Presentation Mistakes Leaders MakeDecember, 27 2012
We’ve all sat through presentations where the speaker relies on their PowerPoint slides and bores the audience by reading verbatim the text on those slides. Even the best presentation can be destroyed by a bad presenter.
While leaders know how important a presentation is, there are still some common mistakes they make which can turn a great presentation into one that won’t provide the results they desire.
Disconnection with the Audience
When you just state the facts, you might lose your audience. “No presentation should be devoid of emotion, no matter how cerebral the topic or the audience,” says Duarte.
Add emotional elements to your presentation and other analytical content. Open with a story your audience can relate to or include analogies that make your data more meaningful.
Don’t Read From Slides
PowerPoint is a great tool, but you need to know what you want to accomplish with it. Don’t just read your slides; your audience can read them from their seats. Use slides to reinforce your message and outline your data points.
Don’t Use Complicated Graphics
If you want your presentation to stand out, Duarte suggests you brainstorm visual concepts and throw away the first ones that come to mind.
She says, “They’re the ones that occur to everyone else too. That’s why you’ve seen them a million times in other people’s presentations.”
Include simple graphics that highlight the important data points, use a single color background, and use large, simple fonts.
Don’t Speak in Jargon
Have you listened to a presentation filled with business buzzwords or industry jargon? It’s not a great presentation to listen to and you might assume the speaker is pompous or talking in tongues.
“Each field has its own lexicon that’s familiar to experts but foreign to everyone else,” says Kuarte.
She suggests speakers use words which resonate with the audience.
Don’t Go Over Your Allotted Time
Presentations that are too long often offer more information than the audience wants to know. A great presentation goes by quickly, a bad one seems like it will never end. Duarte says people won’t scold you if you end your presentation early but they will if it ends late.
Keep this in mind: People have a presentation tolerance of 30 to 40 minutes. If you go over that, they will get bored and won’t pay attention.
Whether you present to a client, give a keynote speech, or network with prospects, your audience is what matters the most. Some business presentations are boring and out of touch so keep your audience engaged and interested in the topic, and you’ll have a successful presentation.
Have you ever made any embarrassing mistakes in a presentation? What tips would you have when it’s time to step up and tell your story?
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