Eight to Late

Sensemaking and Analytics for Organizations

Soporific speaker stereotypes

with 8 comments

Some weeks ago I sat through yet another presentation that had me drifting into dreamland within minutes.  To stay awake,  I started to put together a list of stereotypical soporific speakers,  much in the spirit  of a couple of my earlier posts on project mismanagers and meeting time wasters.  It was, I confess, the best time I’ve had at a bad presentation in a long time. Without further ado, here’s my list:

Pete Powerpoint: Peter’s presentations are a vehicle to showcase his undeniable virtuosity at Powerpoint.  The content? Who cares. The slides are absolutely brilliant.

Freda Funny-font: Freda loves visual aids. Her problem is that she uses unreadable fonts.

Marty Mumbler: Martin has something useful to say, I’m sure. The only problem is I can’t figure out what it is. His presentations invariably consist of an inaudible issuance of intonations that even those in the front row cannot interpret.

Greta Garbled: Greta has mastered the art of the unfocused presentation.  She manages to cram a lot of diverse  – but not necessarily relevant – material into her talks. It’s quite a challenge to figure out what she’s going on about.

Barry Backside: Barry’s presentations can actually be quite good – if only I could get to see them. His problem is that he refuses to face his audience while speaking, often unwittingly covering his slides, or the whiteboard or whatever visual aid he’s using.

Umberto Unprepared: Umberto likes to wing it, but unfortunately ends up crashing every time. He never prepares for his presentations, and it invariably shows right from his starting stutter to his final fumble.

Oscar Overtime (Thomas Too-much): Oscar is in some ways the extreme opposite of Umberto – he prepares way more material than he has time to deliver. Consequently he ends up going over his allotted time. He’s mastered the art of ignoring frantic signals from meeting moderators and cues from annoyed audiences. He’s prepared all that wonderful material and he’s going to deliver it (all), come what may.

Mike Microphone-Muddler: You’ll hear about half of Mike’s presentation. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict which parts of his talk you’ll hear because he keeps drifting in and out of microphone range at random.

No doubt, there are many others I’ve missed in this short list of soporific speakers. I welcome further contributions to the list through your comments.

Written by K

December 31, 2007 at 10:54 am

Posted in Communication

8 Responses

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  1. Hi, Great post. As a presentation skills coach I am right with you all the way. We need a campaign to wake up people to the power of a great presentation. Everyone can do better! I’ll post this on my own blog if I may. http://www.inter-activ.co.uk/blog



    January 1, 2008 at 10:53 pm

  2. Gavin, Thanks for your comments. No problem with posting the piece on your blog.



    January 2, 2008 at 12:10 pm

  3. […] Funny list of bad types of public speakers. I make a living as a public speaker, so this was a good read. […]


  4. What about Robby Reader – he not only goes to the trouble of preparing slides crammed full of information, he also saves you the effort of reading them. How? By reading them to you, of course.


    Kevin Lloyd

    January 12, 2008 at 8:40 am

  5. Thanks Kevin. I missed Robby – must have slept through his presentation…



    January 12, 2008 at 11:07 am

  6. […] like this list of characters created to exemplify different kinds of speakers you want to avoid being – but the best part, to me, is it was created to pass the time while surviving a bad […]


  7. I think the best I have ever seen is Robby Overtime. Robby reads all the slide and only the slide, and on top of that the subject drift out of sight of the initial agenda, but afterall who cares ? everybody is sleeping anyway 😉



    May 8, 2008 at 11:51 am

  8. […] 6, 2008 It’s been a while since my last post on stereotypes, so I’m well overdue for another. This time I take aim at a much misunderstood mob – project […]


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