Anyone can give a half-way awful presentation – and most of us have at some point in our lives – but it takes a special person to give the kind of presentation that ticks every box for outstanding, gob-smacking awfulness. It’s not easy, but it can be done. If you’d like to know how, having had the dubious privilege of sitting through one such presentation just today, let me tell you what you have to do:
- Start with a technological failure. Begin with a video that has no sound. Keep the lights off, the video running, and yak at your audience while ‘the [technological] cavalry’ get on chairs, and climb up walls behind you, in a vain attempt to rectify the problem.
- Sidestep the need to establish rapport: hell, if they’re stuck watching your silent video, they’ve got to empathize with you, haven’t they?
- Don’t bother to earn the right. You’re an expert; you know they need to learn what you’ll be talking about, so feel justified in NOT introducing or explaining yourself.
- Make no effort to be comprehensible. Your expertise involves a lot of jargon. Your audience may not know and use this specialized terminology but they should; they really should. Think of it as a kind of Brain Gym. It’s good for their mental health to get the old grey cells working overtime. NEVER wait for them to catch up with what you’re saying.
- Gabble, and throw everything you’ve got at them. The clued-up minority will love it, and the vast majority – well, who cares what they think? They’re just bums on seats because it’s always nicer for you to perform to a full room.
- Read Powerpoint text verbatim. Sure, your audience look like they’re probably literate, but you can’t be sure, and it would be rude to ask. So, read text out to them. Don’t think of it as patronizing; just playing to your strengths.. and their ignorance.
- Use someone else’s Powerpoint. Any fool can use their own Powerpoint, right? You want to stand out, head and shoulders about the rest. So, use someone else’s – preferably someone of the other gender to you. That way the audience can’t possibly miss the fact that they weren’t even important enough to you for you to go to any trouble on their behalf.
- Talk down to your audience, at all times – they’ll love it. Remember, it’s not about your humanity – and you can’t be too sure about theirs – it’s about your expertise. Be sure to let them know you don’t share their issues which, frankly, you couldn’t give a monkey’s about. They’re just a client group you work with. End of.
- Give occasional examples. Not for the sake of clarity, but to let them know you’re aware of their neuroses. The more irrelevant examples are, the better – you’ll soon discover who was paying attention by the ground-swell of hostility.
- Crack a joke: one joke. Yes, really. 80% of the way through your presentation say something remotely funny. Humour their infantile minds – just once. Watch who grasps at this solitary straw of humour like a drowning man grabs a life raft. Be aware that your considerate gesture could just prevent the one or two with pathetically short attention spans from expiring from terminal boredom.
- Use picture(s) – okay, so not pictures, but one picture, on one slide, at 90% through your talk. And – if you really want to dazzle them – wrongly identify the picture. So, show a picture of a tiger, say, and talk to them about “the lion in the picture”. By now, you have established such authority that you can completely rewire their brains.
- Finish by looping back to your original disaster. Show them the video, you wanted to show them in the first place. Choose a testimonial video of exceptionally poor quality that goes on for a full 5 – 10 minutes. The subject should be a lone depressed person, sitting motionless against a plain white background, mumbling. When your audience say they can’t hear what said person is mumbling, ask them to try harder. Do NOT, under any circumstances, turn the sound up, or stop the video before it reaches the end.
- Sell your services. Invite them to ask questions – if they are still awake – and use this occasion to sell additional resources.
- RINSE AND REPEAT. As often as you possibly can…
Disclaimer: None of the skills mentioned in this article are things you will ever learn at Speaker Express. Nor should you.
Thank you, Annik, Elliot and the rest of the community everywhere for taking the pain out of Public Speaking – that’s not just the pain of standing up and speaking, but the no less acute pain of listening to agonizingly bad public speaking.
Annie Kaszina, speaker, and author of the book, “Do You Choose Your Dog More Carefully Than Her Husband”, and women’s empowerment expert, cares deeply about helping women to enjoy wonderful relationships – and protecting audiences from terminal boredom. Download Annie’s Free Report, 3 Steps to Magical Relationships at www.anniekaszina.com.