It’s obvious that everyone wants to express and explain the ideas he has or will talk about in the best possible way, so the first thing we do when we are tasked with presenting an idea is to quickly find a way to help us and make it easier for create the best presentation possible. There are a lot of rules that you must take into account when creating a presentation, and a lot of details and principles you may forget or overlook because you are a rookie or still don’t know its wrong. Here we will focus on the most common presentation mistakes, and how to overcome them so your next presentation will be something you are proud of.
Some mistakes you can make when making a presentation are:
1. Acting without a plan
Every presentation must have a primary and clear goal. Not having a core idea that you can build upon will result in definite failure. So you should know what your presentation’s goal is. Are you going to inform, persuade, educate, entertain or inspire your audience?
Of course, you can educate and entertain them at the same time. Or persuade and inspire your attendees altogether, but never let it for the flow of events, think and be certain of what you intend to do. And whatever your goals are, always have the people in mind. Meet their expectations and plan your presentation in such a way that they will satisfy them. For example, after introducing yourself briefly, tell the audience what they can expect from your presentation. Then, go through your points in order.
Having an outline and sticking to it will help avoid going around in circles, as you can structure your presentation, and go from introduction to the body then to conclusion smoothly. In other words, an outline helps you plan how you can make the most impact on your audience.
2. Lack of Preparation
This point is linked directly to the first one. Which you do after you know exactly what you want to talk about, but how to do it is something else. There are personal and professional manners of any presentation. Personal elements include voice, body language, and appearance. Professional ones are researching the subject, organizing its content, and preparing the slides. But whether your presentation lasts for five minutes or an hour, you must prepare and practice it through.
3. Not engaging the audience
Not fearing giving public speech doesn’t mean you are good at interacting with the audience. Some presenters prefer not to make any contact with the attendees thinking it will save them troubles and embarrassment. But it’s not true nor right, you always need to make eye contact with them and ask them questions throughout your presentation, so you guarantee their attention, focus, and interest in what you offer. Voice is also a primary mean of communicating as it must be effective, clear, and vital to ensure you are the leader of your own presentation and the attendees are following you well.
4. Double check the presentation file
It doesn’t matter if you’re using PowerPoint, Keynote or Google Slides, or whatever your preferred presentation software is. And no matter how good you have made your slides and content and reviewed them, you should always check your presentation file before the act.
Imagine you are about to give a very important presentation, for investors or employers. You don’t want to be put in an embarrassing situation because your presentation files don’t work or are corrupted just to find that the moment you want to start. As simple it is, as important it will be for you to avoid such an event.
5. Do you hear me?
Usually, the presenter starts by clicking on the microphone 3 times and asking the audience out loud: “Can you hear me?” Then he smiles awkwardly when he discovers that everyone can hear him but no one raises their hands to say so. This is not the responsibility of the presenter, there are those who take care of these things. If the speaker starts his presentation and no one hears him, he must calm down and try again, smile in the face of the audience, maintain confidence and calm in front of them, and wait until the problem is resolved. If the sound continues to be interrupted, the presenter should approach the organizers to find a solution to the problem.
6. Reading from the screen
If you want to know what is the shortest way to bore your audience, it’s simply reading the same screen they are reading, and even worst, turning your back to them while doing so. That’s not acceptable in any way, instead, have a copy of the slides printed on paper in front of you or a laptop or a tablet facing you so you can glance down to see where you are and what you should be talking about.
7. Jamming Slides with words
It is strictly forbidden to fill the presentation slides with too many words, which forces the audience to take a long time to read the text, and worse is reading it out loud slowly or in a hurry, in this way, the audience will be distracted. When more than 4 lines are added to a slide, the audience begins to read and does not listen to what the speaker has to say. Always use short titles and your memory(or laptop) to explain details to the audience. And if you have too much material, try to minimize it. It is pointless and annoying for the presenter to rush through a presentation.
8. Asking the audience to turn their phones off
In old days, the speaker had to ask the audience during the presentation to turn off their mobile phones, but now the audience needs their mobile devices in order to talk about the presentation events on social media or take notes about the material presented. The time has changed now, and some can ask the audience only to put the phones in silent mode, but it is better for the presenter to have a strong presence to attract the attention of the audience rather than asking them to do so directly.
9. Insufficient knowledge of presentation topic
People have come to your presentation expecting to get something new from you, so if you were not very well prepared on the subject you are showcasing, then you’re essentially wasting their time. Having well searched the topic you want to talk about and covering all its angles is what awaited for you to do. Don’t tell them what they already know, but bring something that interests and amuse the audience and adds up to their knowledge.
10. Exceeding given time
One of the most unfulfilled promises by the presenter is that he will not be long, yet this usually doesn’t happen. The audience does not care much about the duration of the show but just wants to take advantage of the time to learn something new. It’s best to always start with, “This show is going to change your life,” or “This show is planned to take 30 minutes, but I’ll try to do it in 25.” The only thing required of the presenter is to keep this promise.
It is very important to practice a lot before any presentation, if the presenter discovers that he is running out of time, it is a mistake. It is better if he tries to finish five minutes earlier to allow the audience to ask questions, and if no one wants to ask any questions, they should be left for a cup of coffee, and during this time they may ask the presenter in a one-on-one discussion. Having an extra 5 minutes usually leads to the discontent of the audience.
And at the end don’t forget to smile. A smile can change the atmosphere of the room dramatically putting it at ease and give the presenter strong confidence. Not to mention that smiling can help avoid some of the mistakes we talked about earlier, such as engaging with the audience and reading from a screen. So unless you’re delivering bad or somber news, always relax and smile!