Effective Presentations: Major mistakes presenters make

Effective Presentations: Major mistakes presenters make

Effective Presentations: Major mistakes presenters make

There are a few golden rules to follow to avoid the major pitfalls of a poor presentation. Here are my top ten to keep in mind.

major presentation mistakes

1.   Failing to speak to time:  Practice first.  When you know the length of your talk, make sure you keep to time.  Have a clock handy and mark time reminders in your notes and stick to those times.


2.   Information overload:  Be selective in what you say and don’t swamp your audience with an avalanche of facts.  3 major items in a 20 minutes time span is enough for most people to handle.  Present information in small bite size pieces, this will enable your audience to hear it, understand it and more importantly, remember it.


3.   Material not relevant to the audience:  Before you accept an invitation to speak, ask yourself three questions.  Will they be interested in my subject? Can I offer them any information they can use?  Am I the best person for the job?


4.   Poor preparation:  Detailed, thorough preparation leads to effective presentation.


5.   Failure to practice:  Practice, practice, practice.  Giving a presentation is a skill that you can develop.  Like any skill, it needs practice!


6.   Material too technical:  Don’t use jargon.  Translate your talk into a level of language appropriate for your audience and use information relevant to experiences they are likely to have had.


7.   Inappropriate pace:  Not too fast, not too slow.  The audience needs time to take in what you are saying; speaking too fast will mean your message may be lost.  Keep momentum in your presentation and move along at a steady pace.


8.   Distractions:  Learn to control distracting habits you may have which affect your presentation such as body scratching, using ‘um’ or ‘ah’, putting on and taking off your glasses constantly or jumping around the stage in an excited manner.  These habits can lead your audience to be distracted and lose the message of your presentation.


9.   Lack of enthusiasm:  If you have a genuine interest in a subject you will be enthusiastic about it and your audience will ‘believe’ you.  A lack of enthusiasm will lead your audience to be bored and lose interest quickly.  Let yourself be seen, start of lively, keep up the pace and convey your enthusiasm by being expressive, using appropriate body language and humour.


10. Lack of eye contact:  Establish eye contact and maintain it.  Your audience will feel you are talking to them and keep listening.  They will mistrust you and lose interest if you do not maintain eye contact.