It is a proven fact that people like to feel good about themselves. They usually do this by surrounding themselves with people who are obviously inferior to them. This is why you will always see an awkward, lesser attractive girl hanging out with a gaggle of pretty girls. Since the pretty girls threaten each other, they need the awkward girl to bolster their self-esteems.
With this in mind, you can help your audience feel superior, thereby making them fall in love with you, if you DON’T sound like an authority figure during your next presentation. Here are 7 public speaking habits that will make you look and sound like an idiot instead.
Give a Generic Presentation
One of the absolute best ways to sound idiotic to your audience is to give them a generic presentation that has not been tailored to address their specific concerns, needs or interests. As soon as an audience hears an “off-the-shelf” presentation, they become instantly annoyed and frustrated, which is exactly where you want them.
To ensure a generic presentation, be sure to do NONE of the following:
- Ask yourself who your audience is
- Determine what their questions are and how much they know about your topic
- Contemplate how your message can help them
- Deliver that message in language they can easily digest
Avoid Eye Contact
You risk coming across as sincere, interested, secure, and thoughtful if you make eye contact with your audience members. In order to come across as idiotic your best bet is to dart your eyes around the room and stare off into space somewhere just over your listeners’ heads.
It should be stressed that effective eye communication is the most important nonverbal skill and what makes good presenters great, so avoid it at all costs.
Distract Your Audience with Weird Tics and Mannerisms
When your goal is to get your audience to believe you’re an idiot, there is almost no better way than to distract them from your message with the use of weird tics and mannerisms. Consider doing one – or all if you really want to appear like a numskull – of the following:
- Pace back and forth
- Keep your hands in your pockets
- While in there – jungle your keys or coins
- Fidget with your clothes
- Keep licking your lips like L.L. Cool J
- Wring your hands
- Flick your hair a lot
- Grip the lectern tightly
- Cough loud and often
This move alone will ensure your place in the idiot hall of fame.
Just Wing It
The best presenters out there prepare before they show up. They know their topic inside and out, organize their thoughts and content, design a slide deck, study their notes, and practice their presentation out loud.
You DO NOT want to do this.
You want to be like the whopping 98% of over 5,000 business presenters in Fortune 100 companies who admitted in a survey conducted by Well Said Inc. that they don’t practice their presentations aloud.
Remember: when you get up there and just wing it – your audience views your presentation as unrefined and flawed, and that’s awesome.
Forego Inspiration for Data Dumping
Many presenters make the mistake of using emotion and imagination to inspire their audience. They fall into the trap of telling engaging stories that hook their audience and they end up coming off as great. This is not what we’re aiming for. At all.
Listen to your inner idiot who is screaming for you to dump a bunch of data on your audience. Hit them with charts and graphs, industry lingo and a bunch of facts and figures that you have craftily crammed into a PowerPoint presentation. This will leave them lost and confused and hating your guts.
Rush Through Your Content
Here’s what you want to do: channel the movie “Speed” and be the bus. You want to be a speeding bus that never stops or even slightly pauses so your audience can digest what you are saying. Taking thoughtful pauses is something effective presenters do, not idiots.
Remember, your goal is to have your audience think less of you so they can think more of themselves – you are doing them a favor by rushing through your content and causing them anxiety and confusion.
Great speakers end strong – but idiots end abruptly. To ensure you end abruptly, simply allow your presentation to putter out then suddenly ask the audience if they have any questions, then only answer a couple before simply walking off the stage. This will make it incredibly hard for anyone to remember you or your presentation in a positive light.
Though the above tips can help you look and sound like the world’s biggest idiot, by NOT following them, you are sure to come across as an authority figure and keep your audience engaged, inspired, and entertained the entire time.