A survey on public speaking was conducted by Brownlee & Associates that involved over 3,000 respondents with positions from President, Managing Director, Senior Directors, Employees in Sales, Marketing, R&D, Quality Control, I.T, Doctors, Scientists, and Lawyers. 

The objective was to identify the main causes as to why audience members disconnect and stop paying attention during presentations. 

During a series of weekly blogs, I will highlight a few of the specific areas of disconnect surveyed and offer practical coaching suggestions to help you keep your audience connected. Many of the suggestions provided will come from my book Loud and Clear: How to Prepare and Deliver Effective Business and Technical Presentations.

The results have been divided into two sections; The design of the presentation and the delivery of the presentation. 

The higher the percentage the more the survey participants felt they would disconnect. Percentages ranged from 72%-99%.

The results of this survey make it clear that when the audience is bothered by areas in the design of the presentation that were done or not done or certain delivery behaviors of the presenter exhibited during the presentation were not executed well, the result will be a disconnection between the audience and the presenter and their presentation which will affect the quality of the communication, the degree of impact and memorability of the activity as well as the achievement of the objectives of the presenter.

Topic covered in the previous post: How to make sure your audience has a guide to what to expect from your presentation.


DELIVERY: Survey results indicated 74% agreed they would disconnect if…The presenter speaks in a monotone voice for the whole presentation.

My coaching suggestion: We have all at one time or another heard a speaker who presented interesting material and who used good presentation techniques but put us to sleep with an unpleasant or monotone voice.


Speaking in a monotone voice is a real communication killer. When the variety of your voice’s pitch doesn’t vary, it’s difficult for the listener to maintain any interest in what you’re saying, resulting in a disconnect! If you normally don’t have an expressive voice, here are a few techniques I use when coaching my clients.


Describe the best business deal you ever made or have ever heard of-how it happened, why it happened, what you or someone else did that was right, and how you felt about it.


Recall the best vacation you ever had. Assume you’re a travel agent and are talking to prospective clients about a getaway. You have to convince them that they should go where you went, see what you saw, feel what you felt. And understand why you highly recommend this vacation mecca.


Another technique is to begin reading stories out loud that have a lot of dialogue in them. This is one of my favorite techniques and always brings a smile and sometimes a good laugh from my clients. 


Read a children’s story like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I have my client read each bear, the mamma bear, papa bear, and baby bear in three distinctly different voices matching the bear’s size. This will help you explore your vocal qualities and range. If you want to test out how you’re doing, invite a young child to listen to you. If they’re listening with excitement, you’re doing great! If after a few minutes they tell you they want to do something else, keep working at it!


For more information on this and other topics on effective public speaking, please contact me via email or through my website:

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