Here are just 5 presentation mistakes that you can avoid.
Presentations can be tough. There’s pressure to remember content. And presenting to a room (or screen) full of people can be nerve-wracking enough without the worry of easy to avoid presentation mistakes.
The more prepared you are, the more successful your presentation will be.
So read through these 5 presentation mistakes you should avoid:
1. Don’t try to cram in too much information
It’s crazy to create a 40 minute presentation if your timeslot is only 30 minutes (or indeed less). Trust us, you won’t need to “fill” time. Simply find out in advance how long you have: then create and practice your presentation to check everything fits in – without rushing. Allow time for questions too, so for a 40 minute slot, you want your presentation to be 30 mins max. Should the whole event finish earlier? Very few people will mind!
2. Don’t read text directly from the screen
Everyone can read. They are there to listen to you. So don’t confuse the two. If you fill your slides with text that you read out-loud then your audience will get bored and won’t listen closely. They’re already skim reading the text and while doing so they can’t listen at the same time. (Follow simple brain science about cognitive load.)
Instead stick to just the main headlines as text, and use a visual where appropriate to support that message. You can have other content, labels, diagrams etc. but stick to single words or ultra short phrases there.
If you have researched your subject and practiced your presentation you should be able to talk your audience through the rest of the info without text prompts or indeed using bullet points as a script.
3. Don’t pace up and down
Pacing can be a sign of nervousness and you don’t want to show your audience that you’re nervous. (Actually, it’s fine that they know, but it’s not fine that your body language becomes distracting.) So, yes, moving around is fine, but do it purposefully and not because you don’t know what to do with yourself! Presenting virtually? Get a good position in front of your camera and stay in the frame.
4. Don’t talk too fast
Nerves can also cause you to talk too fast, this may make it difficult to follow the presentation. Take a deep breath before you start and remember to pause between slides. Audience’s need time to digest your words so a pause isn’t a problem, let them happen without fear! Remember. Breathe. Add pauses. Let your words have time and space to be digested.
5. Don’t forget to prepare for questions
You might think you have covered everything in your presentation but there are bound to be some questions from the audience. Be prepared for questions by fully researching your subject as well as your audience to find out their level of knowledge on the topic.
Presentation mistakes will decrease as your experience increases, but never become so relaxed that you get complacent. Keep learning how to improve delivery, engagement and connection.
Nothing beats PowerPoint as the best presentation app. However there are add-ins and alternatives to be aware of. Indeed, more and more people are abandoning their laptops and using tablets to present. If you use a tablet in your presentations there are all sorts of presentation apps available, both Apple and Android, to make your life easier.
Here are 10 presentation apps we think are worth downloading…
1. PowerPoint, FREE
If you’re a PowerPoint fan but like the flexibility of using a tablet then you can install the app to open, create and present PowerPoint files as easily as if you were using your laptop. Link to install PowerPoint from Google Play.
2. Keynote, FREE
Keynote was built especially for iPad and iPhone, and is a great alternative to PowerPoint if you’re not a Windows user.
3. Scribd, (was slideshare) FREE
This is a really useful site and app for sharing and viewing presentations online. Ideal for finding inspiration or sharing ideas with colleagues.
4. Haiku Deck, FREE
If you have no design skills Haiku Deck is an easy way to create presentations using stock photography, filters and fonts. You can also share your work on social media, and view on any device.
5. Prezi, FREE
This app allows you to you create, edit, present and watch prezis directly from your iPad.
6. Glisser, FREE
If you want an interactive audience experience then this platform is definitely worth using. Enabling real-time polls, digital Q&A, social sharing, likes and slide downloads for the ultimate engagement experience whilst also collecting valuable interaction data. Glisser.com
7. Slido, Mentimeter, polleverywhere
For more interactive poll and voting features in real-time there are several more apps. Slido is one of the most popular. Check them all out!
8. Slide Shark, FREE
Upload your PowerPoint presentations from your iPad or laptop to an online account and then use this app to show your presentation on your tablet or phone, and broadcast on the web.
9. Canva, FREE
If you want to create graphics to import into your presentations this app is a really easy way to design professional looking visuals using the photos, fonts and graphics provided. Downside? The Canva “look” starts to be quite commonplace.
10. Corkulous, FREE
This is an idea board type tool. Great for planning a presentation as it lets you pin ideas and to-do lists, and brainstorm when you’re on the go.
Do you have any other must-have apps on your tablet or smartphone? Let us know!
