Avoid these language mistakes in your presentation

Some presentation topics have it all. Viewers may have to process content they don’t know well or that contains a lot of information. This makes it all the more important to have clearly prepared PowerPoint slides and a speaker who speaks a clear and understandable language. As a presenter, you should avoid the following language stumbling blocks.

Many companies are aware that the quality of a corporate or sales presentation can have a decisive impact on business success. More and more often, presentation agencies are therefore hired to bring all company presentations to a high  professional level. Often it is forgotten to prescribe the speaker an appropriate presentation training. Unfortunately, a speaker can “screw up” a good presentation with the best PowerPoint slides if they have not learned how to present professionally.

Every good presentation agency offers appropriate seminars and individual trainings that provide the necessary knowledge and experience. Whether you choose to seek professional help or learn the necessary skills on your own, be sure to keep your sentences and word choice as understandable as possible.  Clear, simple language makes it easier for your audience to understand your messages. When presentations turn into information disasters, it is by no means due to the presenter’s lack of knowledge or preparation. Not infrequently, it is simply because the speaker’s style of speaking is difficult to understand. If I can only follow a presentation when I am highly concentrated on trying to decipher its complicated sentence monsters for myself, I switch off at some point. The vast majority of the rest of the audience will not react differently. Then all the work of the speaker was completely in vain. There are some rules you should follow when practicing your presentation.

1. use the strength of verbs.

Verbs or activity words convey activity and should be used oh so. Verbs are often changed to nouns, which quickly leads to a stilted style of speech that strains the listener. Example: instead of saying, “The incident was reviewed and a change was made for the process flows,” they should simply say, “We reviewed the incident and changed the process flows accordingly.”

2. if possible, refrain from stringing together technical terms.

Of course, if you have to give a technical presentation to a cardiology conference, you won’t be able to avoid medical terminology. But far too often, presenters like to use technical terms even with general topics and a very mixed audience. This will quickly overwhelm and frustrate the audience.

3. do not give unnecessary explanations.

Focus on important information and don’t start moderating side issues. Examples: I will now show you a slide that illustrates my thesis”, “I will show you this in more detail on the flipchart in a moment”, “I will now start the second part of the presentation”. The audience should be completely focused on your messages. By unnecessarily moderating your own actions, you distract from important information.

4. Avoid trite phrases.

You may be familiar with the term “buzzword” or have heard of “bullshit bingo.” These are terms and phrases that are so well-worn that your audience will roll their eyes when they hear them. In politics, for example, we are familiar with phrases such as “Germany must remain fit for the future,” “we must take the people with us,” and “we are on the right track.

5. get out of the habit of unconscious tics.

Often we acquire unconscious tics; words or phrases that we use all the time during a presentation. This includes words like “or?” and “isn’t it?” which are used nonstop in the worst cases. Example: “This means that no new orders are signed. Here, we have to renegotiate with the customers again.

Sometimes only small corrections are needed to make a huge improvement in presentation. If you want to play it safe, ask a presentation expert to listen to your speech. You will achieve significant improvements in your own abilities after a short time.

Portrait of Trainer Matthias Garten - Expert for Presentations and PowerPointDipl.-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 Day. 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.