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 easy to avoid presentation mistakes:
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. So firstly, find out in advance how long you have: then create and practice your presentation to check everything fits in – without rushing. You need to allow time for questions too, so for a 40 minute slot, plan for your presentation to be 30 mins. Should the whole event finish earlier? Very few people (or no one) will mind!
2. Don’t read text directly from the screen
Everyone can read. But an audience is there to listen to you. So don’t confuse the two. If you fill your slides with text that you read out-loud then you’ll rapidly bore your audience and they won’t listen closely. They’ll skim listen at best. As they’ll already be skim reading the text too. Too much text on screen means you’ll be splitting their attention: it’s not possiblie to read and listen at the same time, so don’t make your audience attempt it! (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 using bullet points as a script. You can use visuals, diagrams and short key phrases to prompt your memory about what you plan to say.
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 cause you to talk too fast, which may make it difficult to follow the presentation. So take a deep breath before you start, breathe during and remember to even 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. You’ll avoid presentation mistakes relating to questions if you’re prepared by fully researching your subject. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes (find out their level of knowledge on the topic) so that you can best address the most likely questions (and indeed how you can best address the initial content for your presentation).
You’ll also avoid presentation mistakes as your experience increases, but never become so relaxed that you get complacent. Keep learning how to improve delivery, engagement and connection.
When you’ve presented a topic many times, then delivery can become stale. It’s a challenge to keep it fresh, but for your audience’s sake: you need to!
Get regular tips by following Presented on LinkedIn.