Like anything else, however, if a presentation is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Nancy Duarte of the Harvard Business Review has some good thoughts about presentation mistakes to avoid. I’d encourage you to click on the link and scroll to the bottom of Nancy’s post. You’ll find links to six other posts that will help you make better presentations.
Here’s a summary of Nancy’s points about mistakes to avoid:
- Failing to engage emotionally. This is not a time to take a “Joe Friday,” just the facts approach. Dig beneath your material to figure out why it matters to your audience. Find the emotional hook. You’re not just creating a new database; you’re creating a database that will track disease outbreaks and save thousands of kids pain and discomfort.
- Overloading your PowerPoint slides. Slides aren’t there to help you remember what to say. They’re there to help enhance your communication and to make a point that’s better made visually than with words.
- Using tired visuals. Throw away the first visual concepts that come to mind. They’re cliches, and everyone has seen them a thousand times. See the visuals below to see the kinds of things Nancy suggests to have more impact.
- Using jargon. If you’re speaking within your company, and everyone knows the jargon, a little of it is acceptable. But even in a group like that, too much jargon becomes numbing.
- Going over your allotted time. Thanks to television, we’re all built these days for paying attention for about 30 to 40 minutes. People want you on and off in that time frame, and if you exceed it, you’ll lose your audience.