The number 1 mistake when making presentations
Picture credit: http://thelanguagelab.ca/posts/6-quick-tips-on-how-not-to-be-boring-improve-your-presentation-delivery-skills
You may think that this is making a presentation thinking a PowerPoint slide show is required in order to be an effective presenter. That would be a close second place. A PowerPoint is only a tool – nothing more, period. The number 1 mistake is not being passionate and knowledgeable about the topic you are presenting.
Think about a recent presentation that really spoke to you, one that really pulled you into the topic and all its little nuances. Now think about one or ones where the presenter was awful. Compare and contrast both types of presenters and presentations.
Really great presenters are great story tellers. Ones that tell you a story that the listeners can relate to. They grab your intellect and your heart such that your gut tells you that you ought to take action. Then they use whatever tool serves them best in order to tell this story. They know their stuff and they look confident doing this.
What can you do in order to get better at presenting? Here are a few tips that anyone can use in order to improve almost immediately.
- Pick a topic that you are passionate about to begin with. If you cannot choose this, make certain that the part you have to talk about is something you care about the most. The moment you care you start to improve.
- Get to know your topic as best as you can. Learn all there is about the topic and people whom you look up to because they know so much more about it. Speak with them and get all the help you can get.
- Video tape yourself. As awkward as it may be, this is one of the most effective ways to improve on the spot. You’ll notice when you don’t look confident. Your “uh’s” and “um’s” will stick out like a sore thumb. You may even recognize when you lose your audience and their reactions.
- Dress well and look well. It’s no small error in judgment to think that your stuff is so interesting that the audience will not care or even notice it. Your spectators will take notice of your first impression.
- Prepare like a fool. Nothing beats being prepared and well-rehearsed. Are you one who claims is “speaking from the heart” and thus just wing it? Good luck with that. Expert presenters prepare well by rehearsing it out loud at full length and the really great ones do this in front of candid colleagues. Preparation also goes for being prepared for technical difficulties, but this topic alone could fill another blog post.
- Finally, no reading off of bullet list, cards, and/ or the whole slides. Prepare holding the presentation without having to resort to reading whole sentences. People can read much faster than you can say it. In North America brevity and great visuals take the cake.
Are you missing a few great examples how great presentations are done? Here is a resource (click here for the site) that may help you guide you. Great presenters are not born that way – they too had to learn their craft. That is something you can do also. The best of luck to you.