Generally you should look at your audience at least
Most of us have experienced dull, irrelevant, or confusing presentations. But think back to the last really great presentation you saw — one that was informative, motivating, and inspiring. Wouldn't you love to be able to present like that? This article looks at 10 of the most common mistakes that speakers make when giving presentations. By avoiding these, you'll make your presentations stand out — for all of the right reasons, and none of the wrong ones. Steve Jobs was a famously inspiring speaker.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Admiral McRaven Leaves the Audience SPEECHLESS - One of the Best Motivational Speeches
SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: How To Find the Perfect Affiliate Product to Sell That Your Audience Will LoveContent:
- Delivering an effective presentation
- 10 tips for speaking to an audience
- Presentation Delivery
- 10 Keys To Writing A Speech
- 10 Common Presentation Mistakes
- 10 Ways to Engage Your Audience During an Important Meeting
- 9 Things You Should Never Do When Giving a Presentation: AMA Research
- The Importance of Eye Contact during a Presentation
Delivering an effective presentation
Most of us have experienced dull, irrelevant, or confusing presentations. But think back to the last really great presentation you saw — one that was informative, motivating, and inspiring. Wouldn't you love to be able to present like that? This article looks at 10 of the most common mistakes that speakers make when giving presentations. By avoiding these, you'll make your presentations stand out — for all of the right reasons, and none of the wrong ones.
Steve Jobs was a famously inspiring speaker. His speeches may have looked effortless, but, in reality, each one took days or weeks of preparation.
Careful preparation is essential. The amount of time you spend on planning depends on your situation, but it's a good idea to start early — you can never be too well-prepared. Proper preparation also helps you manage presentation nerves.
When you know your material inside and out, you're far less likely to feel nervous. Imagine that your presentation starts in an hour. You arrive at the venue and, to your horror, the projector won't work with your laptop. The slides you spent hours preparing are useless. This is a disaster! You can avoid a situation like this by taking time to familiarize yourself with the venue and available equipment at least once before your presentation.
Often, the sort of problems that can jeopardize your presentation will be situations beyond your control, but this doesn't mean that you are helpless.
Sometimes, speakers can get so wrapped up in delivering their presentations that they forget about the needs of their audience. Start your presentation by telling your audience what to expect. Let them know what you will cover first, whether and when you'll stop for a break, if you'll be taking questions during the presentation, and so on.
Providing these "signposts" up front will give your audience a clear idea of what to expect, so that they can relax and concentrate on your presentation. The primary purpose of any presentation is to share information with others, so it's important to consider the level you will pitch it at.
Do some research on your audience. Why are they here? How much do they already know about your topic, and what do they most want to learn from you? But you wouldn't want to patronize people, either. Try to put yourself in people's shoes, to get a clearer idea about their needs and motivations. This will also help you to personalize your presentation and make a connection with each person in your audience, so that they'll be more attentive to what you say. Short, concise presentations are often more powerful than verbose ones.
Try to limit yourself to a few main points. If you take too long getting to your point, you risk losing your audience's attention. The average adult has a to minute attention span, so, if you want to keep your audience engaged, stick to the point!
During the planning phase, make a note of the themes you want to cover and how you want to get them across. Then, when you start filling out the details, ask yourself: "Does my audience really need to know this? We've all seen slides with garish colors, unnecessary animation, or fonts that are too small to read. When choosing colors, think about where the presentation will take place.
A dark background with light or white text works best in dark rooms, while a white background with dark text is easier to see in a brightly lit room. Choose your pictures carefully, too. High-quality graphics can clarify complex information and lift an otherwise plain screen, but low-quality images can make your presentation appear unprofessional. Unless an image is contributing something, embrace the negative space — less clutter means greater understanding.
Use animation sparingly, too — a dancing logo or emoticon will only distract your audience. The best rule of thumb for text is to keep it simple.
Don't try to cram too much information into your slides. Aim for a maximum of three to four words within each bullet point, and no more than three bullets per slide. This doesn't mean that you should spread your content over dozens of slides. Limit yourself to 10 slides or fewer for a minute presentation. Look at each slide, story, or graph carefully. Ask yourself what it adds to the presentation, and remove it if it isn't important.
Even though we spend a significant part of the day talking to one another, speaking to an audience is a surprisingly difficult skill, and it's one that we need to practice.
If nerves make you rush through a presentation, your audience could miss your most important points. If you do begin to babble, take a moment to collect yourself. Breathe deeply, and enunciate each word clearly, while you focus on speaking more slowly. You can learn another communication skills, like this, by joining the Mind Tools Club. Receive new career skills every week, plus get our latest offers and a free downloadable Personal Development Plan workbook.
Some presenters feel most comfortable behind the podium. Pay attention to what your hands are doing — they're important for communicating emotion. But only use gestures if they feel natural, and avoid being too flamboyant with your arms, unless you want to make your audience laugh!
