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Soporific Speaker Stereotypes
By Kailash Awati

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.

Original article can be found at here.

Kailash Awati currently manages IT development at a multinational in Australia. Over the last several years, he has managed IT projects at companies ranging from startups to established firms. He has also worked as a business and technology consultant for companies in Europe and the US.

On the technical side, he is a seasoned database architect and administrator with wide experience in designing, implementing and administering databases for transactional and analytical applications.

Earlier, in what seems to him like another life, he did research in fluid dynamics and other areas of physics.

For what it’s worth, he holds doctoral degrees in physics and chemical engineering together with assorted certifications in project management and database administration. An admittedly strange mix, which he sometimes finds hard to explain.

He blogs at eight to late, where he writes about project management and other (at times distantly) related topics. Oh, and he also maintains a web presence at where he publishes longer articles on his professional interests and the occasional cryptic crossword.

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