43 Reasons for Not Giving a Presentation at Work

We recently asked people who hate presenting what excuses they have used to avoid giving a presentation at work.  The list below is a just a sample of their responses.

My favourite is the last one!

Have you avoided presenting at work before?  What excuse did you use?  And have you ever regretted avoiding not giving presentations at work?

Here’s their list of excuses:-

  1. A straight “dont want to, thank you”. Give it to someone who enjoys doing them!
  2. Agenda too full. Will table for next meeting.
  3. Always find a way around it. I always claim to be very busy with other things.
  4. Always sit back in the group and wait for someone else to present
  5. Asked someone else to stand in for me, or write down what I am going to talk about and then just read it to the audience.
  6. Bad throat, give others the opportunity, tell the other person that he’s the best at this.
  7. By being busy.
  8. Don’t have time or expertise.
  9. Excusing myself out of the venue.
  10. Feeling ill, got to leave to attend an emergency, lost my voice
  11. Feeling unwell or have been unable to prepare
  12. Generally provide opportunities to other colleagues.
  13. Hay fever/sore throat.
  14. I am not a good presenter.
  15. I am not competent for the subject
  16. I am not qualified enough.
  17. I am quite busy
  18. I can say that I have an appointment.
  19. I can’t make it today, not prepared.
  20. I can’t do it
  21. I can’t remember what i’m going to say. which is fact, not an excuse.
  22. I do not know enough about it. You would be better to deliver this.
  23. I don’t apply for jobs that might require it. Only once have I actually refused – I said it was not in my job description.
  24. I don’t feel confident enough to do this presentation there are other people in the team that are better at delivering the presentation.
  25. I have another appointment
  26. I have other commitments for the same time of presentation have no time to prepare.
  27. I have some important official work and could not attend the presentations.
  28. I have to say that I will be going some where else.
  29. I pretend to be busy with my job
  30. I take a holiday
  31. I will do it next time and I am not the right person give it to somebody who has a lot of experience
  32. I’m no good
  33. I’m too busy
  34. I’ve got other work on
  35. If presentations to customers: not knowledgeable enough, not prepared, not available
  36. I’m ill
  37. I’m not ready or I haven’t got enough material to present
  38. It would be better given by someone else.
  39. Lack of time to prepare, lack of knowledge on subject
  40. Leaving the chance to others
  41. Maybe someone else can do it better…
  42. Take annual leave or have other priorities at work.
  43. The cat scratched my face and cut corner of my mouth and it hurts when I speak!

If you’ve got a better reason for avoiding presenting leave a message below.

Alternatively, have a look at some the the articles on this site – they might just give you the inspiration you need to take the plunge and present, next time you are asked.

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8 Responses to “43 Reasons for Not Giving a Presentation at Work”



  • Samer Chidiac:

    Funny… But worth Tweeting about..

    SC



  • @KatieStroudPro:

    I see a pattern here: Give it to someone else; Tell someone else that they’d be better at it; Not ready (didn’t prepare); Not qualified; Too busy.

    What about the fact that it might waste other people’s time? Would an email suffice? A document? Not being qualified is a valid exuse when other people’s time could be potentially wasted, but it’s also a great opportunity to improve your credentials if you deliver a useful presentation. You can do this by finding out what the audience needs to get out of the presentation and design accordingly. A seeminly obvious approach, but often forgotten, and yet it saves a lot of time and frustration–for you and the audience.

    Thanks for the post. I was surprised to not see the technological difficulty excuses like: the projector doesn’t play nice with my laptop, or the projector isn’t available (for all of us PowerPoint reliant presentors).



  • @kikipigeon:

    I was asked to present at our quarterly company meeting a couple of months ago.

    I flatly refused as it was the day after a big music festival, I think my exact words to the director were “I’m at a festival for five days drinking stella, I won’t be able to speak on Tuesday, let alone present” followed by “I’m not doing it”.

    But he did only give me three days notice, so let me off, however I’m now doing it tomorrow!

    the good news is it’s all pictures, bad news – i will be talking. a lot.



  • Kirk:

    Maybe we should of asked people that THESE people had previously presented to “Why don’t you want so and so to present?” :~)



  • hi:

    funny
    i use some of those toooooo



  • Daniel:

    great post, thanks for sharing



  • MARCOS_ID30:

    Is important to know if your boss will to be gift, if will attend or participate, or if the results expected of your presentation will be checked for it, to that you can make and have the results expected not only in objective focus of lecture, but also in your promotion to the position expected.
    If there is one or more people competing for the same position as you, and if your boss responsible for your promotion no be present, no would an good option, your competitors could copy your strengths and apply in another time in his favor at the moment in that your boss be present, and you no have the expected result for your promotion to the post.



  • fj:

    one more person loved this

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