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!

blog illustration - Don't make these 5 presentation mistakes

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.