Have you ever been to a presentation where the speaker spent all of his time looking at his notes, the screen, the floor, or even at the ceiling? How did this make you feel? Meeting a person's gaze establishes a personal connection, and even a quick glance can keep people engaged. If your audience is small enough, try to make eye contact with each individual at least once.
If the audience is too large for this, try looking at people's foreheads. The individual may not interpret it as eye contact, but those sitting around them will. It takes practice and effort to deliver a good presentation. But, if you know how to avoid the pitfalls, your presentations will be great.
Common presentation mistakes include not preparing properly, delivering inappropriate content, and speaking poorly. Time spent on careful planning always pays dividends. Check the venue out, and familiarize yourself with equipment in advance to avoid possible problems.
Keep your content clear and concise, with visual aids to match. And make sure that you pitch it at the right level for your audience's understanding, so that your presentation doesn't patronize or bewilder.
Remember, public speaking is a performance. Practice speaking clearly with a slower pace than your normal speech to avoid "rapid-fire" delivery. Use eye contact, body language, and gestures that complement your message to keep your audience engaged. Next time you speak, avoid the mistakes outlined in this article — you'll find you can present with confidence and a clear sense of purpose.
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Mark article as Complete. Show Ratings Hide Ratings. Rate this resource. Find Out More. Comments 15 Over a month ago BillT wrote. Hi Pandey, Thank you for letting us know that there was value in the materials for you.
Having a well-laid out plan for your presentation can certainly help to engage the audience, and make the presentation both interesting and fun for everyone. BillT Mind Tools Team. Over a month ago Pandey wrote. Thanks for sharing the presentation for the conference and the meeting. Thanks for the article. Over a month ago BillT wrote. Hi KlaraW, Thank you for your comment. I have used the suggestions in this article to help me provide strong and valuable presentations.
10 tips for speaking to an audience
Positive eye contact helps you build rapport with your audience and keeps them engaged with your presentation. It also gives them a sense of involvement and conveys your message on a personal level. Here are the key benefits of eye contact followed by tips on how you can improve yours during a presentation. A deliberate look in the eyes of an audience member can communicate how much you care about their thoughts. Sustained eye contact is an invitation to turn your talk into a conversation.
If I can get you to laugh with me, you like me better, which makes you more open to my ideas. And if I can persuade you to laugh at the particular point I make, by laughing at it you acknowledge its truth. When choosing a topic for your persuasive speech, it is crucial to consider the composition of your audience. Your audience might be ambivalent about your topic, or they may be strongly opposed, in strong agreement, or somewhere along the spectrum.
If this is your first time registering, please check your inbox for more information about the benefits of your Forbes account and what you can do next! They were just guests. And your attention was strictly voluntary. Let me give you a reality check: Your audience will remember more about who sat with them than anything you say. In writing a speech, you have two objectives: Making a good impression and leaving your audience with two or three takeaways. The rest is just entertainment. How can you make those crucial points? Consider these strategies:.
10 Keys To Writing A Speech
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Delivery is a vital aspect of all presentations. Delivery is at least as important as content, especially in a multi-cultural context. Most speakers are a little nervous at the beginning of a presentation. So it is normal if you are nervous.
10 Common Presentation Mistakes
While audience analysis does not guarantee against errors in judgment, it will help you make good choices in topic, language, style of presentation, and other aspects of your speech. The more you know about your audience, the better you can serve their interests and needs. There are certainly limits to what we can learn through information collection, and we need to acknowledge that before making assumptions, but knowing how to gather and use information through audience analysis is an essential skill for successful speakers.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: 4 Tips To IMPROVE Your Public Speaking - How to CAPTIVATE an Audience
The more you know and understand about the background and needs of your audience, the better you can prepare your speech. When you are speaking, you want listeners to understand and respond favorably to what you are saying. An audience is one or more people who come together to listen to the speaker. Audience members may be face to face with the speaker or they may be connected by communication technology such as computers or other media. The audience may be small and private or it may be large and public.
10 Ways to Engage Your Audience During an Important Meeting
Experienced speakers use techniques to make them more interesting to listen to and to help them hold the attention of their audience. Try some of the following the next time you give a presentation. Rehearsal is essential to speaking well. It will help you keep to a time limit and will allow you to try out various techniques in a low-pressure environment. It will also help you to know your material well, which makes it easier to remember and stay on point. Practice standing and speaking so that you get used to delivering a talk before you have to give it to your audience. This gets pretty boring for listeners. Spoken language is less formal and wordy than written language, so reading makes you sound stiff and will dampen any sense of energy or spontaneity in your performance.
Think back to your last presentation. Were people interested and engaged in what you were saying? While you may think yourself to be a great speaker, it is not particularly hard to annoy your audience. Recently, AMA ran a survey to see what presentation habits were the most annoying.
9 Things You Should Never Do When Giving a Presentation: AMA Research
The Importance of Eye Contact during a Presentation