Public Speaking? Avoid These 5 Common Presentation Errors

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This post is for all of you having to make a presentation to a group or do public speaking at your convention.

We’ve all been there…

Trapped in a hotel ballroom…

First thing in the morning…

Or right after a pasta buffet lunch…

Or worse… just after dinner.

You’ve decided to attend a conference session because you want to learn. You tell yourself to leave the smartphone alone, take notes, and be engaged.

And then it starts…slide after slide with too much text, too many charts in too much detail.

And worse...

The presenter is reading them to you like you were a two-year-old.

That’s when it happens… you pull out your smartphone and start checking your email. You wonder what’s happening on Facebook.

Anything to keep you engaged.

I know because I witnessed this as an audience member with a group of executives last week.

The last ones I would have thought would disengage.

But boredom can happen to everyone. And that’s what’s killing meetings, Meeting Planners - poor presentation skills.

So if you are not using a professional speaker, at least make sure your members, vendors or other experts read this post about presentation skills training so they avoid these five things with their presentations.

Avoid These Five Errors When Presenting to any Audience:

  1. No outline. If you aren't organized, your audience will be lost.

  2. Too much text. Forty characters or less per slide. (That was thirty.)

  3. Reading from your slides. You need to add to what is on the screen, not parrot it.

  4. Using the projector from your office. You're kidding yourself that any are powerful enough for an average room.

  5. Being oblivious to your audience. Coughing, heads down, hands-on phones, or talking to each other are signs you lost them.

Learn 10 Reasons To Hold A Conference And Use A Professional Speaker

Seven Tips to Better Your Presentation Skills:

  1. Start with a slide with a one or two-word road map with bullets of your presentation.

  2. Chunk your information into no more than three main points.

  3. Edit for clarity.

  4. Find one killer picture that represents your point.

  5. It’s OK to have notes, but use the visual to keep your audience engaged.

  6. Ask an easy question of someone who is paying attention. (If you ask it from someone on their cellphone, you’ll look like a scolding parent.)

  7. Give a wrap-up at the end.

One note about projectors. Many meeting planners must turn off the overhead lights because the projector is underpowered. Don't skimp on the visuals - especially if you have younger audience members.

In Sum

You must be there to entertain and enlighten, so never forget how it feels to be bored in the audience.

Unless meeting planners ensure their presenters are engaging, you’ll find attendance drop-off as no one wants to return to a room and be read to.

Of course, as a professional speaker, I would suggest you use me to energize your audience for your meeting.