It’s commont to worry whether or not you’re going to remember your presentation material. Indeed, the nerves themselves can lead to a mind-blank, mid-presentation, like when you walk into a room and forget what you were there for. You could print out notes as a guide, but you should avoid reading from a piece of paper if you want to 1) engage your audience and 2) look like you know what you’re talking about!
If you’re prone to forgetting things it will be worth training your brain. Here are some proven tips to help improve your memory…
Visualise your content
Most people remember visual content more easily than written content. Mind maps are diagrams where you lay out your presentation content in a visual shape rather than as a list. This practice is proven to increase memory retention. When you try to recall your presentation you’ll picture the mind map components instead of a long list of words.
Read and Repeat
Research shows it takes 8 uninterrupted seconds for information to enter into your memory. Focus on your text for at least 8 seconds, look away and try to remember it, then read the information again and repeat as many times as necessary. Repeat to remember.
Researchers have found that memory improves over 10% when words are spoken out loud, so practice beforehand to maxmise the chances of remembering your content. It’s also worth rehearsing your presentation just before you go to bed as sleep helps to consolidate recently learned information.
Group items together
It’s much easier to remember information in chunks rather than in a long list. So if you have a list of stats try breaking them down into sets of three to five.
Consider how we remember phone numbers (back in the day when we did)… we’d group a long 10 digit number into patterns of 3 numbers at at time for example. It really works, it helps memory.
Take a break
It’s important to rest your brain to help it remember and encode. Set your alarm to make sure that you take regular breaks and move around before beginning again. And did we mention sleep? Sleep is brilliant for memory. Factor it in 🙂
We hope that these tips help you to remember more of your presentation content.
The world is busy. You’re busy, I’m busy. We’re all too busy to waste our time formatting PowerPoint presentations. You know, those decks we’ve left until the last minute so we definitely don’t have time now. Ugh, and that sinking feeling like like you should have outsourced it so it at least looks good. Rushing through the slides for content value and not giving your full attention to the layout and design as you are massviely short on time. If that’s you (it’s all of us) then our PowerPoint hacks will be right up your street!
10 PowerPoint hacks for speed so your time is freed up to spend on other things…
1. Changing size of image
Changing the size of an image is important not to screw up. As you drag a corner handle of the image to alter the size, hold down the Shift key to avoid skewing it out of proportion.
2. Aligning objects
Objects out of whack can make even a great design look amateur. It’s worth lining things up evenly. Select the images you want to move and hold down the Ctrl key while using the arrow keys, for smaller movements than the arrow keys alone. For perfection (recommended), select all of the items, go to the Drawing tab and find the Align tools in the Arrange group.
3. Quick Access Toolbar
If you find yourself doing the above point more than once, you should add your favourite buttons to the top of the page so that they are easily accessible. Right click the top of the screen and select ‘Quick Access Toolbar‘. Select the icons you want to add. This is an essential hack for the team here at Presented.
4. Aligning text
To quickly align text within a box: to align right press Ctrl + R. To align left press Ctrl + L, for center press Ctrl + E and to justify press Ctrl + J.
5. Selecting small objects
Grabbing smaller objects can be a bit tricky, especially with layered content. To avoid messing around: Once you have one object selected, then simply press the Tab key to toggle through all of the objects on the slide. (Shift + tab to go backwards.)
6. Change the case
To change any text into upper or lower case without retyping it, you just need to select the text and press Shift + F3. Repeat this for different case options.
7. Change the font size
To speedily increase the font size of text: use Ctrl+Shift and < or > buttons on your keyboard (comma and full stop). Or use Ctrl + [ or ].
8. Format painter
To copy the format from one object to another, simply select the original object and press Ctrl+Shift + C to copy format and Ctrl+Shift + V to apply the format.
And if you want to multiple apply the format painter – then double click the button. It keeps it turned on.
To group objects together, just select the objects and press Ctrl + G. To ungroup, press Ctrl+Shift + G.
10. Draw straight lines
Hold down Shift while inserting a line to make sure it is perfectly horizontal or vertical or at a 45-degree angle! Don’t just draw it without the Shift…
(check the line size if a line looks wonky – if one of the values isn’t at 0.0cm then it make it so!)
Or, don’t bother with these hacks and simply outsource it all to the speedsters at Presented 🙂
We hope these hacks do save you some time on your next presentation!
P.S. If you’re a Mac user… well, it’s usually similar and with the Cmd button. Otherwise… search for it on the internet (and hope it exists!)
We love to apply neuroscience to presentations here at Presented. We’ve studied multimedia learning and some of the neuroscience behind presentations. Correctly applying this neuroscience to your slide design and strategy can help an audience to both understand and remember your message.
