Presentation Skills

9 Stupid Things that Presenters do on Stage while their Presentations – Presentation Skills

We all have gone through the situation where we wonder “Will this ever end?”

The thing that is missing in most presenters is conveying the subject matter. A few points came in my mind when I sketched this article. I thought that the better approach is to make a list of stupid things that presenters do. And to get through professional speakers (all of them are pro and have scored more than 1,000 presentations) who get this delight of seeing these disasters every week?

Lets now Enter the list of stupid things which speakers stage, that I have compiled.

But hold your fire!

I know what you might be thinking right now (in fact it’s #8). You are thinking ‘Ah look at the hotshots shooting off regarding other presenters’ (and it’s #9)’. My purpose is not to give us a better look (and it’s #2), yet to provide wise feedback from my well-traveled fellow members’ (and that’s #4) such that this possibly would make you chuckle a little. Though this may modify your progress on stage a few steps away from these hazards.

The following is the list of Stupid things that presenters do stage: 

1 – Overselling

Presence on a stage is an entitlement. It is a duty to be there for which you are being paid. The fastest tactic to off-ramp a crowd is to create your moment in the limelight all about you.

As an expert speaker Connie Podesta, says, “When you are present on stage, you get paid more per minute than most people do per hour, per day or even per week. That is the time of your audience, not yours. You can call out at most, ‘Hey folks. I have got some great things coming after,’ and jump back to the presentation for which they paid and are deserving.”

Here’s what should not be done:

Christopher Penn states, “I’m here to attend an event presently, and this presenter has given a 20-minute presentation on sales which has vacated the whole room.” 

“I have been seeing so many promoters getting on stage for five minutes as a section of their deal. They devote those five minutes for publicity. They perhaps feel that they are authorized, but that does not contribute in making the audience more approachable.” says, Rob Cottingham

2 – Make it all about you

Your presence on the stage, leading an audience, naturally makes you distinctive. Then as Neen James puts it, “ Emphasizing on yourself. Making all of it for yourself.” You can create a bigger gap. Your role is to bridge this gap, this will make you more relatable and help to increase the trust of your audience in you. It’s better to use “I” less than “you”.

I also ask new presenters to be careful while using many stories related to hotels, taxis, and airports. As that is not the way of living of most people and it would make more distance between you and your audience.

As Carrie Owensby Wilkerson suggests, “Don’t Re-introduce yourself ‘As a speaker said, I am Fred Author and…” 


Don’t make your audience look like idiots. They might already have listened to other speakers, looked at videos of TED talk, and read some books. When you tell a worn-out story, similar to the Story of Ziglar-era Starfish you are confirming their most horrible nightmare: you aren’t giving them respect.

Even worse is put forth the stories which are purely not true.

“I have irritation with the ‘tracks in the sand story”. said, Nick Morgan

“Whenever I listen to the “goldfish have a broader range of attention” statistic I just spit up a little in my mouth.” said, Neen James


When you put the final touch to your speech it is perhaps appealing to decorate it a little bit with devised truth. In the early days, by chance, it came out of your mouth – “Fit employees are confirmed to be more constructive” one day turn into “Fit employees are confirmed to be 3 times more constructive compared to a not so fit employee” (actually that’s true, but you get my point.)

Here’s what you should NOT do:

“Adding any statistics on the significance of body language in your speech would just simply be 90% incorrect! endure from a professional.” As Mark Bowden says. 

“Including any dull or blank statements such as: ‘Science says…’, ‘Studies say…’, ‘Research has revealed…’ lacking a particular reference mention or in the slides.” suggests Scott Berkun

“Playing an aerial video of a wealthy and luxurious Chinese metropolitan area and then saying ‘China will become the world’s next economic superpower.’ And then leave it at that without any further detail, clarification or vision.” said by Mark Bowden

In case, you are speculating, 98% of all stats are fabricated.


Nobody would miss what is not there in your speech. Therefore, when you mess up, unable to remember something, or don’t have the time that you would like – stay silent about it!

Nobody wants to be informed and nobody SHOULD know.

Here’s what should not be done:

“They tell me that they only have an hour and, that they would teach me so much more if they only had the whole day… Or days…” said Andrew Davis

“There’s an excuse or rationalization anytime. ‘I normally talk for 60 min but today I only have 30 min’ or ‘Usually, I would do this but for some reason, I can not’ or fake places, such as: ‘I was in a shop the other day.’ said Judson Laipply

And the champion of making excuses…

“Commenting ‘I would have liked to go into the details, but you could stopover at booth Y and I’ll let you know more’.” Christopher Penn


I can write an entire article just related to bad PowerPoint. Speakers should keep this in mind that their slides should never be a distraction rather they should be adding to the importance you are bringing. 

