There are loads of ways of making a mess of the great opportunity which a presentation presents.
We have all seen some of these in action and many of us have committed them ourselves.
Here is my selection of some of the most common.
- Give too much information.
- Expect your audience to know your jargon, acronyms and in-jokes.
- Read your slides or handouts – suggesting that you think they are illiterate.
- Talk too quickly, or too slowly, or too monotonously, or too excitedly or too quietly – or too loudly.
- Use sentences that belong in books, not on lips.
- Laugh nervously from time to time.
- Grip a script in your white-knuckled hands and read it.
- Over-cook, or under-cook, the whole thing.
And just to balance things out, here are some top tips:
- Speak as if you are addressing people you like, admire and look up to.
- Offer the tip of the iceberg of the subject.
- Don’t even think about using gimmicks.
- Eliminate jargon.
- Bring in colour and imagery.
- Be emotionally present – share your enthusiasm and your feelings as you go along.
- Get at least one story in there somewhere.
- Be genuinely interested in questions and feedback.
What would you add to (or subtract from) either list? (That’s a genuine question, I’d like to get better at doing presentations – they are such great opportunities.)