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Ana Antunes da Silva

Aim to Be

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How to Deliver a Bad Presentation


Public speaking is becoming an increasing part of our day to day lives even outside of the work place.  Inevitably, you must have attended presentations where the speaker mumbled, went over time, fidgeted or simply was not able to captivate the audience.

Bad presentations are a waste of time, cost money and can damage reputations. So, if this is what you are aiming for here is the perfect guide for you. Follow these steps and you are sure to deliver a bad presentation.

9 Ways to Deliver a Bad Presentation

1 – No rehearsal
Do not practice. Just wing it. Your audience will never notice. Your time is too precious to spend practicing. You’re much better off just wasting the time of your entire audience instead.

2 – Me, Me, Me
You are the one delivering the presentation so pay no attention to whom your audience is or what they are expecting from you. Tell them whatever you want and don’t bother trying to understand why they are there.

3 – Information packed slides
Ensure you write as much as possible on your slides. This way you can keep the audience busy reading and they don’t have to listen to what you are saying. Make the font really small so you can write even more and include additional information.

4 – Read
Read out your slides word for word. You are obviously a better reader so make their lives easier by reading your slides verbatim to ensure they don’t miss out on anything. Do not elaborate on what is written. Do not feel the need to explain anything, the audience should understand your thought process.

5 – No eye contact
Do not make eye contact or engage the audience in any way. After all, you want to keep them at a distance, it’s them versus you. Keep your eyes on your notes, handouts, the floor, the door, anywhere but the audience. If this makes it harder for your voice to project and for you to be heard they’ll just have to listen harder.

6 – Use jargon
Speak above the crowd to impress them. Use lots of complicated and unrecognisable words. This will make you sound clever. Try to use as many abbreviations as possible and jargon that is particular to your company only. This will show you really know what you’re talking about.

7 – Ramble
Do not stick to the subject and wander off course as often as possible. Be sure to tell many personal, unrelated and ideally sensitive and controversial stories. This will show your personality and the audience is more interested in you than the topic you are supposed to be talking about. Focus is overrated.

8 – Go over the time limit
The audience is there to see you so feel free to keep them there as long as you like. Your presentation is definitely the highlight of their day and they have nothing better to do with their time. If you realise you are running over time, do not worry. The audience paid good money to hear you, so give them their money’s worth.

9 – No questions

Don’t take any questions. Your presentation was perfect and speaks for itself.

What do you think makes a bad presentation? Please feel free to share any horror stories! 

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2 Responses

  1. Appalling presentations

    Some years ago I organised a fellow worker to talk about his university PhD research as a "brown bag lunch" presentation. The research SOUNDED interesting! It was even relevant to the training we were doing at the time but unfortunately I fell asleep during it.

    He mumbled into his papers, looking down. He didn’t appear to have had any public speaking experience previously, despite the fact that we were selected for that position on the basis of teaching or training experience. He had no illustrations, no powerpoint and no external referent for attendees other than his voice for most of the talk. At one point he drew on a whiteboard, with black only, a totally incomprehensible diagram. One of my workmates woke me up just before he finished, so I could thank him (!).

    I was fortunate that only the people in our position attended, and they were all fairly tolerant. 

    Another talk I attended, organised by someone else, was a team of  DipEd lecturers. They scanned photocopies of articles to look at which were unreadable. I cannot understand to this day why someone who actually taught teachers how to teach could have provided such a low-grade resource for their presentation!

    Finally, I attended a presentation by an independent trainer who started the training with an infantile game, then proceeded from there to push a technique for training that had absolutely no research backing, and seemed to me to be totally invalid for the purpose which she was using it. I walked out early. I never sit in the front row!

    All these experiences took place in Australia.

  2. Thanks

    Hi Ann,

    Thanks for sharing these experiences. As you have illustrated, there are so many people who make avoidable mistakes in presentations. It never seizes to amaze me!

    I do like your solution of not sitting in the front row. A strategy for a swift exit is a good plan!



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Ana Antunes da Silva

Coach - Facilitator - Consultant

Read more from Ana Antunes da Silva

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