Presentations are something that you’ve likely been experiencing since your school days and could be using actively in your career. Either way, you’re probably familiar with how presentations work and know that their success has a lot to do with who the presenter is and how well they interact with the audience. Common presenting mistakes can often cause your audience to quickly lose interest in what you’re talking about. Here are some mistakes you’ll surely want to avoid during a presentation:
Failing to Engage With Audience
As a presenter, your number one job is to make sure you’re keeping your audience interested in what you’re talking about. Even the most interesting topics can feel quite boring if the person presenting isn’t engaging enough. Get your audience to interact with what you’re talking about. Ask questions, and foster participation to keep everyone interested. Standing in front of a crowd and reading off a bullet list slide by slide will quickly result in your audience losing interest in what you’re saying.
Overloading Presentation Slides
Aside from your presenting skills, you should always make sure your slideshow is well put together and organized. Tools like PowerPoint are extremely useful if you know how to use them correctly. A slideshow should be well organized with the information you’re trying to get across; however, you don’t want to pack each slide with paragraphs, pictures, and graphs. Your slides should be a guide for you and your audience to follow along with. The rest of the information should come from you as the presenter. You can even go as far as using the hidden “notes” field as a teleprompter to keep you on track; just be sure you aren’t relying too much on it.
Speaking in Jargon
A wide vocabulary is a great thing to have if you know how to use it. Have you ever heard a presenter who sounds extremely smart, but you really don’t have any idea what they’re talking about? Keep this in mind when you’re behind the podium. It’s essential to remember that when presenting to an audience, you should keep your speech and vocabulary to a level where your audience won’t have trouble understanding what you’re saying. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Consider whether your presentation passes the “grandmother test”: If your grandmother wouldn’t understand what on earth you’re talking about, rework your message.”
Lacking Clear Focus
Always keep a clear focus on the message you’re trying to convey. If your thoughts are scattered, it’s almost a definite that you’ll confuse your audience quickly; and that will ultimately result in losing their interest. Keep your thoughts organized, and your mind focused on specific topics.