Sadly, neuroscience is almost universally ignored in presentations. We let ourselves down and we let our audiences down.
For example: presenters often talk while audiences read. Graphics that aren’t relevant are often featured. Colours aren’t used consistency for meaning. There’s no navigation. Labels are far away from the objects they describe. Charts are heavy with “junk”. Headings aren’t meaningful. The messages are lost. The presentation structure is ineffective. It’s likely a braindump, and no strategic message crafting has been applied. The list goes on.
To present better, read and follow these 5 ways you can apply neuroscience to presentations:
Apply neuroscience to your presentation:
Tell a story
Sometimes presentation content isn’t the most exciting topic. We’ve dealt with some real boredom-fests. But there are many ways to make content more interest. To start: mimic the structure of a story with a beginning, middle and an end. This means setting the scene, creating a narrative, a problem and solution, or a journey, a quest, that type of thing. Got a learning challenge? Make it a quest for everyone to be better at Health & Safety (or whatever your topic is). Think about it like gamification if you will. But stories and games can make our presentations easier to grasp, follow and remember. Make it clear why the story is relevant to your audience (the beginning), raise and resolve all the issues (the middle), and summarise and wrap up concisely and clearly (the end).
You might think it has a story structure – but step back, be objective and analyse it. Consider how you could apply the dynamics of a story plot line. It will give your audience a much better experience.
The 10 Minute Mark
Research shows that an audience is most attentive at the start of a presentation, with attention decreasing dramatically every ten minutes. To avoid losing your audience break your messages into ten minute chunks. At the end of each section do something to hold attention, such as play a short (relevant) video or ask a question. Even a restful pause or a joke (use wisely) can help to chunk time and messages.
Play on emotions
Emotions help humans to relate to information. Admittedly it can be difficult to make a corporate presentation emotional, but if you can talk about a problem that affects the audience themselves you will have their attention right away. Pulling on so called heart strings and using stories can increase the memorability. As can using anecdotes and stories to bring each point more vividly to life.
Be visually appealing
Visual information is much easier to remember than oral information. Using relevant imagery or graphics in your presentation will grab your audience’s attention. It will also make it easier for them to remember what they have seen once the presentation is over.
Limit the text
As mentioned above people cannot remember too much information in one go, so don’t fill your slides with text. Use one message per slide and use well designed visuals to replace text content where possible.
Need our help to apply neuroscience to presentations?
Then please get in touch!
Presenting to small audiences don’t necessarily mean easier audiences.
In a previous blog we described 5 tips on presenting to large audiences. Now is the turn for small audiences.
You may feel just as nervous presenting in-front of co-workers where all eyes are on you, as when you present to a large, faceless crowd. Sometimes the small audience feels more testing: they can ask questions, interact and put you on the spot.
Of course, presenting to small audiences is very common in business places and used for sales pitches, training and internal updates to name but a few. Perhaps even more so since the pandemic and we switched to presenting virtually.
5 tips to help you present to small audiences…
1. Know your audience (or research them)
For small groups you can deliver quite a focused presentation. You should find out beforehand who you are presenting to, what they are expecting to get out of the presentation, and how much they already know about the topic.
So go ahead and ask them! By email, a survey or a phone call. This is another effective way to put your audience first.
2. Customise your design to your audience
Consider tailoring your slide design to your audience type. If your presentation is a sales pitch you might want to use the target company’s brand colours in your design. You might also get away with more detailed visuals or graphs if the audience is closer to the screen (but not too much to overload them!). Are they young? Older? Are they corporate and more conservative? Would more imagery and bolder colours appeal? Give it some thought.
3. Make a connection
With a small audience you can (and should!) make eye contact with everyone in the room. Smaller groups will be more willing to interact with you, so it’s easier to ask questions along the way and get input from your audience. Try not to “perform” when it’s a small group, it won’t seem authentic. Just connect: be conversational, be approachable and relax.
4. Check your audience are with you
Being able to see faces allows you to get an idea of how well individuals might be following and understanding you. If you see confused expressions you could slow down and ask if anyone has any questions. If you see people are not looking at you, they may be losing interest. So that could be time to change the tempo (or show a video, or ask a question, or simply do something different) to get their attention back on track!
5. Interactive non-linear style presenting
In a larger presentation it might be a logistical challenge to go present in a non-linear style and keep everyone engaged. However a smaller audience can speak up and show their areas of interest. This can permit you to present in a non-linear style and with freedom thanks to a hyperlinked deck.
Whatever size your audience – we can help you design something that really impresses. Drop us a line to get a no-obligation quote.