January 19, 2009

Are you "sleep-presenting?"

From an AMBIEN ad in a magazine in my doctor's office:

"After taking AMBIEN, you may get up out of bed while not being fully awake and do an activity that you do not know you are doing. The next morning, you may not remember that you did anything during the night. Reported activities include:

Driving a car (sleep-driving)
Making and eating food
Talking on the phone
Having sex

Makes you want to take this drug, huh?

However, you don't have to pop a pill to be a "sleep-presenter." Here are some signs you're sleep-walking through your presentation:

1. You drone on about your topic, paying no attention to the shifting, shuffling, yawning boredom of the audience.

2. You keep your eyes glued to the screen as you robotically advance your PowerPoint slides, reading each one verbatim.

3. You give a one-sided lecture, failing to involve the audience by asking questions or encouraging interaction.

4. You rhythmically rock back and forth behind the lectern, head down, reading from your notes.

5. You give the exact same talk to every group, regardless of their needs, interests or background.

What other examples of "sleep-presenting" have you seen?

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5 comments. Please add yours! :

Tim Gonzo Gordon said...

I'm pretty sure I haven't sleep-walked through a presentation, but I can see how it might happen, if you're so focused on getting your information out that you might not pay attention to the audience. And if you pay close attention to your audience and how they're receiving your material you'll probably be in good shape.

Of course some members of your audience may be quite interested but are coming off a long night with little sleep, etc., so it's not always easy to judge their interest by a yawn...they may just need more coffee. Or a little INTACTIVITY to keep them involved.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

If a couple of people are yawning or nodding off, I don't take it personally. If half the room is yawning, I consider it my fault and make changes accordingly. :-)

Dr. Jim Anderson said...

Lisa: you left off the most important one - if when you're done presenting you can't remember what you said!

- Dr. Jim Anderson
The Accidental Communicator Blog
"Learn How To Calm Your Fears, Wow Your Audience, And Get Your Point Across"

Lucy said...

Sleep-presenting; what a great term for something so dreadful! I see this happen quite often in upper management presentations., This is where employers assign speakers to give presentations regardless of presenter skills- they only focus on product knowledgeable individuals. I've had to go in and help rectify numerous cases of 'sleep-presenters'. Thanks for this great post.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Dr. Jim, that's a good criteria to look for!

Ms. Lucy, I've seen those droning presentations too. Snooze!

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