Sitting through a bad presentation is as exciting as watching a documentary about sloths moving in slow motion.
So unless your intention is to put your audience to sleep, you may want to check if you are guilty of these presentation mistakes:
Lack of Preparation
There’s more to committing this mistake than making you look like a bumbling professor. When your audience notices that you are ill-prepared, it’s likely that they will put your credibility into question. This is important as people are keen on listening to what a speaker has to say if they know he is credible.
Besides, you owe it to your audience to research your topic and organize your materials. It’s the professional thing to do since they took the time to listen to you. Whether it will take five minutes or five hours, communication trainer Bill Rosenthal suggests that you prepare for your presentation thoroughly. Being prepared will help not only in holding your audience’s attention but also in answering questions that may come after.
There are a number of ways for presentation slides to fail in engaging audience attention. The most common ones are the use of boring visuals and too much text. Visuals can help enhance your presentation so make the most of them. Just make sure that they support your points.
Use images that look eye-catching but not too off-putting that they detract from your message. If you need to use tables or graphs, simplify them by including only the essential elements. Problems also arise when the slides are too wordy. This usually happens when the speaker crams all his points into the slide deck so he won’t forget anything.
You may want to remember that your slides are not your cue cards or teleprompter. Try to keep everything simple. Don’t fill up your slides with too much information, most of which are probably in your handouts anyway. Take some time to look at your slides and determine the unimportant details to remove.
Failure to Connect with the Audience
Strictly sticking to your talking points is a sure way to bore your audience to death. To get your message across, you should know how to connect with them and break the ice. This means you need to be a bit spontaneous. Liven up your presentation by sprinkling it with short anecdotes, pop culture references, or funny quotes.
Try to limit your use of humor, though. What you consider funny may be viewed as offensive by another person. To get an idea on what will work on your audience, consider their age, gender, professional background and other relevant details. Know the ranks or positions of the people who are going to attend. You should also be aware of any cultural expectations or religious conventions that apply to your audience.
In short, plan your presentation from your audience’s perspective. Often, the best way to excel in something is not to remember what to do, but to be aware of what not to do. So let these three mistakes serve as a reminder whenever you are putting together a presentation.
“100 Pop-Culture Things That Make You a Millennial.” Vulture. September 24, 2013. Accessed April 21, 2014.
Rosenthal, Bill. “The Only Way To Prepare To Give A Presentation.” Forbes. June 19, 2013. Accessed April 21, 2014.
“Presentation Tips: 5 Easy Ways to Establish Your Credibility.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2014. Accessed April 21, 2014.