Here’s what you should not do:

“Saying ‘I know you are not able to read this yet….’ – makes me insane.” says Neen James (Nick Morgan exclaims this “being in opposition with your slides,”).

“Leave a slide up much later after the relevant part of the presentation.” says Rob Cottingham

“Read your slides or looking at them for long with an admiration. (Embarrassed! Did you do that today, captured it on camera, so humiliated. I was just excited that the slides are working I guess! I am regretful).” Jason Hewlett

“Almost everybody delivering data slides does not make a clear point. Figures are not just some funny letters. They need some swirling.” says Tom Webster

And the big champion of terrible slides…

“To point the remote towards the Projector as the slides move forward.” Tamsen Snyder Webster


When I am speaking on stage I am getting paid more per minute than what most people get in a whole day. Above everything, my client has trusted me and they want outcomes. In each minute what I speak, must produce an effect. It is so if you are a leadership specialist there to assist us to collaborate better or a performer trying to make our day and reminding us that everything is possible.

“Say ‘Am I right or am I right?’.” John Michael Morgan

“When the presenter completed the point of a slide and says ‘OKAY?’ as the speaker turns back and speak what’s on the next slide. This takes the audience to the other word that is “AGAIN”. As, the speaker has by chance already written the next point on the preceding slide – so the audience thinks in their mind ‘AGAIN’.” Robert Rose

“Mentioning the little technical fault that nobody from the audience has noted. Making an apology for a tiny twitch of theirs that nobody from the crowd has observed. Get snippy with the tech experts when a glitch arises. When a glitch occurs you don’t have a backup plan is not a good thing to do.” Rob Cottingham

And the Verbal Vomit champ is…

“Talking without any point, just keep rambling or collecting some random stats, and making verbal diarrhea on stage.” Christopher Penn


Since the designing of a microphone, the tactic of call and response has been used by the presenters. Though it had been unsuccessful since then. Interacting with the audience is always a good idea. In general, about every 10-15 minutes, I get my audience involved in something. You get challenged when your audience feels that they are being manipulated or put down, “Like the people in the audience are a bunch of idiots.” Marc A. Pitman

Here’s what should never be done:

 “My all-time favorite nuisance is the presenter who asks the audience to reply at him/her and then shouts, ‘I can not hear you clearly!’ to make them shout it again and even louder.” Nick Morgan

“Failure to set your audience up. It drives me crazy when a presenter questions like, ‘What’s the biggest reason for the failure of businesses?’ As the people in the audience raise their hands and replies, the presenter constantly states, ‘NO. Who else?’ As if there was only one answer to this question!” Ian Altman

“Once I went to whiskey tasting with a guy who used to have big shots of whiskey. The first two questions were very tricky. ‘You’re all mistaken’ he’d say, after the whole audience get agreed on a single point. Afterward, nobody dared to respond to his questions in one way or the other. It was tricky.” Matthew Kimberley

And the Call ’n response champion is…

“Telling your audience to repeat something loudly, or echo some nonsense words or line whereas striking their fist in the air in unanimity.” Bob Gray


However, you have not got a long list even now, in this last collection, we have got some casual things presenters do on stage, ranging from going overtime, being rude to inappropriate humor.

Here’s what NOT to do:

“Mispronouncing a dealer’s name (crushing it badly, twice) leading to three of their members to walk out of the room. #whoops” Clay Hebert

“Taping on the microphone two-three times… ‘Can everybody hear me?’” Mark Bowden

“Leave the practice of overlooking your off-stage persona. Presenters are “on stage” the moment they go into the event area. How do they deal with the crew, the staff, and the AV team? How can you get the correct position, lighting, and provide handouts? Do they need some special water? Give me a break. Bottom line: Your real character is displayed through an off-stage way more than on-stage. Be a pleasure to be working with—not a pain.” Connie Podesta

“Sexist and inappropriate jokes should be avoided. Incorrect disclosure of certain things is not appropriate (like what their team lead did the previous night at the success party). Honestly speaking, If I hear my husband and I getting presented as “the claim sorcerer and his little lady” once more I would knock out his/her teeth.” Lynette Young

“Presenters who do not make available their slides, or a summary of the slides (say, which refer to the things he/she said during the talk) – in particular, if they have included much more data than anyone could grasp and so they remember much less.” Mark Bowden

And the champ of showmanships is going overtime. Certainly, your event organizer may encourage you to “take all time you want” – don’t do this!. Not only you are contending with 200 full bladders, but you also are eating up valuable time from the speaker coming next.

Surely, you have got 10 more minutes of fame, but as a presenter, writer, and marketing professional, Ron Tite says it’s just “unethical.”

Hence, there you got it – what not to do when present on stage.


I am a presentation design artist and had pleasure to work with DHL, PPH, Freelancer and Upwork for almost a decade.

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