The 10 Biggest Mistakes Presenters Make

Giving a great presentation isn’t magic. But… how do you know what works and what doesn’t?

Many of us have learned from our own mistakes-which is the hardest way to learn. I’m going to share some of the most common traps and pitfalls of speakers and what you can do to avoid them. Ahhhhhh… this allows you to plan and deliver your next presentation with less stress!

The 10 biggest mistakes include:

1. Not analyzing your audience. You’re almost guaranteed to embarrass yourself if you walk in to present without figuring out who your audience is. For example you need to consider:

a. How many people will attend?

b. What do they already know about your topic?

c. What are their general demographics? (Age, gender, education level, occupation, etc.)

d. What is their attitude about your topic?

e. Why are they attending your presentation? (Forced to, want to learn something, etc.)

2. Not knowing your purpose. As silly as this sounds, it happens too often! Decide, upfront, why are you speaking. Is it to:

a. Inform/teach

b. Persuade

c. Sell something

d. Inspire

e. Entertain

Without this basic foundation, your presentation is likely to ramble all over the place leaving the audience wondering, “What is the message?”

3. Cramming in too much information. We’ve all heard the KISS principle. Keep it simple and your audience will love you! What is your absolutely essential point that you want to get across?

a. What are your supporting points? (Three is ideal.)

b. Avoid throwing in the “kitchen sink”! It’s tempting to add more and more content. Don’t fall into that trap. Keep asking yourself, does this add or detract from my main point(s)?

4. Choosing the wrong visual aids. Ask yourself, “What will enhance my presentation?” If a visual aid will make your point more clear or memorable then use it. Many speakers wouldn’t image speaking without PowerPoint slides. There are a multitude of choices when it comes to visual aids. Once choice is to use nothing if that gets your main point across the best.

5. Death by PowerPoint. Audiences around the world are fed up with boring PowerPoint slides. I can’t think of too much worse than beginning a presentation with a slide that is full of bullet points and text. This confuses the audience! They aren’t sure if they should read the slide or listen to you. Keep the slides extremely simple. One of the best books on this topic is Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds.

6. Not practicing. This is the biggest sin of all! Many presenters believe that if they’ve put their ideas into a PowerPoint slide that all they have to do is click through the presentation and their work is done. Wrong! Nothing… nothing takes the place of practice. Practicing out loud or recording yourself is worth its weight in gold!

7. Not doing your homework. Here I mean taking the time to know the essentials of your presentation:

a. Where will you be speaking?

b. How will attendees be seated (classroom style, lecture hall, round tables, chairs only, etc.)?

c. How early can you get into the room to set up?

d. What equipment will be available to you?

e. Will someone introduce you or will you introduce yourself?

f. Will there be someone available to assist with technology issues? (This is a very frequent issue.)

g. And so much more…

8. Poor delivery/appearance. How will the audience be dressed? (Casual, business casual, jeans, coat and ties… ?)

a. The rule of thumb is to dress one notch above how the attendees will be dressed.

b. Looking your best will give you that added boost of confidence.

c. Using good eye contact will keep your audience engaged. You appear more confident when you include everyone in the audience-you do this best by using eye contact as you sweep the room with your eyes.

9. Going over time. Please don’t do this. If you were asked to speak for an hour, be sure to stop before the hour and allow time for questions and answers, if appropriate. Most listeners appreciate ending on time or a few minutes early. It’s painful to be trapped in a chair beyond the scheduled end time.

10. Not using a summary or conclusion. Have you ever attended a presentation where the speaker stops after the last point and ends abruptly? “Thank you.” It leaves the audience feeling confused. A short but powerful conclusion will make you look like the professional that you are. Reinforce what your message is all about-inspiring, calling to action, entertaining, etc.

Presentation Skills Training: Making an Energetic Presentation With Body Movement and Speaking Pace

Energy is a critical element for any motivational speech, whether to a rally of thousands or to one potential customer or employee. So how do we express that energy and translate it to our audience?

Two elements express energy: the movement of your body and the pace of your words.

Let’s first check out movement. Movement is very important to any presentation, both to combat your public speaking nerves and as a way of keeping audience attention. Your body movement is a way of setting a mood, either good or bad. So let’s use that movement to create an atmosphere of energy and excitement.

The Magic of Movement:

Be a moving target.

Move with energy and purpose. Take long steps and use large arm movements. This conveys to the audience that you are telling them an important and exciting idea or fact.

