I watched a speaker score a perfect 100% on the checklist of things NOT to do during a presentation. Even though he was presenting an innovative and exciting project to a very receptive audience, he failed miserably based completely on his presentation style. It was an amazing experience to witness one speaker doing so much wrong all in one 30-minute talk.
Checklist of what NOT to do during a presentation:
- Forgo a proper introduction by a host so when you speak, the audience will not know who you are, why you are qualified to speak or why your topic is important to them
- Wait until you are introduced to turn on the projector and set up any equipment causing the audience to wait uncomfortably.
- Immediately turn off the room lights, project your first slide and launch into the talk without introducing the topic or acknowledging the audience
- Repeatedly demonstrate your lack of familiarity with the equipment by hitting wrong buttons
- Project an image projected larger than the screen so the slides will run off the edges on all sides
- Face the screen as you speak so the audience has a good view of your back
- Use small text and hard to read graphs in your slides
- Include profanity verbally and written on slides
- Do not make eye contact or have any type of interaction with the audience
- Include lots of jargon, technical terms and acronyms
- Choose to speak from the floor so you make it difficult for those in the middle or back of the room to see you even if there was a lectern or stage available
- Slowly lull the audience to sleep through use of monotone, a low voice and slowing your voice
- Incorporate a variety of distracting mannerisms including “ums”, odd hand gestures, fiddling with your hands, rocking back and forth on your heels, and pacing
- Speak about many specific details of your project while failing to ever explain the overall benefits
- Lack a strong opening statement, overview of the talk, call to action and closing statement
- Do not structure his talk in a logical or easy to follow manner and opt instead to jump from topic to topic in a seemingly random manner
- Do not use the microphone making it difficult for the audience to hear your words
- Do not repeat questions from the audience so few know what you are talking about
- End your presentation abruptly with the lights off. Forgo a closing statement – just walk off the stage leaving the room in the dark.
The best projects, services, or ideas will only gain traction and support when the value and benefit is apparent to the audience and presented well. Review this checklist and avoid as many (or all) as possible.
iSpeakEASY offers individualized coaching and group workshops to help you excel in your communication skills. For information, contact us at ethan@iSpeakEASY.net
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