Don’t be boring, stop the audience from snoring! How to distinguish a great presentation from an average one.

Have you ever been to a presentation and tried to stop yourself falling asleep? Have you counted down the minutes until lunchtime/bathroom breaks/going home? I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I certainly have! Training often conjures up images of dull meeting rooms with boring Powerpoints and unenthusiastic presenters, who speak at you rather than interacting with their audience with energy and vitality.

And more than often this is the case. It certainly takes an extraordinary individual to have you walking away from a training session feeling inspired, excited and ready to make life changes.

I’ll never forget one talk I went to from a major bank’s chief economist. As I helped myself to the canapés and poured myself a large glass of wine I prepared myself for an uneventful afternoon.

However, as soon as the speaker got on his platform I couldn’t take my eyes off him! He sprung to life, bounding around, using simple, day-to-day examples to explain major economic theories.

His voice was gruff and loud, he was extraordinarily unconventional. However, I walked away with more knowledge of economic principles than I learnt whilst studying 20th century economic history for three years when I was an undergraduate in London!

Why is it some people just have that special something, that charisma?

Creating this all important vibe is extremely important when it comes to conveying  the power of social media. This is mainly because using social media networks for marketing only works if the person managing these networks REALLY gets the idea and is EXCITED about it! This is because social media is exactly what it says on the tin, ie “social.” There is no point in understanding how it functions without understanding the ultimate purpose. So, back to the original question –  how do great speakers and trainers inspire their audiences?

Here are a few indicators:

When delivering a presentation it’s key that speakers don’t just speak monotonously at their audience.  Change of pace, tone and pitch is vital. Boring speakers remind everyone of  their drabbest teacher at school who was usually very out of control of his/her pupils. This is because they couldn’t command attention or respect.  And many adults don’t necessarily have that much longer an attention span than teenagers – let’s face it!

Moving around the speaking area (obviously not too manically) is also important, as it conveys excitement and flow. It subconsciously indicates to the audience that the speaker is enthusiastic about what he/she is talking about and also that there is more interesting content to come. Standing in the same spot indicates a lack of momentum which gets the audience yawning.

Inspiring speakers don’t go over the same point again and again. They bring new things all the time to the audience. They add new ideas , use new graphics and imaginative ways to explain these points. If the audience has questions, that’s great as they often encourage participation from the audience which brings us on to our next point…


Great trainers are keen to speak to their audience, to get feedback. They want to know how the audience feels, what their concerns are. They will ask their audience to explain their problems, their experiences in whatever field they are focusing on. They will want to encourage their audience to ask questions, to get their money’s worth and walk away feeling satisfied.

One clever way of getting the audience feeling as if they are part of the presentation rather than being lectured to by an uninspiring schoolmaster, is to research some of their businesses and find examples in this area. For example, a social media presentation we did recently had strong feedback partly because we found several examples of the audience’s competitors using social media networks and showed how they were doing it. Admittedly it was a small group, but it helped them see how social media could benefit their businesses.

Ever heard someone say about someone: “He/she just had something…that…I can’t put my finger on it…a certain ‘Je ne sais quoi.’” Or perhaps you yourself have met one of these individuals. A warmth, charisma, leadership ability which makes someone stand out in the crowd is not necessarily easy to cultivate overnight, but motivators and trainers who are worth keeping will have it in droves!