Find Your Voice

Ten Tips to Send Your Audience to Sleep

Picture this, the auditorium is full, the doors are closed, and the lights are turned down. 
The audience is on the edge of their seats in anticipation waiting for your presentation.

You’re introduced and you start to speak. And then within 2-3 minutes, you start to notice the audience swaying on their seats, heads nodding and resting on either their left or right shoulders. Hands rubbing their eyes till they become bloodshot.

Have you ever found yourself in this situation where your neck muscles won’t support your head, your eyelids become heavier and heavier, your eye’s bloodshot and you find yourself fighting that temptation of dropping off to sleep? They say forty winks or a power nap can be a beneficial thing to energise you for the rest of the day. But surely there are better places to grab a nap.

Speaker’s if you wish to avoid sending your audience to slumberland then pay heed and don’t get caught in the same position as the scenario above. AND definitely don’t follow these ten tips?

  1. Make sure your content is dry and boring. Ensuring that your material is ether complex, technical and lacks clarity. If at all possible fill your presentation with acronyms, scientific terms or specialized academic content that is not easily understood without prior knowledge, study and research.
  2. Don’t include any explanation or PowerPoint slides to make the content understandable to the audience.
  3. Schedule your presentation after a big meal or long day and watch the drowsiness and lethargy settle onto the audience.
  4. Speak so softly so you can’t be clearly heard and avoid any gestures or vocal variety that may spark any emotions from the audience.
  5. Stand frozen and attached to the lectern for your entire presentation.
  6. Avoid any variation in your speaking style. Don’t show any interaction with your audience and especially don’t use any visual aids or props that will attract attention.
  7. DO NOT include any humour or metaphors, especially stories in your presentation that might illustrate the idea’s that you wish to communicate to the listeners.
  8. Don’t keep to the topic of your speech but do spend a lot of time rambling off-topic about your personal experiences, which are totally monotonous.
  9. Speak about a topic that your audience knows well and you aren’t challenging them intellectually nor solving a pain point with no call for action.
  10. Provide highly detailed handouts so that the audience will not miss out on any important information during their power nap and bouts of boredom. Make sure that you do not say anything that is not included in the handout. For best results just read the handout and PowerPoint slide’s word for word.

With a bit of skill and by following carefully the ten tips outlined above you too can have the satisfaction of seeing an entire audience snoring quietly and happily throughout your entire presentation.

If you wish to be that speaker, that you’ve always wanted to be and your audience sitting on the edge of their seats wanting more then don’t follow these tips.

Scott Johnston

Building Bridges to Your Success

Public Speaker Coach, Educator and Speaker



React, Adapt and Communicate