Presenting is an art form, and it takes time to master.
It is not necessary for your presentation to go perfectly for it to achieve desired results. But if at all possible, beginner mistakes should be overcome and avoided.
Here are several common beginner mistakes you could be making when you present.
1. Not Practicing & Preparing
A lot of people just like to “wing it” and see where things go.
Granted, practicing your presentation isn’t exactly easy, as there aren’t any well-defined methods that assures success.
Ideally, you should practice until you feel you have a good handle on the information you’ll be sharing, but not so much that you can deliver it from memory verbatim.
It’s a mistake to over-practice, much the same way it’s a mistake to not prepare at all, and this is why a lot of people don’t like to prepare – they overdo it!
2. Cluttering Up Your PowerPoint
Watch as the eyes of your audience members glaze over if your PowerPoint uses too much text, at a font size that’s too small, with a clichéd font on a clashing background.
This does not mean that you can’t use text in your presentations. Rather, you should limit the number of words you’re using on each slide.
If possible, make it a visually pleasing experience with plenty of images to engage the audience. A picture is worth a thousand words – when used in the right context.
3. Moving Around Too Much
If you stand still during your presentation, you could end up boring your audience. But moving around too much is also problematic.
You’re going to tire out the eyes and necks of your audience if you’re constantly running from one end of the stage to the other, gesturing wildly as you deliver your message.
Finding that “happy medium” can be tricky, but if in doubt, relax and slow things down a little.
The most impactful presentation could easily be ruined by incoherent mumbling. If you’re going to be presenting, you have to speak clearly, loudly and at a tempo that isn’t too slow or too fast (work with the sound tech).
Speakers should also try to avoid chewing gum or sniffling into the mic – you’ll almost certainly leave a bad impression on audience members with sensitive ears.
5. Running Over Your Allotted Time
If you finish your presentation with time to spare, it would leave time for a Q&A, and the event planners would be able to keep the event running according to plan.
But no presenter is so important that they’re going to get away with running over their allotted time. You risk not being invited back to share at future events if you aren’t sensitive to the situation.
End early if at all possible.
6. Not Tailoring Your Message To The Audience
Beware of sharing the same speech everywhere you go. There is something to be said for re-purposing content, but delivering the exact same message at every event is not re-purposing – it’s regurgitating.
Know who the audience is, and try to customize your message based on what they want to know and what they’ll respond to. The extra work you put into delivering a relevant message will pay off.
7. Overwhelming The Audience With Too Much Information
First of all, your presentation should have a central focus. That way, you’ll be able to connect all of your supporting points to the overarching theme.
Second of all, don’t forget that your audience is human. Data and stats have their place, but failing to create an emotional connection could be a major mistake. You want the audience to remember you, and you’re not going to achieve that by overwhelming them with information.
If you’ve been asked to present, don’t waste the opportunity. It can help you build authority in your industry, and that can grow your influence and client base in a major way.
Again, you can’t necessarily be perfect, but you can stack the deck in your favor. Make sure to leave a positive impression with event planners and attendees by preparing well.
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