Make use of your entire space.

If you have a full stage, travel to one end to discuss one point and look directly at the people in that part of the audience. Then go to the other end, then the center, etc. If, on the other hand, you are locked behind a podium or table, or even seated in front of a client, make good use of all the dimensions of movement, even if you can’t go very far with your feet. Lean ahead, step back. Deeply bend your knees, reach up while on tiptoe. Reach around the podium to your left, lean on the podium with your right elbow. If you are seated, use your tailbone as a pivot and cover all the dimensions.

Pick Up Your Speaking Pace:

Ralph Nichols, one of the first people to study effective listening, discovered a surprising fact: listeners stayed more attentive and gained more information and understanding from fast-paced speakers than they did from their slower or moderately paced colleagues. His studies showed that the reason for this is that people can listen about three times faster than the average person speaks. What happens then is that about two-thirds of the listening time is available for thinking about something else… and pretty soon, the ‘something else’ becomes more interesting than the speaker.

So, to keep your audience’s attention, the answer is this: speak faster than you do in day-to-day conversation. This pace has the added advantage that it makes the audience feel they might miss something if they get distracted. When they are that focused, your energy becomes their energy and they buy into your message.

Both your movement and your speaking pace are critical to creating energy in the audience, yet there is another factor which is perhaps most critical of all:

The most significant way to transmit energy to your audience is to truly care about your subject.

In our presentation skills coaching, we often tell the story of safety advocate Ralph Nader, who is definitely not a flamboyant presenter, but who has such concern for his subject that his emotional energy immediately draws you in.

Unleashed energy can be extremely powerful.

Leashed or unleashed, energy is a significant key to motivating an audience, selling a product or project, raising funds or presenting a new policy. It also establishes you as a ‘want-to-hear’ presenter

10 Reasons to Design and Print Presentation Pocket Folders

Below are the reasons why you should design and print presentation pocket folders for your business. Presentation folder gives maximum visibility to your business identity and are professional way to present your documents in any position.

  • Business Identity
  • Two Pocket Folder can become the identity of your business if they are professional designed and printed. While giving presentation to customer or presenting your documents, the first thing customer view is your presentation folders. They need to designed in a way that they give uniform look with your rest of the business printed materials and should clear message to your customer about the services you offer.

  • Presentation Portfolio
  • Pocket folders are the best presentation portfolio of the company, they present documents in most arranged and professional manners and carries all the information about your company in one packet. Die cut folders are the most used folders these days for presentation purpose.

  • Company Message
  • Printed folders are the message of a company. If professionally designed and printed, they are the best advertising medium for your company.

  • Thing to Remain In-Front
  • Custom Presentation folders are the thing to remain in-front of customer all the time. If your folders are designed beautifully and in innovative way, it can actually force the customer to put your folders in their table all the time just as a show piece and it will serve your purpose.

  • Document Manager
  • Pocket Presentation Folders are the best business document managers. You can place your marketing material in the pockets, put your business cards on the pockets of the folders and you can also put your media CD on the folder pocket. This will become your one package which will have all your marketing material and will remain in easy access to the customer.

  • Easy Access to Information
  • As all the information is in-front of customer all the time and at one place, customer can find all the information about your company easily and can contact you any time for sales/services. Easy access of information is so important that it is found that many company lose quite a bit of business just because their customer cannot find them the 2nd time. So give you customer the facility to find you easily.

  • Media Kit
  • Presentation folders can also be used as Media kits. These can be designed and printed in a way that all your media kit can fit into it and all the things will be in one place and easy to access. You can have two to three pockets, vertical pockets round pockets to give it innovative look and to full fill your media kit requirements accordingly.

  • Trade Show Hand outs
  • You can easily use Presentation folders for Trade show hand outs to distribute your company information to you potential clients. It will have all the information in it and will be your gateway for potential clients. You can put your brochures, inserts, leaflets, business cards and your presentation CD inside folders to hand out to customers at Trade shows.

  • Company Gifts
  • You also use 2 pocket folders as company gifts along with other small gift your existing or new clients. This give you all the opportunity to give all information about your products and services to clients.

  • Photo Holders
  • Two pocket folders can also be used as photo holders, key card holders and other stuff holders. You can present your company pictures in the photo folders. You can also use these to present your new products along with the pictures of your product to introduce new product in the market.