These 12 mistakes will ruin any presentation

Poor presentations can have devastating consequences for the speaker and the presentation topic. The speaker quickly gets a reputation for being unprofessional. The audience is also lost to the content of the presentation because the messages were poorly conveyed. For example, a botched company presentation can also result in severe financial losses. We’ll show you 12 mistakes you should avoid at all costs if you want to succeed with your presentation.

A successful presentation follows clear laws. Many individual aspects must be considered to achieve the best success. It starts with the right preparation of topics, continues with the right design of slides and ends with professional presentation. All this takes a lot of time and should therefore be worth it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of stumbling blocks on the way to the perfect presentation that can severely affect or even completely ruin the final result.

I would now like to introduce you to twelve of the biggest deadly sins that you should avoid at all costs if you want your presentation to be a success.

Mistake number 1: You have not checked the technology.

If you get in front of your audience and have to struggle with technology at first, it’s the worst possible start to a successful presentation. Whether you’re number five in a line of 10 speakers, or you’re performing alone, make sure the technology works. Your presentation must be easy for your audience to see and for you to hear clearly. Starting your presentation by finding the switch for the lights, searching for the presentation on your computer, and doing a sound check is an imposition on your audience. It reflects badly on you and causes resentment among the people you are trying to convince with your presentation.
To prevent this, use a checklist and test the technique in advance.

Mistake number 2: You screw up the start of your presentation

At the beginning of each presentation there is a welcome to the audience and an introduction to the topic of the presentation. If you don’t pick up the audience properly here and don’t create a positive expectation, you will probably lose the attention of those present within the first few minutes. It’s faster than you might think. An insecure, unmotivated or over-motivated speaker destroys the most exciting topic in a short time. Therefore, prepare very carefully to enter your topic. Think about how you will create interest in the presentation during your introduction. How can you make the audience curious?
Here you can find the top 12 introductions to a presentation, with which you will also convince.

Mistake number 3: You do not pursue clear goals with your presentation

Creating a good presentation takes a lot of time. It is all the more surprising that many speakers do not set clear goals for their presentation. What do you want to achieve with your slide presentation? What messages, information recommendations do you want to convey with your presentation? If the goals are not clear, the results will be of a rather random nature.
Whether your goals are to persuade the customer to buy products or services or to excite the audience and put them in a great mood, you should make sure to clearly portray these goals in your presentation as well. For more on highlighting the key messages, click here.

Mistake number 4: You read off your presentation

At first glance, the idea of having a finished text in your hand that you only have to read off seems tempting. Fortunately, I don’t know any speaker who really reads off his entire presentation. But there are still speakers who still read at least passages from their screen or manuscript. Very common is still the bad habit to read the text of a slide aloud again. I also like to call this “supervised reading.” It takes more time, of course, but you should prepare well enough to give your presentation entirely in free speech. If you simply can’t remember certain words or dates, or if you’re afraid of losing your train of thought, use moderator cards as mnemonic devices.

Mistake number 5: You don’t use storytelling

People can appear sober and reasonable, but they just can’t escape a good story. This is due to the nature of our brain. We can store information better if it is associated with images and emotions. A good story creates images in us and generates feelings. If you manage to wrap your important information in a good story, your chances grow considerably that your audience will absorb it.
If you too would like to learn how to use storytelling skilfully, then why not attend our seminar
Best of Storytelling.

Mistake number 6: You do without graphics, images, animations

There are still many presentations that consist only of text. This is not only boring, but also leads to the fact that your audience does not want to follow the presentation any longer. Images or graphics help you to grasp complex information faster and better.
You can see how you can effectively and specifically integrate graphics into your presentation in our examples.

Mistake number 7: You overload the slides with too much content

The audience cannot simultaneously follow your presentation and grasp large amounts of information on one presentation slide. The slides should support your presentation and not be overloaded with large amounts of extra information. Otherwise, the audience will have to decide whether to listen to you or focus on reading the slides.
Read here how to reduce content to the essential.

Mistake number 8: You show too many slides

The term “slide battle” comes from many experiences with presentations where a speaker shows dozens of slides. No one wants to see that many slides. It’s exhausting to have to capture 50 or 60 slides over a period of maybe 15 minutes. Think carefully about which slides you need and try to show only really important information that supports your presentation.

Mistake number 9: You remain too passive as a speaker

There are speakers who hide behind a lectern or even take a seat behind a table during the entire presentation. They would probably prefer to be completely invisible. But the audience wants to perceive the person who talks to them. So become visible and don’t remain stiff and rooted to the spot behind a lectern. Use language, gestures and facial expressions to make your statements more convincing.
For more information on how to improve your performance, click here.

Mistake number 10: You don’t involve your audience

There are speakers who “rattle off” their presentation very apathetically. They never address the audience directly. But direct address is the only way to create a connection between speaker and audience. Ask questions like “how many of you have experienced this?” or make yourself an ally by using phrases like “I want you to be prepared for this situation in the future.” If you want your audience to spark, you should also address them specifically. Only when your audience also feels personally and emotionally addressed will they listen to you with concentration.
How you can still manage to actively involve your audience in the presentation, read our 5 tips on this.

Error number 11: There is no call to action

Normally, the purpose of a presentation is not simply to convey information. As a rule, you want to achieve something with it. The entrepreneur wants to sell his products, the politician wants to win voters, the chairman of an association is looking for new members. That is why a successful presentation also includes a “call to action”. What do you want your audience to know, think, do in the future when they come out of your presentation? So also tell your audience what you would like them to do. Provide calls to action.

Mistake number 12: The schedule is not respected

Running out of time does not go over well with your audience. Either there are connecting events that day that are missed that way, or people want to head home. Your auditorium’s schedule will quickly get messed up if you don’t stick to the set time limit. This is especially unfortunate if you were previously convincing with your explanations. The last impression your audience has of your performance should be positive. If stress and anger are the last sensations of your presentation, you will be left with a bad aftertaste. It is important for your presentation goals that your audience leaves the room with a good feeling.
Go over your presentation more often beforehand and estimate your time.

So is there such a thing as the perfect presentation?

Probably not. We are all human and we all make mistakes. Small mistakes can even make you more likable if you handle them with confidence. Only big flubs should be avoided at all costs if you want to be successful with your presentation.

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Speaker and PowerPoint Trainer Matthias GartenDipl.-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 10,000 professional PowerPoint presentations for over 150 industries since 1993.