Presenting to an audience no matter how small or how large is an important part of the way we do business today. It may be to motivate and influence our team to perform at their best, it may be to pitch for new business, it may be to present proposals to the board, to persuade the customer to buy, it may be simply to convey to others information about a new process or a new idea.
In my work see many presentations and I am so often disappointed by what I see. Almost daily, I see these mistake and it saddens me because I know these people could do so much better.
As a presentation skills coach and trainer, I’ve worked with many people to improve the impact of their presentations. Often there are some simple changes which people – yes, people like you – can make which significantly increase the impact of the presentations.
But let’s look at the biggest mistakes made by people in business when they are presenting.
1. Not being concise
This is what I call the ‘Waffle and Fluff’ syndrome. How often have you been watching a presentation and the presenter takes so much time to get to the point of is topic and or when they do, they add unnecessary and irrelevant material. It is important that you make it clear up front what you are going to talk about then keep to topic, Sure, there are various tools you can use as a presenter to engage your audience but make sure you are clear on what your message is – and stay on topic. So cut the ‘waffle’ and ‘de-fluff’* the presentation. (*Fluff ? We could also call this ‘filler’- filling out the presentation but not adding any real value.)
2. Not understanding their audiences’ needs. If you’re going to be presenting to an audience, it’s important that you understand who they are, what is their level of understanding of what you’re talking about, and what do they need from you. Do your research before you present. It’s often a very simple thing to do and will make your task easier and make your presentation a ‘fit’ for the audience.
3. Relying on PowerPoint
We’ve all seen it – the presenter who not only has a lot of material on the PowerPoint presentation (Far too much detail to be read on the screen!) but he or she reads the PowerPoint material as each slide comes up. It’s as if they’ve written their all presentation on PowerPoint and then simply read it to the audience. PowerPoint is an aid to the presentation, it should be used to enhance what you are saying and, by following a few simple rules, can be a very effective enhancement to help convey the message. But when the person reads everything on the slide – or has too much on each slide – they lose the audience’s attention. Nothing will kill your presentation quicker – that’s why it’s called … Read More