You may think that making mistakes is a rookie move, but you’d be surprised how many seasoned presenters make them as well. Whether you are giving a lecture, conducting a business meeting or performing a sales presentation, avoiding these seven common mistakes is paramount.
Audiences are not very forgiving, especially when it comes to long presentations. People want to know that they are getting a good return on their investment of time and/or money. The idea of value for value is inherent in everything we do. As the person presenting the information to them, keep that little nugget in the forefront of your mind.
What do many seasoned presenters have? Overconfidence is often their undoing. You’ve presented a hundred times. What makes this one different? Each presentation is different because each audience is different. Forget that fact, and you could lose your audience before you’ve even gained them. There is always something that you can learn to make your presentations better. Right now, that education involves avoiding mistakes you may not have considered before or thought you had mastered.
Seven Common Mistakes When Making a Presentation
1. Lack of focus – What is the point of your talk? Why is everyone in the audience today? If you promised them a discussion on making money using Pinterest, don’t spend 30 minutes talking about Facebook. Give the people what they want and only that.
2. Leaving the audience in the cold – It’s the same thing with gift giving. When you get someone what you would want, the receiver is often disappointed. Meet the needs of the audience or they will become disinterested. You might want to discuss some aspects of Facebook, but that is not what they want to hear.
3. Reading to your audience – You’d be surprised how many seasoned presenters do this very thing. The audience can read (if they can’t, you’ve got bigger problems), so don’t waste your breath reading each slide to them. It’s annoying.
4. Speaking off the cuff – This is actually code for I didn’t prepare for my talk. Unscripted speaking can cause you to ramble and repeat yourself. You also fidget more.
5. Equipment failure – Some things are beyond our control during a presentation. On the other hand, simple things like making sure that your computer is compatible with the system you will use is basic and essential to the entire talk. This can be avoided by checking the system days before the presentation.
6. Speaking too long – Just because you are someone who has spoken before and are well-known doesn’t mean that your audience will sit still for a 60-minute presentation. It’s better to keep the presentation to a minimum and open the floor for a lively discussion.
7. The Cardboard Cut-Out syndrome – This occurs when you seem to be glued to one spot at the podium as if your limbs don’t move. Body language and intonation when speaking and moving about are all a part of exuding charisma when you speak. There is a fine line between too much and too little, but doing nothing just looks scary.
How do you know you are making a mistake? You get a negative response. So, try to avoid as many as possible from the beginning.