Luckily – unlike stand-up comedians – as presenters, we rarely face hecklers. Normally a boring, lackluster pres’ is politely applauded despite the fact that no one listened to a word. Sometimes it might be better if they’d just throw tomatoes. At least we’d know what was really working and what wasn’t. If you don’t make a sale or get a referral or get a signature on your petition, you probably didn’t knock ’em out.
Just so we can all avoid the guessing-game, here are five things a presenter should never do. Just by avoiding these pitfalls you’ll almost never be part of a terrible presentation again.
1. Don’t Be Disorganized
If you don’t properly set up your presentation’s objectives you’re much more likely to find yourself in the middle of a wrong-way pres. What are you trying to accomplish? What do your want your audience to learn? What do you want your audience to do? Ask yourself these questions before your create your pres’ and you’ll put together a clear, powerful talk.
2. You Are Not Your Presentation
It’s one of the most common mistakes in public speaking. Sometimes having the courage to get up in front of a room full of your peers to do your presentation can result in overcompensation – necessary confidence becomes unnecessary arrogance and narcissism. Always remember, it’s not about you. It’s about your audience.
3. Don’t Overwhelm Your Audience
If you’ve done your research and your preparations, you will likely be something of an expert by the time you take the stage. This is a good thing, and it’s also a dangerous one. Never forget that you need to take your audience through your presentation one step at a time. Also, make sure you aren’t trying to include more information than is practical for the time allotted.
4. Never Say You’re Sorry
While it’s inevitable that you won’t always be able to prepare the way you’d prefer or you’ll click on the wrong slide or you’ll say the wrong thing at the wrong time, you should never say you’re sorry. Simply correct the mistake and move on. Stopping your talk to explain how sorry you are will only create a bigger disruption. Stay on point and stay in control.
5. Don’t Fold Under Questioning
If you know your subject and your audience, you should be able to predict many of the questions you might get asked. Be respectful of your audience and rephrase the questions in your own words to make sure you understand what’s being asked. Be sure to include the rest of the audience during the Q & A and don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know something. Finding the right answer for your audience member after the pres’ can turn a lack of knowledge into a great networking opportunity.
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