This is a sequel to my earlier article "How to Glue Your Audience" and a spoofy take at that. Reader discretion is advised :)
How many times have you sat in a conference or a meeting and gauged a speaker in less than a minute? How many times have you switched off and decided that a visit to the washroom or checking your messages would be a better use of your time rather than listening to this boring speaker in front of you?
And have you ever been that speaker whose audience is either looking down at their phones or are staring at you with a vacant disengaged expression that makes you question your own right to be taking center-stage?
I suppose we have all been on either side.
Here's what you must do if you want to bore your audience to sleep.
Start your talk as if you are under severe pressure of time to run through your hastily put-together content. Use busy slides with lots of data/ excel sheets/ graphs or infographics and keep clicking every 10 seconds to boggle the audience's mind.
Remember to fix your eyes somewhere 5 feet above the eye level of the audience and never ever make eye contact with anyone in your audience. If, by mistake, you do happen to catch someone's eyes, fix your gaze there and forget everyone else in the room.
Use a static sing song voice with a predictable up and down wavy pattern. The audience who are already feeling a little comfortable in their chairs will be gently lulled into closing their eyes.
Make your talk totally clinical or impersonal, as if you were recording a documentary or reading news in the 1980s. The idea is to give lots of information in a totally dull voice that it establishes you as an expert but stays away from trying to make it relevant to the audience.
Make sure that your face is devoid of any smile and there isn't a slightest hint of warmth on it. The more you look as if you are here to do a job and get on with life, the quicker you will achieve the desired outcome. You are a busy person and being pleasant is certainly a waste of time.
And finally if all else fails, you can always pull out the master of all tricks. Talk, talk and talk and then, talk some more. Leave your audience guessing on the point of your vague and unstructured talk as you ramble all over the place. It doesn't matter if you were given 10 minutes to present and you took 20 instead, putting everyone else behind schedule. What matters is showing utter lack of concern or respect for the people in the room. That is sure to get people to switch off.
Hope you got the chance to reflect on behaviors that make audiences feel thoroughly bored. If you are looking for tips on how to inspire an audience, you can definitely read my other article titled "How to Glue Your Audience". And if you want hands-on practice in engaging an audience and gather specific video-based feedback, register for the upcoming Powerful Presentations workshop that is happening on 26th & 27th April in Gurgaon.