When’s the last time you traveled somewhere for a presentation? Chances are, your expectations were high. You were thinking “Wow this is a great venue and what I’m about to learn will seriously enhance my personal growth.”
But when get there it’s a complete disaster. The speaker is terrible at presenting; yeah they might have had a couple great publications or audiobooks, but the performance is, for lack of a better word, awful.
But wait, in a week you are going to be in the same position, presenting to a sea of people you have never seen before. We know you don’t want to be in the same boat as this person, so we’ve created a list to prep you on what not to do at your next presentation.
- Forgetting to Make Eye Contact. Great speakers know that in Presenting 101, making eye contact with the audience is necessary. Keep in mind; there is a difference between making eye contact and having a stare down.
Pro Tip: Be sure to hold eye contact for at least 4 seconds before moving onto the next person.
- Slide Reading. Why even talk if you are going to read your slides word for word?
Pro Tip: Use them as bullet-points only and interact with your audience. They are there to be engaged.
- Making your Audience Lost in Translation. As a presenter, you are there to teach the people who came to listen to you on your soap box. If you start saying acronyms without definitions, your listeners will lose track and be less engaged while trying to figure out all the jargon.
Pro Tip: Keep it simple, but if you do need acronyms, be sure to explain them.
- Turning Around. There is nothing wrong with putting your back to the crowd to make sure your slide is correct. But, if you are frequently doing it, and keeping your back to the audience while reading your slide, it can come across as rude.
Pro Tip: Elite presenters always have a copy of their slides so they can stay facing the crowd at all times.
- Horrible First Impression. This is it, you’re about to present in front of people who are going to remember this for the rest of their lives. Don’t open it up with an apology or a terrible joke, it could start you off on the wrong foot. In fact, they’ll only think of that the entire time you are presenting.
Pro Tip: A great way to start it off is with a question that is in co-relation with the main theme of the presentation.
- Ending with Q&A. We know… shocker. You’ve probably always heard of a Q&A session done at the end of presentations. But what we’ve discovered is that the timing for it is more impactful than you might think. If you have it planned for the end of your presentation, the takeaway message can lose its impression.
Pro Tip: Try to get your Q&As done in the middle of the discussion or ahead of time.
- Not Looking the Part. If you want to be a great presenter, you should look like a great presenter! Seeing is believing right? If your audience sees you as someone who didn’t iron their shirt or get rid of that coffee stain, they’re going to assume you don’t respect them or prepare. Appearance matters, whether it’s business casual or jeans, just no torn designer jeans or wrinkled shirts.
Pro Tip: Always have a backup outfit, just in case you do end up getting a stain on your clothes.
From these seven Pro tips, you should be more than ready when it comes to the next time you are presenting. Be sure to face the crowd, make eye contact, and interact with them.