We've all been subjected to bad business presentations in the past and know just how awful that experience can be! Having worked in corporate communications for the last 20 years I've seen my fair share of bad presentations and have come up with the 10 works habits of the bad business presenter:

1. No clear audience benefit (why are we listening to this rubbish?)

Every bad presenter believes that their presentation is all about them and that the audience are simply there to witness the genius of it all. If you are not sure why the audience should bother listening to you, then postpone the event until you can answer the question.

2. No rehearsals

Bad presenters never rehearse. If you don’t rehearse beforehand then the first time the audience hear your presentation is also the first time that you hear it, and that’s the very moment when the bad presenter is liable to get a sudden shock; it’s called stage fright.

3. Lack of focus

The bad presenter meanders all over the place. The good presenter has one clear theme, supported by no more than three key messages – the things that the presenter would like the audience to do, think or remember.

4. Too much content

The hallmark of the bad presenter is too much content. The more you say, the more you have to explain and so the more you have to keep on saying. And if the presentation appears complicated and confused, the audience will assume that the presenter is also confused.


5. Text heavy PowerPoint

A PowerPoint slide with lots of text is better described as being the bad presenter’s speaking notes – and of no interest to the audience. It’s almost impossible to read lines of text whilst concentrating 100% on what someone is saying. The audience might attempt to follow the text heavy slides for a few seconds and then (because the brain is a self-organising mechanism) the audience will begin to think about more interesting things….

6. Absence of pictures, or images

The bad presenter never uses pictures, because their presentation is too ‘serious’ for pictures. The adage "A picture is worth a thousand words" refers to the idea that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image, making it possible to absorb large amounts of information quickly. Think of a picture of a man riding a bicycle; now try and explain the concept of bicycle riding without the use of a picture (see point 5 above).

7. Wearing the wrong clothes

Too impractical, revealing, casual, formal, inappropriate, scruffy, distracting; I think you get the idea. The simple rule is: dress the way your audience would expect you to dress. If in doubt, always dress smarter and you’ll never be wrong.

8. Wandering and weaving around the stage

As unused adrenalin is pumped through the body lactic acid builds up in the muscle tissues and the bad presenter responds to this discomfort by pacing to and to-and-fro like a caged animal. Weaving is incredibly distracting for the audience and prevents them concentrating on and ‘connecting’ with the presenter.

9. Not listening to advice

Arrogant presenters who don’t listen to advice are bad presenters. Arrogance when added to incompetence creates a toxic mix more corrosive than battery acid – damaging the outcome of presentations, product launches, marketing campaigns and business plans.

10. Seeking reassurance from subordinates

Bad presenters confuse well-meaning reassurance for feedback. As your career advances so the likelihood is that you will be asked to make more business presentations. As far as your subordinates are concerned, telling the boss that they’re a great presenter is much easier than telling the truth.

The secret of becoming a great presenter is…

There is no secret. Great presenters make it look easy because they prepare everything in advance, are obsessive about detail and take nothing for granted.

We offer professional our own Presenter Coaching here at VirtualStudio.TV. If you would like more advice or tips on presentation skills please do contact us today.

You may also like these posts and pages:

- 10 Tips to Become a Better Presenter
- How to Cure Your Fear of Public Speaking - 10 Easy Steps
How to Improve Public Speaking Skills & Confidence - 10 Tips
How to Stand Still When Nervous or Anxious - Public Speaking Tips Video
13 Public Speaking Tips for Delivering a Great Business Presentation
How to Improve Your Presentation Skills - 10 Tips for the Most Important Skills
Top 10 Presenting and Public Speaking Tips - How Can We Help You?
- The Presentation Training page of our website

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Sean Malone
Sean@virtualstudio.tv