Patronising your audience

patronising your audienceThe scientific literature is clear regarding the many proven behavioural flaws in the nature of a standard “powerpoint” delivery. My “Presentations Skills” presentation has expanded to cover more of the evidence behind what many understand implicitly. Something I fail to understand however is that an audience will let a speaker simply parrot their slides out verbatim and treat them like children.

The false economy of the slideument providing slide set and document as one has been covered previously. Treating your audience as a group of five year olds by reading, word by painful word, the entire contents of your deck is patronising in the extreme. Yet strangely, the culture of presentations has come to accept this as almost acceptable. Most audiences flinch at the “Read with Mother” use of a laser pointer but the flying in of bulletpoints somehow sneaks under that same barrier.

Your audience are adults. They can read. If you want them to read, send them a document. If you want them to listen, then speak and remove all distractions. If you need a script, then you haven’t practised hard enough. Remember they are not checking your script. Putting a script on your slides will only detract from your delivery and force the audience to read, although they will be faster than you. Treat your audience with respect, speak to them and don’t read it like “Listen with Mother.” You will have much greater engagement and the audience will value you for that. Don’t patronise your audience.

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