It can be hard to hold a room these days. Between the Twitterstream and the BackChannel, and our relentless need to surf as we learn, keeping your audience alert and engaged requires skill, smarts, and a great presentation.

While not every speaker can be a rock star, there’s no excuse for not doing your homework. Yet, time and time again, speakers screw up the basics.

Here’s my list of the seven deadly sins of a bad speaker:

  • He mumbles, fumbles, and stumbles out of the gate.
  • He reads his PowerPoint, which is all text anyway.
  • He makes sweeping pronouncements, but offers no data to back them up.
  • He’s giving the same speech, with the same examples, at the third conference in a row.
  • He doesn’t bother to change the date on his handouts.
  • He forgets (or does he really?) to leave time for questions.
  • He name drops, and name drops some more.

Have I left anything out? What speaker sins have you seen?

[Note: This post originally appeared on IABC’s¬†Communications World blog.]

Photo by Mauren Veras (Flickr).