Three Presentation Mistakes Everybody Makes
by Mashum Mollah Startups 06 July 2017
There are so many guides out there telling you what you should be doing – do this, do that, you must do this. Well, that’s all well and good, but what about the things you shouldn’t be doing?
With our quick and simple guide, we’ll take you through three common mistakes everybody makes when giving a presentation. You might well be guilty of a few of these yourself – but don’t worry, by identifying the issue you’ll have a much better chance of fixing it.
1. Don’t be too dependent on your slides
There are many great tools out there, but you have to be sure of what you’re looking to accomplish to have any success. Start cramming your slides with all the information you have on a specific subject; well, it’ll confuse you and your audience. The idea of forgetting something important is scary, but if you place everything you want to say on the screen, you’ll just project information with no emotion.
If people were looking for a read-along, they’d go to a book club, or just ask for the slides via email. Stick to three or four points, one sentence, or bullet points. Anything else is going to be overkill. One great way of ensuring your presentation maintains flow is by using cue cards. With one card per slide, summarizing the key points, you can glance down as a reminder. The great thing is – they enable you to look natural. Great speakers use cue cards today because after all, we’re only human.
2. Don’t try to do too much
PowerPoint template is both the best friend and worst enemy of the presenter. Used at its best, you’ll produce clear-cut presentations. At its worst, well, with its almost basic slide transitions, poor animation capabilities, and somewhat bland templates, you’ve got to do a lot to ensure your presentations look good.
What many people forget is that there is free presentation software out there – especially popular is Adobe’s Spark. Presentations need to have flair and look visually appealing, but if they’re jam-packed with info (refer back to point 1), or if you have pictures flying around and music blaring out, then sadly, people will be put off quickly.
3. Don’t speak in jargon (even to smart people)
Jargon is the bane of anybody who has to sit through the presentation after the presentation – we’re talking about investors or venture capitalists here. Sure, they know you’re probably smart, and that you know your market very well, but the guys with the money won’t have the patience to keep up with your garbled language.
If you’re speaking to a group of experts, then maybe throw in a few complicated terms – especially if it’s the only way to express yourself. Otherwise, stop, it doesn’t do anybody any favors. Instead, we recommend you do the ‘grandpa test’. Basically, if you were speaking casually to a regular old man, who doesn’t keep up with the latest advances in your field anymore – would he have a clue what you’re talking about? If not, cut it out!