Two presentation faux pas and how to fix them

23 Nov

I viewed some very lackluster presenters at a conference this morning. Many of them were trying to sell their business to potential customers, meaning they were giving a 15-20 minute “this is why you should love us” talk.

The reason I say lackluster is based on the presenter and not the information being presented. Actually, the information being presented could have been honed down in a few of them. But that is secondary.

Two things I noticed… don’t talk to the screen and don’t read your notes.

Issue #1 – PowerPoint type shows – Talk. To. The. Audience.

One presenter used a PowerPoint presentation with slides about new innovations on their web platform. All well and good as many of us present with PowerPoint, Prezi or Keynote. But even if you rely on this type of presentation you should always learn to mirror your computer screen and the information on the screen. It is very annoying when you are talking to the screen instead of your audience.

One exception – if you are standing in the audience and you turn to laser point a graph, photo or fact.

Practice your presentation. This means you don’t slap 25 slides together and hope for the best. The slides WILL NOT save you! You will look ill prepared and will lose the attention of the audience very quickly. Also – obnoxious fly-ins, fly outs, dissolves and other magician-worthy animations are distracting. Stick to the mouse click to appear your bullet points… it’s all you need to effectively make your point.

Issue #2

Don’t read your notes verbatim. Know. Your. Material.

If you are an expert in your product – which you dang-well should be – go from your memory. Use the notes sparingly as a backup in the event you lose your place or have a mental faux pas and need a crutch. Every speaker worth his or her weight has a backup plan… look at newscasters – if the TelePrompTer goes out, they have the notes on the desk as a backup… and they aren’t even looking their audience in the eye!

Ok, since I am on a roll, I’ll give you another piece of advice. Know. Your. Time.

It is particularly annoying when you are listening to a speaker and they start speeding up their voice. Then they say something like, “for the sake of time we are going to skip these two slides”. How do you know those aren’t the two slides I came to hear about? How do you pick and choose which material to present and what to exclude?

You are cheating your audience by not being prepared. If you have 30 minutes, stop at 23-25 and allow time for audience interaction. Unless, that is, you have not prepared and are afraid of what they may ask.

But, that is another subject for another day!

Five Ps of success: prior preparation prevents pisspoor performance.

Tell me your thoughts on this…. leave your comments below

1 Comment

Posted by on November 23, 2013 in Writing


One response to “Two presentation faux pas and how to fix them

  1. John Malik

    November 26, 2013 at 2:29 am

    Words to live by Darron


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