Seven Reasons I Hated Your Speech

Written by Brad Phillips @MrMediaTraining on October 27, 2011 – 6:25 am

It’s hard to believe how much I hated your speech.

I hated your introduction. I hated the middle of your presentation. I hated your so-called conclusion. I hated the way you delivered your talk. And don’t even get me started on your PowerPoint slides.

As hard as it is to reduce all of the reasons I hated your speech down to just seven, I‘m going to try.

Here are seven reasons I hated your speech:

1. Your Introduction Failed to Interest Me: You opened your speech without doing anything to get me interested in your topic. You didn’t tell me what you were going to talk about. You didn’t tell me why the topic was relevant to my life. You could have started by sharing an interesting story or a surprising statistic. You didn’t. I quickly sensed it was going to be a looong day.

2. One Thought Ran Into The Next: You didn’t tell me where one thought ended and another began. You didn’t remember that speakers are supposed to provide clear transitions for their audiences – the verbal equivalent of chapter ends and chapter beginnings. You never said anything such as, “Now that we’ve talked about X, let’s talk about how that impacts Y.” And as a result, I couldn’t figure out where you were and where you were leading me.

3. You Loaded The Speech With Technical Detail: C’mon, now. Did you really need to dive that far down into the weeds? It’s a speech, not a scientific paper. I knew I was in trouble when I noticed your barely visible footnotes at the bottom of each slide. Why didn’t you just highlight your most important points, tell me why they’re relevant, and add some memorable supporting material?

4. Your Delivery Was Sleep-Inducing: You had less energy than the geriatrics at the local senior home. A lot less. If you express so little passion about your topic, why should I care? Next time, try speaking about 15 percent louder. Trust me. You’ll feel like you’re yelling, but it won’t come across that way to the audience.

5. You Didn’t Tell Me What You Wanted: I somehow made it through your speech without nodding off. You even managed to make me care – just a tiny bit – about your topic. But then you ended the speech by limply muttering, “That’s all I have. Thank you.” But what should I do next? Visit a website? Sign a petition? Call my state senator? Subscribe to a newsletter? If you don’t tell me what you want, you’re going to make it tough for me to help you achieve your goals.

6. You Read From Your PowerPoint: If you were going to put everything on your slides, why did you even bother showing up? I wish you had just emailed me your PowerPoint presentation so I could have reviewed it at my convenience instead of rolling out of bed at 6:00 a.m. to make your talk on time (which, by the way, was scheduled for a ridiculously early hour). Next time you give a talk, remember that the PowerPoint is supposed to visually reinforce your most important points – not serve as your own crib notes. (Oh, and here are five other PowerPoint mistakes you made).

7. You Didn’t Manage the Question and Answer Period: By the time you gave your 12th five-minute answer to an audience question, I had to bolt for the bathroom. Your speech had already gone close to two hours by that point, and the little issue of the four cups of coffee I consumed to make it through your speech finally had to be addressed. I took advantage of my bathroom break. Since I had escaped your den of boredom, I decided to leave before you finished.

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  • About Mr. Media Training

    The Mr. Media Training Blog offers daily tips to help readers become better media spokespersons and public speakers. It also examines how well (or poorly) public figures are communicating through the media.

    Brad Phillips is the Founder and Managing Editor of the Mr. Media Training Blog. He is the president of Phillips Media Relations, a media and presentation training firm with offices in NYC and DC.

    Brad Phillips

    Before founding Phillips Media Relations in 2004, Brad worked as a journalist with ABC's Nightline with Ted Koppel and CNN's Reliable Sources and The Capital Gang.

    Brad tweets at @MrMediaTraining.

    Christina Mozaffari is the Senior Writer for the Mr. Media Training Blog. She is the Washington, D.C. vice president for Phillips Media Relations.

    Brad Phillips

    Before joining Phillips Media Relations in 2011, Christina worked as a journalist with NBC News, where she produced stories for MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, NBC Nightly News, and The Today Show.

    Christina tweets at @PMRChristina.

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