Power Presentations Tip 28: Close the Off Ramps

Power Presentations Tip 28:

Close the off ramps

If your presentation is a highway you want to keep your audience on the road with you. You don't want them to take an off ramp and exit from your presentation highway because they might miss your important message, or even worse - never return. Therefore you must close the off ramps.

Four common off ramps to be aware of and avoid
When any of these things happen while watching TV viewers change channels. When you do any of these things to your listeners they mentally take the off ramp.

Boring your listeners
What bores people? Not speaking to their interests, being vague, taking too long to get to the point and saying the same thing too many times. A little repetition is okay for impact. Too much repetition is boring.

Confusing your listeners
Speaking in jargon or techno-babble can confuse outsiders.Saying things that seem to conflict will confuse. Making your listeners wonder about your purpose or direction can confuse them. Telling stories or talking about details unrelated or unimportant can confuse your listeners.

Disputing your listeners' beliefs
This is an easy mistake to make if you don't question your own assumptions. When presenting facts - quote the source. Avoid using absolutes. Don't say "As everybody knows." Because some listeners might not know. Similarly, avoid "I'm sure we all agree." Don't quote common myths or popular beliefs as fact. When stating your own opinions say, "In my opinion..." "My research shows..." "It seems to me..." or similar qualifying phrases.

Offending your listeners
The easiest way to offend your listeners is by using offensive language. Perhaps you know not to cuss and swear like Howard Stern or George Carlin. You also need to be aware of other words that might offend your listeners. That will vary depending on the culture and industry of the group. For example, a speaker told me that his use of the word "nutcase" offended a group of mental health care professionals.

Another way to offend your audience is by insulting their intelligence, values or issues. For example - tell a lawyer joke to a group of lawyers. That's offensive to lawyers.

(I learned this concept about closing the off ramps from the Speaker Boot Camp that I attended with Kit Grant and Warren Evans.)

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives

PS: Tell me how this tip helps you.

PPS: Thanks for your comments and feedback.

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Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.


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