The next letter in our Alphabet Soup of Public Speaking Blunders is:

E: Egregious Engagement.

Many business presenters will try to memorize every word of their 12-minute presentation and yet fail to actively engage their audience. Whaa?!

Talk about limiting your effectiveness – and lowering your credibility.

Here are two of the biggest culprits:

The PowerPoint Ninja: Imagine a speaker armed with the deadliest weapon of the corporate world: a PowerPoint presentation. With their back to the audience, this ninja doesn’t just show slides. No, they perform visual gymnastics: lightning-fast transitions and dizzying animations, they can turn a simple bullet point into a full-blown circus act. And don’t get us started on bullet points! [See favorite quote below.]

The Shameless Sycophant: A few months ago, we helped a group of people prepare for their quarterly presentations. What we did not realize is that this company’s culture included the art of buttering up their CEO to the point of absurdity. They showered him with extravagant compliments. At certain points, we were sitting there with our mouths open and purposely avoiding eye contact.

While the sycophant’s intentions may be to win favor and establish rapport, their over-the-top flattery can come across as insincere and manipulative. The audience finds themselves questioning the presenter’s true motives, and, worst of all, their BS meter goes into the red zone and they actively root against the presenter.

Remember, dear readers, you don’t have to unleash a confetti cannon to keep the attention of your audience. Stay in the moment, read the room, have a good laugh, and remember that sometimes, simplicity and authenticity can be the most engaging acts of all.

Happy presenting, and may your engagement always be delightful and never egregious!

Want to work on your engagement skills?

Join us for CLOUT: Communication Skills for Go-Getters in Boston on Oct 13.