Trust a comedian to learn how to engage your audience








There is a reason that Second City in Chicago offers seminars for executives to become better communicators.  Comedians are experts at engaging an audience. Communicating effectively is a critical skill that is undervalued – until it is lacking.

A colleague shared a video from comedian Don McMillan about what NOT to do in a PowerPoint presentation, Life after Death by PowerPoint”.  I’ve seen so many of these that I normally wouldn’t have clicked, but this one held my attention.

My own firm, INXPO, just released an eBook and video series highlighting best practices for online communications.  I wish we would have lifted a few ideas from Don.  Having said that, our content is more than PowerPoint skills.  It’s tailored for the online presenter who wants to improve his/her webcasting presentations and covers many different topics.  I think you’ll find these two items complement each other well and can help you be a better presenter yourself.

A few of the worst offenses for bad presentations are below, some with comedic videos.  Enjoy.  Have you experienced any?  Or been guilty yourself?

Ramble and repeat – often. At a cybersecurity demonstration, a speaker lost his audience’s attention with rambling, repetitive remarks.  I feel sorry for that guy just watching.

Push a lot of hard-to-read slides. Slides created as internal reports do not make good presentations.  We must remember our audience and the purpose for slides.  If you missed Dan’s video above, check again.

Use clichés, jargon, and acronyms.  That your audience may not understand.   

Fake (or inappropriate?) enthusiasm and energy. Politicians are easy targets for critics. One of the strangest political speeches surely is this clip of a man declaring his candidacy for county treasurer.

Ignore aesthetics like lighting, camera angle, sound. Webcams are easy and increasingly being used to use to create video presentations and communications.  A little effort can go a long way to improve quality.

To learn more about how businesses can communicate better to improve their performance, follow me on LinkedIn and check out my other posts. Thanks!