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 presentation isn’t too complicated or technical for your audience.


DESIGN: Survey results indicated 85% agreed they would disconnect if…The presenter does not have examples that the audience can relate to.

My coaching suggestion: For every main idea (what’s taught) there must be supporting information or examples (what’s caught). When the main idea is presented and the presenter follows it with phrases like; for example, when you say, “Let me show you”, “Here are statistics to prove this.” the audience will perk up and pay attention. This brings life to your presentation. Otherwise, it becomes nothing but a data dump! Using the Audience Analysis Audit (AAA) found in my book will also keep you on track as to what examples to use based on your research of your audience. To read more about Audience Analysis Audit, click here for the link to blog post #2 of this series.


DESIGN: Survey results indicated 91% agreed they would disconnect if…Visual aids are hard to read.

My coaching suggestion:  As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. When possible, use a visual image on your slide instead of words to get your point across. In the event that only words must be used on your visual aid, like PowerPoint, consider my six-pack rule. No more than six words per line and no more than six lines per slide. Make sure your font size will be readable from the back of the room.


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