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DELETE Distractions in Your Presentation. . .

0Increase the Odds Your Audience GETS IT!

DELETE Distractions

Let’s start with two facts relevant to presentations:

1. The Goal of all Communication: Verbal, Written, or Visual is the same. We want the recipient(s), as quickly as possible to – GET IT!

They may not agree with everything we say.

  1. They may not agree with anything.

  2. However, unless they GET IT! there cannot be a meaningful conversation going forward.

2. We cannot Multitask well!

The research shows multitasking is not as efficient as focusing and working on a single task.

When your audience is distracted from concentrating on your message, the interruption takes their focus away from you, the presenter, and increases the probability they will not GET IT!

DELETING Distractions increases the odds your presentation will be understood.

Let’s look at some possible distractions to a presentation and what can be done to DELETE them:



  1. Non-verbal communication trumps verbal communication. If individuals in the audience can’t see you, they’re less likely to GET IT!

  2. Check angles of site from several seats. If a post or other obstruction blocks a clear view of where you’ll be presenting, DELETE those chairs.

Room Temperature

  1. If the audience sweats or shivers during your talk, they’re less likely to GET IT!

  2. Check this and adjust as needed.

  3. Better a bit cooler than too warm to keep the audience from dosing!

External Noise

  1. Meetings in adjoining rooms, street noise, a hallway, and a busy kitchen can distract the audience and interfere with your delivery. You may not be able to do anything to change the situation except increase the volume of your speech by adjusting the microphone amplifier. Find out how to do this before speaking.


  1. We’re drawn toward light. If there’s not a spotlight on you, the speaker, the lights above you should be brighter than the “house lights.” Attendees’ attention is more likely to stay on you.

  2. Lighting from external windows, kitchen and hallway doors, and even the screens of cell phones and tablets can divert our attention.

  1. DELETE those sources of brightness as best you can. Closing drapes or blinds and asking people to turn off their mobile devices is a start.

Audio Visual Equipment

  1. Your projector, remote control, speaker system, microphone, and mics for audience questions are important to your presentation. DELETE possible problems by testing everything in advance of taking the stage.

  1. Have backup batteries of the correct size for devices using them.



  1. Think Steve Jobs: black turtleneck sweater, jeans, and sneakers. You may not want to dress that casually, unless, of course, you also have Steve Jobs charisma!

  2. However, the concept of what you wear while you speak, not getting more attention than what you are saying, is important.

  3. DELETE: Loud Sport Coats, Ties, and Bling.

  4. Remember Aretha Franklin’s hat from President Obama’s 2009 inauguration? If not, google it!

  5. DELETE your Name Tag when speaking. It is clutter and a distraction.

Body Language

  1. DELETE Distractions from your Gestures, Facial Expressions, and Body Movements.

  2. Jingling change in your pockets, fig leaf, parade rest, and superman positions have the audience looking at what you’re doing and not listening to what you’re saying.



  1. “Bullet Points Kill – Kill the Bullet Points!”

  2. Bullet Points do not reinforce a message.

  3. Bullet Points

  4. Confuse the audience.

  5. Complicate the message.

  6. Conflict with the presenter.

  7. DELETE Text as much as possible.

  8. Use high quality, universally understood images instead of text in your slides.

  9. You, the speaker, provide the ‘text’ with your spoken words.

  10. DELETE Clutter in your Slide Template. It should be simple, very simple. (I use a plain white background.)

  11. DELETE Contact Information and Logos from slides. They are Clutter, and a distraction to your message.

  12. You could have that information on every slide, but if your presentation stinks, no one will contact you.

  13. If it’s not on all slides, and you’re great, they will seek you out!

  14. DELETE a Slide (Make the screen go Blank) and the eyes of the audience will go from looking at the screen to you, where they should be looking.

  15. Remember, non-verbal communication trumps verbal communication. They won’t see your facial expressions, gestures, and other body language if looking at the slide show.

  16. The ‘B’ button on your keyboard will do this for PowerPoint and Keynote.

  17. DELETE the distraction of walking to your keyboard to do this and advance slides by having a remote control for these functions.


  1. DELETE Buzzwords, Techno-Speak and Acronyms from your presentation.

  2. You don’t impress people by speaking language they don’t understand. No one wants to feel stupid and you’ll lose them.

  3. Simple language works best and clarity is essential to the audience GETTING IT!

  4. DELETE Filler Words!

  5. Uh, err, so, like, you know. . .

  6. Those ‘fillers’ distract from your presentation!

  7. Many people don’t even know they do this when speaking. This is why recording yourself via audio and/or video, or getting others to critique your presentation is important.

  8. DELETE Clichés!

  9. The dictionary defines cliche as: “a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.” Ouch!

  10. Examples:

  11. “The view from 30,000 feet.”

  12. “Hit the Reset Button.”

  13. “In his wheelhouse.”

  14. “Think outside the box.”

  15. “Hit the ground running.”

  16. “Thrown under the bus.”

  17. “Hit the ‘Pause Button.’”

DELETING the items mentioned in this article will focus the audience’s attention on your message and increase the odds they GET IT!

DELETE distractions from your presentations and I Guarantee your next presentation will be absolutely, positively – NO SWEAT!


About the Author Fred E. Miller is a speaker, a coach, and the author of the book, “No Sweat Public Speaking!”

Businesses, Individuals, and Organizations hire him because they want to improve their Networking, Public Speaking, and Presentation Skills.

They do this because they know:

Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

They also know: We perceive really great speakers to be Experts. Perception is reality, and we like to work with Experts.

He shows them how to: Develop, Practice, and Deliver ‘Knock Your Socks Off Presentations!’ with – NO SWEAT!


  1. Keynote Speaker

  2. Workshop Facilitator

  3. Breakout Sessions

  4. Public Speaking and Presentation Coaching


  1. Lessening The Fear of Public Speaking with – NO SWEAT!

  2. Crafting Your Elevator Speech, Floor by Floor with – NO SWEAT!

  3. Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

  4. We are All Self-Employed!

Photo Credit: Mixy

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