How to avoid TPB (Terminal Presentation Boredom)


I have first-hand experience of terminal presentation boredom and so do you. Within a few minutes of the start, you know you are in for a LONG morning: as Presenter X launches out on yet another fascinating exposition.  Featuring his 60 fulsomely-populated slides delivered in less than 30 minutes with all the skill and enthusiasm that have alienated audiences the business world over.

People buy people. So no matter how expert your professionals are, audiences will not see this expertise if they cannot communicate properly: and they will not buy what you say or have to offer them. And presentations are THE most public exposure, designed to test (and sometimes break) the nerves of your hardiest souls. Here are three tips that will help banish boredom from your next presentation.

Start with a BANG!  “Hello, my name is Jane Jones from SPP. We are a hypothetical firm. I am responsible for…etc.”  Terminal boredom begins, as Dylan Thomas said, at the beginning – with someone droning on like this. Research shows that an audience remembers two things more than anything else. The beginning and the end. So give them something to remember! Tell a relevant story. Evoke a hypothetical situation (“Imagine that you are…”). Appeal to a common memory.   Go for the DIFFERENT in DIFFERENTIATION.

Us or them?  Having got going, the next thing that we can be assailed with is talk about some people’s favourite subject: them and theirs. The fact that SPP was formed in 1926 when old Mr S had a Damascene experience on his way to the butchers, or that you have offices in thunderous numbers of locations may fleetingly impress graduate candidates or inductees.   But it is the kiss of death for clients, prospects, and anyone else out of their business short pants. Better to focus on your audience, relate to them directly, their experiences, their situation (use the words, ‘you’, yours’). Do your homework to find out what will enable you to do this.

A few points, well made   And finally, the person from SPP throws the proverbial kitchen sink at us. Armed with those 60 slides, massed ranks of facts are marched, jackbooted, towards and over the audience, grinding them into bored submission.

The rule of thumb is that a good presentation should contain no more than FIVE key points, delivered succinctly and with gusto and enthusiasm (as audience members, we relate to someone who is excited about what they are saying and what they do). Any more detail can be summarised and/or provided in notes and other back-up afterwards.

James Newberry is a coach and trainer who helps professionals present better and do more business.  Have a look at to know more.

Can you talk the REAL talk?


The core of any good business relationship is being able to talk to others.  REALLY talk to them.  Not just about transactional stuff, or about the weather, fashion or football.  But about the business, organisational or personal things that matter to them.  Because if we can engage at this level, we find out so much more about what they might need.  Unfortunately, some are either oblivious to this level of operation, or think that they do it already so don’t need to bother.  For both, here are three things that will assist in preparing the ground for a productive interaction.

Lead, structure, collaborate  Good discussions don’t usually happen by accident.  Nor passively can we expect clients or contacts to make the running (“If she wants to talk about that sort of thing, she will”).  It is up to us to initiate and sell the need for it e.g. for a ‘review of how things are going with you’.  Once done, we need to take further initiative by proposing what needs to be discussed and get their buy-in to this by sending an agenda for input.

Canvass – inside and out   So if allowed, do some people tip up to the meeting totally unprepared?  You bet they do!  After all, this isn’t paid work is it?  It’s far less important.  Except that if they mess up, the consequences could be, ahem, interesting for future work streams.  All it takes is a quick search for the latest on what has been going on in their world, and a few calls or emails to relevant colleagues to get their views on current issues.

Bring an IDEA   What can differentiate one organisation and individual from another?  In practice, very little.  One thing that people say consistently that they are looking for is advisers (or perhaps colleagues too?) who are proactive and give them insight.  So from the work done by canvassing, find an idea to bring to the party that will be of value to them.

James Newberry is a coach and trainer who helps professionals and other specialists exert more influence….and enjoy it!  Have a look at to know more.