There are lots of things you’re probably already doing that could make your audience lose interest in what you have to say. It can be anything from having disorganized material, not using good vocal tone, relying too heavily on notes, speeding through your speech, having bland material...Fortunately, these things are all fixable by watching yourself so you’re aware of the things you’re doing and aiming to improve each one during each of your talks.
I’ve been put to sleep by hundreds of speeches in my lifetime, and I know I’ve done the same to others. Here are three things people do during their speeches that cause others to get a one-way ticket to Snoozeville.
Being too wordy
There is a common misconception that the more detail you provide in your speech and the more in depth your examples, the more intelligent you will appear. Because of this misconception, speakers tend to speak too much, muddy their diction and explain relatively simple concepts in overcomplicated terminology.
Something you may be doing during presentations is dressing up your diction in 17th-century royalty dresses in order to sound more knowledgeable. You look for fancy replacements for the simple words and go in to tremendous detail explaining topics that need nothing more than a sentence or two. The next time you’re preparing for a speech, ask yourself: “Does my audience really need to know this? Can I say this in less words/slides?”
Being too factual
Don’t get caught up holding a bag full of facts—you’ll sink like a 500-pound boulder dropped in the ocean. Facts, research findings and statistics are all important parts of presentations, but you need to balance that your own educated opinion, commentary and if appropriate, humor. Remember: the most important thing isn’t that you are providing the information, it’s that the audience is retaining it. For them to retain it, you must inject your speech with more pathos and don’t be afraid to mix facts with fun.
Being too formal
With regards to the level of formality expected of an effective orator, it is of vast significance to produce flowing content to target audiences of varying multitudes and distillations. This content need not be exceedingly pompous, for pomposity shall consummate naught more than a shambolic assemblage of spectators and stir sentiments of disdain for thyself and thy overly ostentatious manner of articulation. Don’t be a phony—talk like a human and loosen up a bit.