You gave your all during the presentation, but your audience was only moderately enthusiastic? This can happen even to experienced speakers. Sometimes you catch a bad day or have trouble adjusting to the audience properly. Somehow you don’t hit the right note and the spark just doesn’t jump over. It’s not a big drama. However, you may have simply made one or more serious mistakes. I’ll introduce you to some other mistakes that can spoil your hoped-for presentation success.
Error: Slides are overloaded with content.
By now, word has spread that “slide battles” with 60 or more slides are not the last word in wisdom. Hardly any audience member can really follow to the end with such a mass of PowerPoint slides. So people often try to steam down large numbers of foils. This then often results in the content of 50 slides being accommodated on 15 slides. Your audience is thus forced to struggle through slides crammed with text, images and diagrams. You need to read, match, and process while giving your presentation in the meantime. This is exhausting and quickly leads to overload. Chances are that people will either stop listening to you because reading the slides takes a lot of their attention, or stop paying attention to the slides. In the worst case, your viewers will tune out altogether, start looking at their smartphones or whispering to their neighbor. It is then almost impossible for you to regain the attention.
Solution: Therefore, from the very beginning, use your slides to underline the main theses of your presentation and not as another source of information to get as much content to the audience as possible. Ideally, the individual slides should contain only a few pieces of info that further strengthen your arguments. Only then can the slide content be absorbed and processed in addition to your speech.
Error: Content is mapped too small.
Your presentation should be designed in such a way that even in larger event rooms all slide contents can still be easily seen up to the last row. Unfortunately, this is still often forgotten. Of course, if the slide set is created on the computer, the author can see everything. This can already change significantly when the presentation is shown via beamer in a small meeting room. Then it may turn out that the font is too small and the numbers in the table are barely visible. If you then want to give a lecture in a large hall with such a presentation, the back half of the audience may no longer recognize it and at some point switch off inwardly.
Solution: Therefore, test the optical recognizability of your slide contents at greater distances in advance.
Error: The speaker has poor pronunciation.
The way a performer sets his or her text to music is a major factor in its success. Slurred pronunciation can completely ruin all the effort you’ve put into your PowerPoint slides. Whispering, mumbling and mumbling can be a stylistic device that great actors use to give a particular character to a role they have to play. In “The Godfather,” for example, Marlon Brando managed to make Don Corleone mumble in a way that the audience could understand. Unless you are a top actor, it is better to refrain from such experiments and be sure to use clear, understandable pronunciation in your presentation.
Solution: Therefore, try to pronounce your texts calmly and clearly. Find a trusted partner to practice with who will alert you when you talk too fast, swallow syllables, or mumble to yourself.
Error: The audience does not feel addressed.
Imagine you have to give a presentation on growing pollution and you have gathered a large amount of explosive information. You then tell your audience that the pollution of the waters and soils is quite annoying and could lead to even bigger problems in the future. And it’s entirely possible that one day your audience could be more affected by it, too. Do you think you will impress anyone with these vague phrases?
Solution: If you want your auditorium to spark, you should be more specific. Only when your audience also feels personally and emotionally addressed will they listen to you with concentration.
Error: The schedule is not adhered to.
Some famous TV show hosts were known for regularly exceeding the airtime significantly. What one still looked down on a Kulenkampf or Gottschalk can quickly cause trouble during a presentation. Often, several speakers appear in succession at an event. When a speaker overruns, the whole schedule gets messed up. This can quickly lead to a bad mood with the organizer and your fellow speakers. At large lecture events, presentations take place in parallel in different lecture halls according to a tight schedule. If you just keep talking even though the set time is already up, people will get restless because they should already be on their way to the next previous day. No one will really listen to you then. But even if no other speaker should speak after you, it is rude to extend the time slot without being asked. Maybe your audience has a longer way home or even has to catch a train or plane. If you build the dramaturgy of your presentation correctly, there should be another climax or at least a call to action at the end of the presentation. If everyone is already shuffling their feet and nervously watching the clock, this important part of your presentation will largely fall flat.
Dipl.-Wirtsch.-Informatiker Matthias Garten as the expert for multimedia presentations and professional PowerPoint presentations knows about the art of professional slide design. He is an entrepreneur, speaker (TOP 100 Speaker), trainer (TOP 100 Excellence Trainer), multiple book author, presentation coach (presentation training), member of the GSA and Club 55, organizer of the Presentation Conference, Presentation Bootcamp and Presentation Rocket Days. In addition to PowerPoint and presentation training, he inspires and advises companies to present themselves even more effectively and thus stand out from competitors. He is the business owner of the presentation and PowerPoint agency smavicon Best Business Presentations and with his team has created over 15,000 professional PowerPoint presentations for over 150 industries since 1993