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Presentation Don’ts: Bad Presentation Habits

Most blogs would provide tips on how to successfully engage your audience through public speaking and visual aids, effectively garnering more investors and potential customers.

Surely, you’ve seen and conducted numerous presentations, but as stated on a previous blog post, spectators will always remember the bad ones. Oftentimes, even more so than the core of the discussion itself.

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Do you think there’s room for improvement in the way you conduct a presentation? Then, here are things you shouldn’t do during a sales pitch:

Starting with an apology

You’re late, missing a few of your discussion materials, your equipment malfunctions—these are just some of the things that can go wrong before you start your presentation. The usual reaction of speakers is to apologize in advance for how these mishaps may affect the presentation.

An apology sets a negative tone, which distracts your audience from what really matters—your presentation. Skip the minute-long explanation as to what the cause of the delay is and instead, handle it discreetly, take a deep breath, and start on a good note—begin how you usually would. This shows how you handle yourself under pressure.

Reading your slides/handouts

Eye contact and actively engaging with the audience is vital in making presentations effective. If your eyes are glued to either your slides or handouts, you won’t have a chance to interact with your listeners.

Glancing at your PowerPoint or notes is acceptable, but you must remember that knowing your material like the back of your hand is more favorable than relying on handouts because then, you’d be able to answer questions on top of your head.

Winging it

Stream of consciousness sometimes works on paper, but when you’re presenting in front of an audience, it isn’t recommended. If anything, this only makes you appear disorganized to your audience.

The more you stay off-topic, the less time you’ll have to focus on your presentation.

While winging it works for some, it’s better not to risk it and stick to what actually works: practicing. Instead of rambling on and on, which has the tendency to steer you away from your main point, practicing and internalizing your presentation helps you deliver information in a more concise and accurate manner.

Cluttering slides

Your slides should only contain the key points of your topic. When you present a wall of text, you’re wasting the usefulness of the tool. Remember: your slides are supposed to provide visual support to your claims.

If you don’t know which parts to retain, consulting with PowerPoint experts is the best way to go.

Forgetting to proofread the content of the presentation

Another problem is realizing that you have typos in your presentation when you’re already in front of your audience.

Once they notice these mistakes, you’re going to come across as unprepared or you’ve done your PowerPoint in a rush—both situations will not help you gain the customers you need.

Mistakes, when done repeatedly, become habits, and these are difficult to break when you’ve become accustomed to it. It’s better to take note of these tips before conducting another presentation so you can improve and be more effective.

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References:

Morgan, Nick. “Should You Prepare Your Speech or Should You Wing It?” Forbes. October 25, 2016. www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorgan/2016/10/25/should-you-prepare-or-should-you-wing-it-the-perennial-public-speaking-question/#538f61b5c4fe

Spacey, Andrew. “How James Joyce Developed His Stream of Consciousness Novels. Owlcation. June 14, 2017. owlcation.com/humanities/Edouard-Dujardin-James-Joyce-and-Stream-of-Consciousness-Writing

Stachowiak, Dave. “Don’t Start Your Presentation Like This.” Coaching for Leaders. n.d. coachingforleaders.com/dont-start-like-this/

Historical Alternatives: Remembering Life Before PowerPoint

PowerPoint has been around since the 90s. It may sound like recent history to us, but not many people can imagine life without PowerPoint anymore.

The program has dominated everything presentation-related in its short life—from sales pitches to classroom speeches. However, there has been a time when PowerPoint wasn’t around. What did people use before the iconic presentation program, and what can we learn from these historical PowerPoint alternatives?

Find out here:

Oratory Prowess

Before any form of visual aid, great speeches were delivered with good old-fashioned oration. It was either you memorized your speech or you went with an outline you could share impromptu. The downside to this was that people didn’t have the visual cue of a presentation like what PowerPoint does. They either missed some points, hoping it was nothing major, or stumbled through their own thoughts.

Some of the most powerful speeches of all time were simply oratory prowess. These speakers commanded attention by appealing to people’s emotions and letting them see things from their perspective.

Adapt one of these methods in your own pitch to develop your public speaking and persuasive skills. You may be backed up with a winning deck, but that doesn’t mean you should slack on your actual spiel.

Storytelling

In relation to emotional appeal, life before PowerPoint meant keeping your audience’s interest without an occasional powerful image to fix their gaze. How did presenters attract their listeners before visual presentation became a big thing?

Captivating performances were related through the power of a good narrative. These were common experiences that everybody could relate to—stories of their ancestors and their own lives that others may have also gone through before. It was through these stories that people connected to each other and expanded their connections.

Similarly, tap into storytelling by crafting your pitch around a narrative. Don’t just give your data straight to your audience. Be creative and add a human side to your presentation.

Develop a concrete beginning, middle, and end everyone can relate to.

Personal Network

Speakers who weren’t particularly persuasive counted on their personal networks to draw attention to themselves, even outside the stage. They made use of influential people during their time to endorse them.

This still happens today when businesses pitch to influencers who can give them a positive review through word of mouth among their followers. Take your pitch beyond the stage and make use of other avenues to deliver your core message to a larger audience.

Technological advancement makes it possible to reach out to people all over the world without necessarily having to move from where you are. Utilize digital media and different online social platforms to expand your circle. Bring your pitch online since it’s become easier to upload your deck to the Web for everyone to see.

Presenting live is the ideal, but if you want to penetrate your target market at once, consider options outside your actual presentation.

People were already pitching long before PowerPoint. Learn some things from these historical alternatives.

Use emotional appeal the way people used the raw power of their oration to charm large groups of people. Tell a story everybody wants to hear and captivate them with your pitch. Take your presentation outside the slide and into personal networks that will grow and expand.

When you’ve got your public speaking skills down to a T, contact a presentation expert for the perfect deck to match.

Featured Image: “IMG_3235.jpg” by Michael on flickr.com
https://www.flickr.com/photos/helloturkeytoe/4762288052/