Add your boring subjects in the comments below. 
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If you have a really boring subject to present, one great way to make it interesting is by letting your audience do all of the work.

While this might sound like I have stolen a page from Timothy Ferriss's playbook, it is actually a very effective means of crafting a killer presentation. Rather than giving your audience all of your content, ask them questions and let their answers form the basis of your presentation. Your job is to arrange the material so it meets your selfish goals as a communicator.

Let me tell you how this might work.

I'm creating a presentation on financial concepts. I have created a number of courses in a similar vein, including a really fun 8 hour one I deliver to Winery employees, via The WISE Academy in Napa.

But I wanted to try a new angle for this one. I am going to have attendees list the costs of creating a product and then rearrange the items identified so that they end up on the correct financial statement. So the first pass will take every expenditure identified and subtract it from revenues to produce a totally incorrect estimation of net income. I will then explain concepts like matching and revenue recognition and move the items around until eventually I end up with a closer approximation of GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principle) income. And while I'm at it, I will have something called a balance sheet.I'll move some items from the Income Statement to the Balance Sheet. When I'm finished, it will be really clear how different the two financial statements are. I might provide some supporting handouts, but won't use a single slide in the course of my presentation.

Questions are a great way to form a connection with another person. They can be used to show your interest and to gather data that you can use to build a conversation. But they can also be irritating. If you have ever had a conversation with an aggressive questioner, you know how off-putting it can be. When you are hit with a rapid fire series of questions with no meaningful dialogue in between, you  eventually start to get defensive.

To form a valid conversation, you need to have shared information passing between people. The problem with overactive questionners is their use of questions as a shield to deflect the focus so that they never share any personal information. That makes it impossible to establish rapport.

Good conversation involves a fine balance of giving and taking. If either side gets out of whack, a relationship can be damaged.


This is weird. Sometimes if you are too polished it becomes boring. I'm not really sure why this is the case. It might be that rather than being polished, the presenter came off as canned. Or maybe the word is trite. In comedy they call it "hack."  I saw such a presenter today and it just didn't seem authentic. The jokes fell flat and the audience didn't seem responsive. But maybe I was just being crabby because I had to get up early to go to this presentation.

Lesson for you - don't be the first presenter in a 7 am session.  Unless you provide espresso and tons of sugary food items, your attendees might be crabby at that hour and may not be able to pay attention to your presentation. Or might judge your content to be boring.


There is an endless stream of boring topics courtesy of the AICPA. They are talking to members who understand their terminology so it's not wrong for them. But please, oh please, Mr. or Ms. CPA, do not take the material they provide to you and deliver it directly to your clients.

Please take the time to translate concepts like these :

"Fair value accounting considerations including measurements of fair value in illiquid markets and auditing those fair value measurements" 

"Other than temporary impairment issues" (wouldn't they just be "permanent"? and what is the opposite of "impairment" - is there a "pairment"?)

And try defining a "material weakness" to a client. And you're telling me that I have a weakness somewhere in my internal controls - but it's immaterial? That sounds serious to me. 

We have some pretty funny language that we use as auditors in our profession. Just remember that your clients won't value what they can't understand.


No matter what the subject, if you approach it with enthusiasm, your audience is likely to be interested too. Energy spreads, and the lack of it can kill a presentation. I find that a responsive audience feeds my energy and can make me better as the presentation progresses.

That's part of the trouble with webinars. You don't have access to as much audience feedback. You are staring into a blank screen when you present online. It's up to us as presenters to find a way to keep the energy going - whether you are in front of a live audience or presenting to a muted crowd on the web.

Humor is one of the things I use to keep my energy going - I entertain myself. So even if I can't tell if anyone is listening or responding, I still get more energy by adding humor.


Never, I repeat, never agree to present anything using any web tool without first practicing your delivery and testing the tool's capabilities.

Granted, I have used Webex hundreds of times. But apparently the folks who asked me to present today had experienced problems with their solution before and there was a conflict with PowerPoint 2007.  So you need to test your particular slide configuration with their particular Webex configuration, phone lines etc. Don't ever assume it will work.

I can only offer my heartfelt apologies to the poor attendees who had to suffer through the missing visuals that were the key to my entire presentation today. And the worst part is, they did get to see the first two slides, one with the title and my name and the second with my bio, website link and photo. No way those people are going to forget the lousy presenter they saw today.  

That's how we learn, and no matter how smart and professional you think you are or how many books you have written and blogs you have authored, there is absolutely no substitute for good preparation, planning and practice.

Shame on me.