Effective Speaker - Does HR Professional fail?

One of the delegate during a recent seminar said, “For most part, I felt I have wasted my money, however, some presentations at the end really gave me the tips in a very logical and consistent manner which I can apply in practical day to day situations"

I have attended various seminars and also been speakers at various occasions. However, I find that majority of the speakers are not able to attract and hold the attention of the audience they are addressing to. When I put my thinking cap, I feel that one of the key reasons is that they are not able to bring themselves to the level of people they are interacting with. Most of the times they speak from a higher platform which participants are not able to connect with. I have also witnessed situations wherein some of the faculty is invited as speakers from educational institutions and campuses focus too much on the theoretical aspects and tend to miss out on the dynamics of real and practical world hence are not able to hold attention of delegates!

In most of the seminars until and unless specified, we get an audience with an average experience of 5-7 years. Most of the speakers talk from the pedestal of minimum of 15-20 years and this is where the disconnect is. I may be incorrect, however, this is what I have observed and I would recommend to all the people who want to be effective speakers and create niche for themselves, take cognizance of it and deliver accordingly while taking into account following aspects -
  • Plan and do spend time in preparing a presentation keeping in view the audience
  • Ensure strong linkage and relevance to Agenda
  • Be passionate and convincing about what you are presenting
  • Use practical, daily life and easy to understand examples
  • Avoid putting too much of text on slides
  • Use visual aids like videos, pictures, cartoons, animations, etc.
  • Apropriately support your content with relevant stories and actual happenings
  • Talk to audience and try to keep them engaged through interactions, questions, role plays, case studies, etc. rather than just walking them through your presentation.
I believe as a presenter or speaker, we need to ensure that we take cognizance of sub conscious of the people attending such conference / seminar rather than just being at our conscious best.

HR as a profession requires outstanding interfacing skills and being an effective communicator, speaker and presenter are essential ingredients of it. Since our profession revolves around people dealing and management, obviously we need to be quite effective in any kind of communication we make. Generally, the HR leaders tend to overlook this aspect when it comes to developing effective communication skills of their teams and fellow professionals. This needs to become an unconscious competence for professionals from HR fraternity. While some of us may be great public speaker, however, many of us may need to brush up to ensure that we leave lasting impressions!


  1. What about Handling a very Sensitive Crucial Topic when HR is in crossroads .How should the HR Professional handle it ?

  2. Hi Raj,

    I second your opinion here; even I have the similar feeling for these seminars as the basic console is missing in most of these programs. The speaker or presenters mostly accentuate on their individual topics rather than understanding the audience expectations. The objective of these programs should be to create a platform for all the HR professionals where brainstorming should be possible to churn highly innovative ideas and also where people can participate comfortably and interact with the speakers on the subject. These seminars/summits should not be purposed for money minting indeed it should allow the budding HR professionals to share their ideas with the experts, you never know they might bring a revolutionary change in the existing HR practices , after all these young brains are always blooming with new ideas. I have come across many budding HR's those are always keen to share their thoughts but unfortunately our experts do not wish to understand their ideas and prefer only to follow the conventional practices :-( those are into existence from ages. Presentation of course matters a lot and your tips are indeed a great help for all of us. Lecture based sessions are no more in demand, you have to create a two way communication which is still missing in most of these programs, we are still unable to design such programs those are value for money, we have a lot which can be done through these programs, but people hardly get to talk, the only thing which we get to hear are lectures/speeches from the experts, no doubt they are great, knowledgeable people and they can contribute a lot to others through these programs. I remember an HR summit where question round was going on after the lecture and one gentleman started sharing his experience and wanted to know the reason for the problem, but to my surprise he was told by the experts that we are only here for the Q & A, your experience session can still wait :-( as they were running short of time. How unfortunate it is.......one one hand we wish to know the problems and when people do come up with such queries our experts do not have time to answer them indeed they wish to finish off with the assigned sessions or lectures by different faculties but do you think it is of any use if people do not find them worth even......as the whole idea is to communication and resolve common HR or other issues those are existing in the corporate world. I humbly request all our HR experts to share their knowledge more appropriately and they should connect more closely with the audience through pictorial presentations, skit, live examples and also should ask for live problems from audience and ensure that their knowledge should reach to more and more people more effectively.

  3. Hi Samavi,

    Thanks for sharing your views. I appreciate clarity of your thoughts and the way you have articulated them.