going to use a mic ask to have a headset or lapel mic so you remove the worry of head turning, hand waving or being fixed to the spot where the mic is.

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