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Marketing / Presentation skills

Five ways to ruin your presentation

Have you ever excitedly attended a presentation, only to be disappointed by its delivery? It’s likely the speaker ruined the presentation in one of five ways.

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The world’s worst presenter?

I recently attended a much-anticipated presentation, but unfortunately both the speaker and presentation were disappointing. Initially I, and the rest of the audience were willing to give the presenter the benefit of the doubt. But the entire presentation was all about him and his organisation. It was almost an hour of self-promotion.

The dilemma was, do I leave or stay? I decided to stay, hoping that at some point the presentation would become relevant. Unfortunately, it never did. Looking around the room, I saw everyone checking emails or doing other things on their smart phones and tablets.

What did this person do that was so bad?

1. He ignored the audience

During the presentation, the speaker never engaged with us. It was almost as if we didn’t exist. To gain our attention, he could have done something as simple as asking a question that required a show of hands.

2. Too much information on slides

"Looking around the room, I saw everyone checking emails or doing other things on their smart phones. "

The slides were difficult to read and had too much information to try to absorb. He should have kept the slides simple and where possible, replaced text with images. When it comes to slides, less is more.

3. He didn’t practise

It was clear that the speaker didn’t practise. He was uncertain as to what was coming next on the slides and he used too many fillers such as ‘um’. There were so many ums that I considered counting them, just to keep me listening to the presentation. After a while the fillers frustrated me. In the end, the only note I wrote about the presentation was a title: The Um King.

Want more articles like this? Check out the presentation skills section.

If he practised the presentation until he was comfortable and confident with the content and visual aids, we would have appreciated his efforts.

4. He was monotonic

Voice has an important role in the delivery of a presentation. This speaker had a very monotonic voice and did nothing to emphasise key points. Had he prepared his voice and practised the power of the pause, we would have been engaged throughout the presentation.

The end result

After an excruciatingly long hour, I knew that I’d never consider doing business with him or his organisation. The purpose of the presentation was to inform and educate, and he achieved neither.

To deliver an exciting, engaging and informative presentation, be sure to avoid the above five mistakes.

What bad habits have you witnessed at a presentation?

Maria Pantalone

works with individuals and teams in developing their business communication skills. Her company, Infinite Growth, provides training in presentation skills, business writing and leadership development. Armed with these skills, there is nothing a business person cannot achieve.

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