How to avoid presentation mistakes!

You’ve spent a lot of time and energy on building a presentation, but sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees. Or the bad slides from the good.
You only find out too late (afterwards) that you possibly bored the audience, or that they remember very little once they’ve left the room. And let’s face it: no one will tell you when it’s bad. We’re all far too polite.

So here we highlight some of the most common presentation mistakes people make.

Please avoid the following presentation mistakes…

1. Not knowing enough about your subject

You might be able to recite your content word for word but if you don’t understand it, or can’t answer a question from the audience you will lose all credibility. Research your subject fully, make notes and think about the possible questions you may be asked.

The same goes for your presentation structure. Know what slide is coming next. It’s useful to use “Presenter View” while presenting so you can see your notes and the next slides, but it isn’t always practical to be near your own screen if you’re on a larger stage. So, rehearse: know your structure. Worry less about the exact verbage, as a natural delivery will help rather than hinder.

A presentation mistake

A presentation mistake

2. Reading straight from the slides

Slides are visual aids to reinforce what you are talking about. Reading directly from the slides: 1) is boring for the audience, 2) means you can’t make eye contact with them and 3) is a waste of time since you could print the slides as handouts! If your slides are full of text you need to 1) simplify them by just using the main headings or facts and figures, and 2) use relevant visuals that back up your words.

3. Not being prepared

First impressions are important. Arriving late, flustered and not being able to use the equipment is not a good start. In the virtual presenting world – have a back up in place. If your reliable wifi starts being unreliable: have your mobile phone set up as a hotspot, ready to leap into action if you need. Make sure you leave plenty of time to not only get to the venue but also to set up, log in, get your files fully ready before your audience arrives. Test out your material beforehand so that you are confident you can cover everything in the allocated time.

4. Badly designed slides

Just because PowerPoint provides different animations, transition options and clip art doesn’t mean that you should use them all! Use your corporate template and stick to your branding. If you find those parameters limiting, you can ask for outside design help by professionals (like the Presented team). Being proud owners of a good colour palette, fonts, visuals and well designed graphs (aka a good template) means you won’t need flashy animations that might make you look amateur. Consider the value of what you are representing. And whether it’s done in-house or outsourced – get help with the design so that you impress your viewers.

Avoid these mistakes: be a better presenter with happier audiences!


Frequently Asked Questions:

What are some common presentation mistakes?
Many people fall into the trap of not knowing enough about their subject matter. They might be able to recite their content but lack a deep understanding, which can undermine their credibility. Additionally, not being prepared, reading directly from slides, and poorly designed slides are also prevalent presentation mistakes.

How can I prevent myself from making presentation mistakes?
To avoid presentation mistakes, it’s crucial to thoroughly research your subject, anticipate audience questions, and rehearse your presentation structure. Avoid reading directly from slides by simplifying them and incorporating relevant visuals. Prioritise preparation, arrive early to set up, and have backups in place, especially in virtual presentations.

How can I improve the design of my presentation slides?
Improving slide design involves sticking to your corporate template, maintaining brand consistency, and avoiding excessive animations or clip art. Utilise a good colour palette, fonts, and well-designed visuals to convey information effectively.

Why is being prepared essential for a successful presentation?
Being prepared sets the stage for a successful presentation by creating a positive first impression and ensuring smooth delivery. Arriving early, testing equipment, and having backups in place demonstrate professionalism and readiness. Practising beforehand instills confidence and allows presenters to cover all key points within the allocated time, leading to happier audiences.