Conquering Common Presentation Blunders
Conquering Common Presentation Blunders
You just found out the big news: you’ve been asked to give a presentation. Is that your heart racing? There’s no need to panic. Whether you’re new to public speaking or just a little rusty, you can deliver an impressive presentation with some planning, preparation and practice—and by avoiding the presentation pitfalls. We’ll show you some of the most common blunders even seasoned speakers are guilty of committing, and give you insight on how you can overcome these bad habits and make your presentation a success.

Blunder #1: Spending too much time going over statistics and facts.
Solution: So you’ve got a lot of information to communicate with your audience? Don’t lose them with the boring details! Keep it snappy. Capture their attention from the beginning with an interesting comment, story or situation. Then lead them to the body of your presentation, and make sure your points are relevant and follow a logical sequence. If you must talk about facts and figures, tie them in with anecdotes so your key points are easier for them to remember.

Blunder #2: Reading the information directly from your slides.
Solution: If you’re going to read what’s on your slide to your audience, you might as well read them a bedtime story—because you’ll soon put them to sleep. Instead, speak to the audience. Be sure to keep them entertained, and encourage interaction. Throw out questions to the audience, or engage them in an activity that requires participation. This will keep them on their toes and interested in what you have to say next.

Blunder #3: Letting your nervousness show.
Solution: You’re heard it all before: “Try to relax,” or “Take a deep breath.” But if you still find yourself talking really fast, staring down at the podium or fidgeting around, try these helpful tips:

- Before the day of your presentation: Make sure you have a thorough understanding of your material. Take the time to practice beforehand in front of someone who can provide constructive feedback.

- On the day of your presentation: If you can, arrive early and get familiar with your settings. See how things look from the perspective of the audience, so you’ll get a better idea of how you’ll appear and project to them.

- During the presentation: Maintain good posture and keep your weight balanced equally on your feet to help you draw energy. Those deep breaths of air you take can help you speak at an even pace. Focus on your message and not on how you look. Make eye contact with a few members of your audience as you deliver your message. If you find yourself fidgeting, clasp your hands behind your back. And don’t forget to smile—it’ll help alleviate the tension.

It’s important to remember that when you give your presentation, you should provide your audience something of value. It could be a key piece of information they never knew, something that makes them feel inspired, or even just a refreshing break from their routine. And when your audience feels it was well worth their while to attend, you’ve got the makings of a true presentation professional!