So you have an idea of what makes a successful presentation, but what are the things you should avoid? Here're three things you ought not to be doing...
An audience can instantly spot a well prepared speaker. Those that haven't honoured their audince by preparing well tend to over-rely on their notes (or slides). Their content lacks depth and their delivery lacks coherence and energy.
Spend time rehearsing. Use your colleagues, friends and family as 'test' audiences. The old saying "practice makes perfect" became so well known for a reason.
Creating cue cards to keep you on track is a good idea. Make sure thought, that when you speak, you're engaging the audience (and not looking at your notes). This will help your voice reach the back of the room.
Being 'entertaining' is not the same as being 'funny'. You don't have to tell a joke - especially if it isn't relevant to the audience or content. You only have (approximately) 90 seconds to grab your audience's attention, don't waste it on irrelevant humour.
If you're not a naturally funny person then avoid jokes altogether. Telling jokes well is an art - and you need to be sure that it's one your audience hasn't already heard. Professional comedians spend huge amounts of time creating fresh material and crafting its delivery. Every pause, word and sound is practised until perfection is achieved.
No Call to Action or Take Away
The purpose of your presentation should be very clear to you. A presentation titled 'A general introduction to the company' already lacks a real purpose. Before you create your presentation you should be able to answer the following three questions:
- What do I want them to know?
- How do I want the to feel?
- What do I want them to do?
If you don't have the answers, you need to rethink your presentation objectives.