By Geoffrey James
CREDIT: Getty Images
Think you have a great presentation or a truly moving speech? Well, here are the classic mistakes that can transform your masterpiece into a huge hot mess:
- Acronym salad. Use them sparingly and only to avoid repeating wordy jargon.
- Backronyms. They’re contrived, unnatural and don’t help people remember.
- Biz-blab. Corporate speak and business jargon makes you sound clueless
- Call and response. An office presentation not a revival tent meeting.
- Cheesy stock photos. Avoid any photos of models posed in an office.
- Cliches. Expressions and analogies that have been overused mark you as unoriginal.
- Complex diagrams. If you need to explain it, it’s probably too complex. Simplify!
- Corporate background. Seriously, dude, nobody cares about your corporate history.
- Fake statistics. Remember, only 35% of the country believes any old BS.
- Going on too long. Few speakers can hold audience attention more than 20 minutes.
- Information dumps. Information without context is meaningless and soon forgotten.
- Irrelevant Slides. Data the audience doesn’t need wastes time and mental energy.
- Jokes. Even comedians don’t tell jokes anymore. They’re really lame.
- Jumping back and forth. Get your slides in the right order. Repeat them if necessary.
- Leaving your mike on. You might say something you’d rather than audience not hear.
- Pause words. Saying “uh” or “like” whilst thinking makes you sound like an idiot.
- No attention grabber. You have < 10 seconds to get an audience interested.
- No call to action. Every presentation is to drive the audience to DO something.
- No handouts. If there’s information that the audience needs afterwards, provide it.
- Personal excuses. Don’t set low audience expectations by complaining.
- Reading your slides. Guess what? Your audience can read. Just stop. Please.
- Sales pitches. The second you sound like a salesperson you’ve lost your audience.
- Skipping over slides. Either didn’t edit your or don’t know how to pace yourself.
- Talking to your slides. Turn your face to the audience and keep it there.
- Sticky slides. A slide on the screen after it’s relevant distracts from your message.
- Three microphone taps. Usually followed by: “Can everyone hear me?” Cringe.
- Too much information. Audiences only absorb so much and then they shut you out.
- Travel stories. Nobody cares what happened to you in the airport, taxi, hotel, etc.
- Trick questions. Asking questions the audience gets wrong makes you seem smug.
- Unsubstantiated opinions. If you can’t back it up with facts, leave it out.
- Unreadable slides. ‘Nuff said
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