6 Presentation Mistakes To Avoid

You’ve seen hundreds of presentations. Me too. I’ve seen good ones, great ones and a lot of bad ones. I wish it were different. There are times when I sit  in the audience, and think, “didn’t this person have any training or any practice before this presentation?” Maybe the answer is yes, but sometimes it’s hard to tell. We’d all like to see and give  better presentations.   If you want to get better, make a list of what works and what doesn’t for you and others. Here are 6 Mistakes  to avoid.  Make it your goal to stop making them when you give your next presentation.

1. Eyes On The screen.  Hey, there’s an audience out there.  Your eyes should be on them. You don’t have to stare, but make a connection with the people there. images-10

2. Reading From The Slides.  Uh-uh.  No, no, no! Don’t read from the slides.   Talk from your notes.    Don’t read  a prepared script either. The audience can look at the slides,  not hearing you read what’s there.

3Focusing on the Presentation.  You might think this is what you’re supposed to do. It’s true, but it’s even more important to focus on the audience. Be ready to change the presentation to fit the audience.  Be flexible. Focus on reaching the audience, not getting the information out.

4. Using Complete Sentences on Slides.  You don’t need sentences– phrases are enough. Short phrases in fact.  The slides are for the audience, not for you.  You augment what is on the slides with what you say. Oops-Freedigitalphotos.net-digitalart

5. Standing In Front of The Projector  or The Screen.    Obviously when you are blocking the screen, people can’t see very much. It’s not as easy as it seems, unless you get some hand signals from the audience. If you are using a monitor you can figure out the best place to stand.

6. Asking Friends and Colleagues for Feedback.  I know feedback helps people get better at what they do. But something different happens when it comes to presentations. Don’t expect your colleagues to give you honest feedback. More likely they will be gentle with you so you will be gentle with them when they present.   Make these mistakes at your own peril.  Stop making them and people will come up to you and say, “great presentation”, and they’ll mean it.


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  1. Jason Kendy says:

    I received training a few times from David Wagner, and have used several of his pointers to good effect every time since. One tip I really like is to begin with a succinct description of what you are about to present—“Today I’d like to speak to you about x, x, and x, and then conclude with x.” It lets the audience know where you are heading, and it helps me as the presenter focus my (and their) mind. I also will often specifically say about how long I intend to be and whether I’d like questions at the end or during my talk.