Speaking before several people can make many people jittery, which is why many people shy away from taking the mic whenever possible. However, there may come a time when you need to make a presentation, and knowing what to avoid will ensure that your presentation goes smoothly.
Many people know that cramming isn’t always effective, but there are still some who take this direction, even when they are tasked to make a presentation. Last-minute preparation tends not to be an effective route because it only adds to the number of butterflies in the stomach. If you are familiar with Steve Jobs, you know that he planned his presentations for weeks! Taking a cue from the legendary guy himself, it will calm your nerves if you plan in advance and know your material inside out. So prepare in advance.
Unfamiliarity with the Equipment
Have you ever spent weeks creating and perfecting your slide presentation only to find out 30 minutes before your presentation that the projector won’t work with your laptop? What an utter disaster! Before making any presentation, familiarize yourself with both the venue and the equipment. If possible, do an initial testing to ensure that all equipment you need will work during the presentation. At the same time, make a contingency plan. Just in case…
Narcissism hasn’t always pleased people. As a speaker, make sure that you avoid becoming one. Don’t get so caught up with yourself that you just keep talking and talking without regard for your audience. At the start, make sure that you acknowledge their presence and let them know what to expect during the presentation.
Not Knowing Your Audience
When you’re being invited or tasked to make a presentation, it is best to know your audience beforehand. Zero in on the age bracket and educational level of your audience so you can make your presentation with your intended audience in mind. Without this, you may find yourself talking to a group of seniors about the latest mobile applications, which may not clearly resonate with them.
Harnessing the Skill of Verbosity
Short, concise, and straight to the point—these should be the direction of your presentation. Ensure that you deliver the right message in the most concise manner so that your audience comprehends what you’re saying. When you opt to explain using Latin maxims and Shakespeare, your audience might get lost, rendering your presentation ineffective.
Visuals that Distract
When creating visuals, bear in mind that your goal is to make your audience understand. This includes keeping their attention and focus on your presentation. Try to avoid animations and popping sounds, which will simply distract your audience from what you’re saying. If presenting in a bright room, use a plain white background with black text; use the opposite in dark rooms.
Going Cheap on the Slides
If you think that using a lot of slides will tire out your audience, you have to rethink your position. Overcrowding two, three, or even four slides with information will make it hard for your audience to follow what you want to tell them. Instead, have a good number of slides that provide all the information you want to convey to your audience in effective chunks. Don’t use small text. A few bulleted points per slide will do.
Overwhelming the Audience with Numbers
If you put graphs on each slide, your audience may get overwhelmed. Don’t focus too much on numbers because this will make your presentation boring and will cause your audience to lose interest even before you are halfway done. Just relate the numbers with the content and only use graphs on very important points.
Refusing to Make Eye Contact
One thing you have to remember when making a presentation is to make eye contact with your audience. This helps them connect with you and the message you are delivering. Without such eye contact, you may fail to make a connection, which is an important aspect of any presentation.
For your next presentation, make sure to avoid all these mistakes. Doing so will give you a better chance to capture your audience’s attention and render your presentation in a truly effective way.